What was the evolution of material culture over the course of early Chinese history (from the Neolithic period to Qin)? [eNotes allows one question per post, so the multiple questions have been...

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Material culture in social sciences and archaeology is defined as recurring aggregation of artifacts, which are found for a particular society in a particular location during a particular time period, that are thought to represent the culture of objects and the relationships between objects that characterize that society and culture.

The question you ask is an extensive one and beyond the scope of what can be provided in the space here. But a brief overview will point you on your way.

China during the Neolithic period has a sparse representation of material culture (i.e., recurring aggregate or assemblage of artifacts). Dating to 6000B.B. or earlier, the material culture for this period comprises weaving tools, stone tools and ceramics.

Agriculture came later through Shen Nong, one of China's earliest rulers. After this, the Yellow Emperor invented ceramics and writing, among other innovations.

Material culture in the Shang Dynasty includes a fully developed writing system that has been preserved in burial tombs. Tortoise shells were found with more than 3000 written characters engraved on them. The material culture of the same period further included molds for casting pottery, bronze figurines and masks, chariots (and possible sacrificial skulls having more Western features).

The material culture of the Qin Dynasty was rich and included standardized weights and measures, standardized written characters (to allow for effective communication across wide ranges of territory) and standardized cart axles that allowed all standardized carts to have access to replacement parts.


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