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0030 Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1
Archaeological Researches in Sinkiang : vol.1 / Page 30 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000195
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of the T'ien-shan range the relatively easily traversed Dzungarian region lies open, and here large-scale nomadic migrations have passed in later ages. In fact this is the only way possible for a migrating tribe of any size moving from east to west or vice versa.

Now everything goes to prove that the carriers of the painted pottery cultures were agriculturists, and it is very hard to imagine a migration of a sedentary people across the whole width of Central Asia from e. g. Anau in the west to Kansu in the east, a distance of at least 4 200 km. For a nomad tribe such a distance is not exaggeratedly long. But nomads carry no pottery. The discovery of intermediary centres east of Anau and west or north-west of Kansu would certainly make the migration theory more plausible. Now our finds denote the presence of painted wares in Sinkiang during a prolonged period.

We may be quite confident that one day, when archaeologists are allowed to work systematically in Russian Turkistan and Chinese Turkistan, so many sites with painted pottery will be discovered that the spaces between them will become insignificant. It is our lack of knowledge which makes the migration theory appear more difficult of comprehension than necessary.

A first step towards filling the present gap in our knowledge of Russian Turkistan is the report of such sites in Ferghana.

The Russians have apparently discovered painted pottery on the Oizil-yar steppe near Khakil-abad (the Shahr-i-Khaiber site). This pottery is said to be reminiscent of Anau I. It is published by LATYN1N (reviewed in "American Anthropologist" 38, 1936, p. 285, and 1938 p. 674, with the original plates). It seems as if the patterns on the potsherds were both incised and painted.

We hardly need to consider the possibilities of a transcontinental trade as the carrier of the vase painting art, and it is impossible to assume the importation into N. China of only a few vase painters. The Yang-shao painted ware is rather homogeneous over the whole area of its distribution, and a pretty rapid spread of this cultural element must be presumed.

The very important question of the chronology of the Chinese facies of this large cultural complex has been founded on comparisons with Near Eastern and SE European localities, and one has arrived at somewhat diverging results according to the locality which has been regarded as furnishing the closest similarities. As a matter of fact the similarities are in many cases not too convincing. If a reliable absolute chronology for the Chinese facies is to be obtained it must be based on the Chinese material itself, and though this may be difficult at present it will certainly one day be possible. The general trend among students of these questions has been to lower the age given to the Chinese painted wares, and there seems to be much in favour of this. But we are still awaiting Professor ANDERSSON'S definite treatment of the chronological question.