Descendants of the Dragon

February 26, 2004

In thousands of years, the Chinese people have been deeming themselves as "the descendant of the dragon" though there is no enough solid proof to support the statement. But in this year, with continually findings of dragons in archeological work at the Liaohe River Valley, the statement that the Chinese people are "the descendant of the dragon" is further confirmed.

In thousands of years, the Chinese people have been deeming themselves as "the descendant of the dragon" though there is no enough solid proof to support the statement. But in this year, with continually findings of dragons in archeological work at the Liaohe River Valley, the statement that the Chinese people are "the descendant of the dragon" is further confirmed. Dragon, in Chinese people's minds, is a symbol of luckiness and wisdom. Dragon is credited with magic power to control wind and rain, transport humans to the celestial realms and bring about auspicious signs. It is regarded as a bridge between human and heaven and gods. Dragon is introduced into areas including ancient study of celestial phenomena, study of destiny and monarch politics, which adds a bit mysterious color to itself.

Since 1983, archeologists have carried out excavations at Red Mountain remains of ancient culture, Niuheliang, the Liaohe River Valley and unearthed a great deal of valuable cultural relics. Of the items unearthed, two dragon shaped jade articles drew most attention. To discover the whole picture of the remains, the Research Institute of Archeology of Liaoning Province carried out a final excavation at the 16th site of the remains in 2003. The excavation work covered an area of 1, 575 square meters. Six tombs, 479 pieces of relics including jade articles were unearthed. In this excavation, the third piece of jade dragon was discovered in a tomb as well.

The jade dragon carving, made of soft jade in light green color by grinding, resembled the Chinese character "dragon" in ancient inscription on bones and turtle shields. It took the same shape with the other two dragons unearthed in 1984.

In the 1970s, a similar jade dragon was discovered in Sanxingtala village, Wengniute Banner of Chifeng City, Inner Mongolia. Confirmed by professor Su Bingqi, a famous archeologist and President of the Chinese Archeology Society, the jade dragon of Sanxingtala is by far the earliest Chinese traditional dragon-shaped jade article ever found.

Niuheliang Ruins is situated at the junction of Jianping country and Lingyuan county of northeast China's Liaoning Province. Covering an area of 50 square kilometers, it is the place where the famous Red Mountain culture site locates. Red mountain culture derives its name from the Red Mountain at north suburb of Chifeng city, Inner Mongolia, where the site was discovered. Red Mountain Culture was created by tribes living at west Liaohe River valley about 5,000 to 6, 000 years ago. Numerous prehistoric potteries and jade articles were discovered here. The head portrait of the "Red Mountain Goddess" and site of an ancient country consisting of temple, tombs excavated in 1984 once caused a great stir in the world.

At the Liaohe River valley, painted dragons and dragon statues were continually discovered at Zhaobaogou remains of ancient culture and Chahai remains of ancient culture, which can be traced back to 6, 000 and 8, 000 years ago respectively. Hence archeologists including Su Bingqi concluded that the Liaohe River was the cradle of the Chinese dragon.

Guo Dashun, a famous archeologist and a member of the standing committee of the Chinese Archeology Society, said the dragon of the Liaohe River featured various types and series apart from old ages. The dragon of the Liaohe Rive made in early years could be divided into eight types, namely statue, basso-relievo, woodcarving, depicted, colored pottery, clay sculpture, jade carving and color depicting chronologically. A total of 21 dragons were discovered.

Guo said the jade dragon carving unearthed at the Liaohe River vividly embodied a combination of various animals. Among the antitypes were pig, deer, bear and bird. After interaction and influence between the animals' antitypes, through continuous human processing, the dragon design was finalized. The process was tightly related to the origin and development of the Chinese civilization, the country and its people. Dragon, therefore, has been regarded as symbol of the Chinese people for thousands of years.

With a drainage area of 345, 000 square kilometers, the Liaohe River runs across northeast China's Liaoning, Jilin Provinces, eastern part of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and northern part of Hebei Province. The Liaohe River is deemed as one of the cradles of the Chinese civilization and the Chinese people.

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200402/26/eng20040226_135911.shtml

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