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Chariot and horse burials in ancient China.



Later in this number of ANTIQUITY is a review, page 930, of our knowledge, direct and often indirect, about chariots and wagons in the Europe of 2000 years ago. How much greater is our knowledge in China, where sacrificial sac·ri·fi·cial  
adj.
Of, relating to, or concerned with a sacrifice: a sacrificial offering.



sac
 burials of vehicles with their horses and drivers may give evidence of chariots by the fleet!

From at least the 13th century BC, the Shang royal families, the dukes and some important aristocrats owned chariots. The earliest examples of burials of chariots, horses and their drivers are found at Shang and Zhou sites at Anyang in Henan and Xi'an in Shaanxi. The horses and drivers were slaughtered and buried with the chariots in specially prepared pits around tombs for use in the after-life (Kaogu 1984b; Wenwu 1988). This practice became part of a burial system that lasted for about a thousand years -- from the Shang (c. 1300-c. 1050 BC) down to the Qin-Han period (221 BC-AD 220). Chariot chariot, earliest and simplest type of carriage and the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. The chariot was known among the Babylonians before the introduction of horses c.2000 B.C. and was first drawn by asses. The chariot and horse introduced into Egypt c.1700 B.  and horse pits were components of a hierarchical order that manifested itself as much in death as it did in life. All burials reflected the social structure, ritual systems, military organization and economic activities of early Chinese society. For this reason, excavation and study of the early Chinese chariot and horse pits have become major aspects of Chinese archaeology.

The structure of the chariot

The earliest discoveries of the Shang chariots were made after excavations in the 1930s at the site of Yinxu near the present-day city of Anyang (see MAP, p. 823 of this issue, which is common to this article and Jessica Rawson's). One hundred burial pits of the Shang, the Western Zhou, the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods have brought to light several hundreds of chariots in Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Shandong, Hebei, Inner Mongolia Inner Mongolia
 Chinese Nei Mongol or Nei-meng-ku

Autonomous region (pop., 2002 est.: 23,790,000), China. Stretching some 1,800 mi (2,900 km) across north-northeastern China, it has an area of 454,600 sq mi (1,177,500 sq km); its capital is Hohhot.
 and Hubei provinces. The shape and structure of the Shang chariot seems to have appeared fully formed (Shi Zhangru 1968; Kaogu 1984b), and only minor changes were made to Western Zhou and later chariots (Zhang Changshou et al. 1986; Yang Hong 1980: 79-93). All the chariots had one draught-pole, two wheels and a rectangular chariot box; they were pulled by two or four horses.

During the Shang (c. 1300-c. 1050 BC) and Western Zhou periods (c. 1050-771 BC) chariots had one draught-pole made of a single piece of wood, about 300 cm long, with a slightly narrower front end curving upward. At right angles so as to form a right angle or right angles, as when one line crosses another perpendicularly.

See also: Right
 to the pole was a wooden yoke yoke (yok)
1. a connecting structure.

2. jugum.


yoke
n.
See jugum.


yoke,
n 1. something that connects or binds.
 from 110 cm to 140 cm long, and the pole and yoke were held together with a leather thong. The pole and the yoke cannot have been fastened too tightly, since some slack must have been left between the draught-pole and the yoke to enable the chariot to be driven in different directions. Below the yoke hung two chevron-shaped 'yoke saddles' to accommodate the horses. The rear end of the draught-pole had flat surfaces; it sat directly on top of the axle axle

Pin or shaft on or with which wheels revolve; with fixed wheels, one of the basic simple machines for amplifying force. Combined with the wheel, in its earliest form it was probably used for raising weights or water buckets from wells.
. The axle was about 300 cm long. The chariot body was mounted so that the axle was centrally below it.

The frame which supported the chariot box was made of four pieces of wood, with the front and rear pieces fixed into notches on the draught-pole; the other two pieces rested on wooden axle-pads, and both of these were made fast to the axle with leather straps (Wenwu 1983: figure IV/4; 1991: 5). The much later miniature chariot in bronze from the tomb of the First Emperor of Qin, the unifier of China in 221 BC, has enabled us to identify such components of earlier chariots (Dewall 1990: 57). Indeed, throughout this article reference will be made to this bronze model, as we have used it to interpret more surely evidence from the many earlier excavated chariots.

Most chariot boxes were rectangular, although some were oval, especially those made of rattan rattan (rătăn`), name for a number of plants of the genera Calamus, Daemonorops, and Korthalsia climbing palms of tropical Asia, belonging to the family Palmae (palm family). . They were enclosed by boards or a railing, with an average height of 30-40 cm. Some had an extra railing, high above the box, for passengers to lean or hold on to when standing in the chariot. There were two types of floor in the chariot boxes. One was made of wooden boards, covered with hay or reeds; the other was woven from leather straps, in order to reduce the bouncing at higher speeds. All chariot boxes were open in the rear for access, with a width of 30-40 cm.

The wheels were relatively large, measuring from 125 to 140 cm in diameter. These dimensions are considerably greater than the average 1-m diameter for chariot wheels of the Near East. In China, the felloes were made of two or more bent-wood sections. (For example, on a Western Zhou chariot excavated at Xincun in Henan province the felloes comprised only two sections.) The sections were secured one to another with bronze clasps. The shape of these clasps reveals that wheels had a wedge-shaped cross-section and that the outer surfaces were narrower than the inner surfaces into which the spokes were mortised. Wheels of the Shang period usually had 18 spokes, but those of the Zhou period numbered from 18 to 26. Chariot wheels of the Spring and Autumn period Spring and Autumn period

(770–476 BC) Period of the Chinese Zhou dynasty named for one of the Confucian Classics, the Chunqiu (“Spring and Autumn Annals”).
 (8th-7th century BC) had between 25 and 28 spokes, as seen on chariots of the small state of Guo, situated in and around Shangcunling, near Sanmenxia in Henan province (Shangcunling 1959: 48). The chariots excavated from the pits with the terracotta warriors near the tomb of the First Emperor of Qin all had 30 spokes. Wheels with a large number of spokes were characteristic of China. The wheel's hub was thickened at its middle in order to provide depth for inserting the spokes. This thickened area was quite short in the Shang period (20-35 cm), but longer in Zhou times. Most of the Zhou hubs carried bronze ornaments. The distances TABULAR DATA OMITTED TABULAR DATA OMITTED between the wheels varied from 215 to 240 cm in the Shang-Zhou period.

Thousands of bronze parts and fittings for Shang-Zhou chariots and horses have been unearthed Unearthed is the name of a Triple J project to find and "dig up" (hence the name) hidden talent in regional Australia.

Unearthed has had three incarnations - they first visited each region of Australia where Triple J had a transmitter - 41 regions in all.
. It is clear that bronze was the main material used to decorate chariots. There are several principles governing the use of bronze equipment and ornaments:

Reinforcement

Almost all key elements which bear weight or wear out easily were reinforced by bronze parts. For example, the connection between the yoke and the draught-pole suffered particular stress, and it was consequently reinforced with bronze parts (Fengxi 1962: Guo Baojun 1964; Lu Liancheng et al. 1988); for similar reasons, the positions at which the yoke saddles hung were enclosed with bronze tubes. Since the hub was the component most likely to be damaged by wear, it was strengthened by various means. In the case of Western Zhou chariots, two bronze rings added at the ends of the wooden hub slowed the process of wear. Several excavated examples illustrate this arrangement, including Tombs M167 and M168 at Zhangjiapo, Chang'an county, near Xi'an (Fengxi 1962: 141-2). Other means to reinforce the wooden hub included three bronze rings encircling encircling (en·serˑ·k  the hub, as seen on the chariot from M5 of Xincun (Guo Baojun 1964: 48 & figure 30); alternatively, these three rings For the video game developer see Three Rings Design.

In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the Three Rings of the Elves of Eregion are fictional magical artifacts. They are three of twenty Rings of Power.
 were cast as a single unit, as seen in the example from Tomb M3 of Xincun (Guo Baojun 1964:48 & figures 26-7); another method used the three rings with a bushing as evidenced at Rujiazhuang, near Baoji (Lu Liancheng et al. 1988: 392 & figure 22). Combative com·bat·ive  
adj.
Eager or disposed to fight; belligerent. See Synonyms at argumentative.



com·bative·ly adv.
 functions

The early chariots were mainly used for war. Therefore, the protruding pro·trude  
v. pro·trud·ed, pro·trud·ing, pro·trudes

v.tr.
To push or thrust outward.

v.intr.
To jut out; project. See Synonyms at bulge.
 parts of the chariot were likely to be equipped with spear-heads, as on one end of the yoke of the two-horse chariot found at Zhangjiapo (FIGURE 3, cf. Fengxi 1962: 145). On later chariots, such as those from a tomb of the early Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BC) at Songcun in Shaanxi province (Wenwu 1975) and at the tomb of the Marquis Yi of Zeng (c. 433 BC) at Suixian in Hubei province (Zeng Hou Yi mu 1989: 306-31, & figure 108), the ends of the axle were cast with sharp teeth; a bronze shell was found on the rear part of the chariot box from a Chu tomb at Ma'an shan in Henan province (Wenwu 1984b). Such equipment was clearly used to add to the chariot's armoury.

Demonstrating social status

Decoration with elaborate bronze parts, such as the ornament ornament, in architecture
ornament, in architecture, decorative detail enhancing structures. Structural ornament, an integral part of the framework, includes the shaping and placement of the buttress, cornice, molding, ceiling, and roof and the capital and
 on the draught-pole added to the glamour of the vehicles. In later periods, such as the Han (206 BC-AD 220), chariots were regarded as symbols of status, and were graded in part by their ornamentation ornamentation

In music, the addition of notes for expressive and aesthetic purposes. For example, a long note may be ornamented by repetition or by alternation with a neighboring note (“trill”); a skip to a nonadjacent note can be filled in with the intervening
 (see Chavannes 1967 as mentioned by Rawson above). It is possible that this practice started much earlier. At present the evidence does not allow precise grading of the different finds, although some broad distinctions are evident.

Inscriptions in Western Zhou period bronze vessels, which list gifts from the king to his subjects that included chariots and elaborate chariot parts imply that such gifts conferred honour and status. The inscription on the Maogong ding 1. ding - Synonym for feep. Usage: rare among hackers, but commoner in the Real World.
2. ding - "dinged": What happens when someone in authority gives you a minor bitching about something, especially something trivial. "I was dinged for having a messy desk."
 in the National Palace Museum, Taibei offers an especially vivid example (Shaughnessy 1991: 81):

I confer upon you: ... a chariot with bronze fittings, with a decorated cover on the handrail; a front-rail and breast trappings of soft leather, painted scarlet, for the horses; a canopy of tiger skin, with a reddish brown lining; yoke-bar bindings and axle couplings of painted leather; bronze jingle-bells for the yoke bar; a mainshaft rear-end fitting and brake fittings, bound with leather and painted gilt; a gilt bow-press and a fish-skin quiver; a team of four horses, with bits and bridles, bronze frontlets, and gilt girthstraps; a scarlet banner with two bells.

Chariot harness

From archaeological discoveries, we know that most of the Shang chariots were driven by two horses. Excavated chariots from the Shang-Zhou periods down to the 3rd century BC do not provide enough evidence for us to discern the method of harnessing the horses. Some scholars believe that 'pulling yoke saddles' were used to drive chariots in the Pre-Qin period. It is thought that the horses were fastened to the yoke saddle by leather straps running around the neck of the horse. The disadvantage of this configuration, it has been long argued, may have been that the horse's neck actually carried most of the weight of the chariot and that the leather straps may have constricted con·strict  
v. con·strict·ed, con·strict·ing, con·stricts

v.tr.
1. To make smaller or narrower by binding or squeezing.

2. To squeeze or compress.

3.
 the horse's windpipe windpipe: see trachea. . Such problems were undeniably present, but modern conceptions of their effect may have been exaggerated (Littauer 1968). Barbara Stephen has suggested that even a thousand years before the Qin dynasty Qin dynasty
 or Ch'in dynasty

(221–207 BC) Dynasty that established the first great Chinese empire. The Qin (from which the name China is derived) established the approximate boundaries and basic administrative system that all subsequent dynasties were
, Chinese harnessing -- or an imported harnessing system -- may have worked efficiently and safely (Stephen 1992: 119-21).

Four-horse chariots first became widespread in the Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BC). Four horses could increase the chariot's speed in combat. The bronze chariot from the burial site of the First Emperor of Qin drawn by four horses displays the extremely detailed chariot structure and harness of that time (FIGURES 7 & 8, cf. Wenwu 1983; Wenwu 1991; Sun Ji 1980). It shows that the yoke saddles and traces attached to the bottom of the saddle divided the pull, so that the horse's shoulders as well as the neck bore the weight. The traces were made of leather straps and divided into two parts. In the front, the ends of the traces -- one for each of the two middle horses -- were fastened to the inside ends of the yoke saddles and to a bronze hook on Verb 1. hook on - adopt; "take up new ideas"
fasten on, seize on, take up, latch on

sweep up, embrace, espouse, adopt - take up the cause, ideology, practice, method, of someone and use it as one's own; "She embraced Catholicism"; "They adopted the Jewish
 top of the draught-pole in front of the chariot box. The rear ends were joined together and fastened to a bronze hook in the front of the chariot box and to the mid-placed axle. The two outside horses carried no yoke saddles, but traces from their chests ran back and were tied to each side of the chariot box. Such harnesses were developed from earlier models.

There are references to chariots in the odes of the canonical Book of Songs (Shijing), which contains literature of the 5th century BC, or perhaps earlier. These references indicate that Western and Eastern Zhou chariots had six reins. The driver had three in each hand to control the horses. One end of the reins was fastened to the pit hooks and the other end was held by the driver. In order to maintain a safe distance and to prevent collision between the central and outside horses, small sharp fenders hung on the outside of the central pair. The drivers of the chariots were usually slaughtered to accompany most Shang and Western Zhou chariot burials. They were placed underneath or at the rear end of the chariot box. The skeleton of a foot protrudes from beneath the box of the four-horse chariot discovered at Zhangjiapo. This custom was more common in the Shang period than later: among 14 chariots excavated at Yinxu, eight were buried with one, two or three drivers. This may indicate that these drivers' social status was relatively low. They were probably war hostages or family slaves. Nevertheless, driving was not always a menial MENIAL. This term is applied to servants who live under their master's roof Vide stat. 2 H. IV., c. 21.  occupation. In the pre-Qin period, sons of aristocrats and some of the so-called 'ordinary people' had to learn how to drive. Later texts suggest that six types of instruction were set up in the Zhou, and three of them, including driving (yu), archery archery, sport of shooting with bow and arrow, an important military and hunting skill before the introduction of gunpowder. England's Charles II fostered archery as sport, establishing in 1673 the world's oldest continuous archery tournament, the Ancient Scorton  (she) and music (yue), provided training for the performance of ceremonial chariot parades. According to according to
prep.
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

3.
 the bamboo scripts of the 3rd century BC found at Shuihudi, in Hubei province, all adult males had to pass a four-year course in driving (Shuihudi 1978: 128). Most of the drivers in the command carts were aristocrats of high social status.

The chariots interred with the terracotta warriors near the tomb of the First Emperor of Qin each held one driver and two warriors with long-shafted weapons, sitting to the left and right of the driver (Yuan Zhongyi 1990: 89). Inside the box, there were arrow-heads and bows. Bronze spear-heads found in a Western Zhou tomb at Zhuyuangou near Baoji and in a tomb of the early Warring States period Warring States period
 Chinese Zhangou

(475–221 BC) In Chinese history, a period in which small feuding kingdoms or fiefdoms struggled for supremacy. The period was dominated by seven or more small feuding Chinese kingdoms.
 (403-221 BC) at Songcun near Huxian in Shaanxi were probably used in chariots. Three sets of weapons from M20, a Shang tomb at Xiaotun near Anyang, were used by chariot warriors (Shi Zhangru 1947). The spear-heads excavated from a Western Zhou tomb (Lu Liancheng et al. 1988: 94-5) and from a Spring and Autumn tomb (Wenwu 1975) were once attached to wooden shafts estimated at 3-4 m long. It seems quite probable that these weapons were intended for use on a war chariot. Three warriors forming a chariot unit seems to have been normal from the Shang period (c. 1300 BC) right down to the Han (206 BC-AD 220). We learn a little more from long inscriptions on Western Zhou bronze vessels. For example, the inscription on the Yu ding in the Shanghai Museum The Shanghai Museum (Chinese:上海博物館) is a museum of ancient Chinese art, situated on the People's Square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, People's Republic of China.  mentions that 10 soldiers accompanied each chariot (Dobson 1962: 220-26). Of course, this was probably not a strict rule. Chariot use

Wars were frequent in China during the pre-Qin period, and chariot combat was foremost among many martial activities in the Central Plains area. This area fragmented into several competing states after 770 BC, when the Zhou were forced out of their capital at Zongzhou, near modern Xi'an, by invading tribes, and warfare became endemic (Lewis 1990). A good recorded instance of chariot use in war is the battle between the states of Chu and Jin in 632 BC, when the Jin commanders deployed 700 chariots (Zuozhuan 16.22a).

The main developments in chariot design between the 14th and the 3rd centuries BC comprise an increase in the length of the draught-pole, an increase in the number of wheel spokes, an enlarging of the chariot box and a shortening of the axle and the distance between the wheels. To date, all excavated chariots have two wheels. It is also clear that the early Chinese chariot had one draught-pole, two wheels with many spokes and a rectangular-shaped box.

Two recently discovered chariots with double draught-poles date to the Warring States period (403-221 BC). One is a ceramic model from Baqitun in Fengxiang, Shaanxi (Wenwu ziliao congkan 1980); another is a real chariot from Ma'anzhong in Henan (Wenwu 1984b). There is no doubt that double-pole chariots appeared in the Warring States period at the latest. Pulled by a single horse or ox, the slow double-pole chariot could not meet the requirements of war. Perhaps this is why it remained relatively under-exploited for a long time.

The nature of warfare changed in the Qin-Han period (221 BC-AD 220). The chariot was replaced by cavalry and infantry, and the single-pole chariot became less important. Only at this time did the double draught-pole chariot develop as a transport vehicle noted for its light weight and easy handling. In the Eastern Han (AD 25-220) and during the period of the Three Kingdoms (220-420), the double draught-pole chariot was the predominant form. This change is seen in innumerable images of chariot and horse processions on Han stone carvings and in many ceramic tomb models. Thus, as society evolved, the early chariot of the Pre-Qin period gradually disappeared.

There is no evidence of ox-drawn chariots in the Shang and Zhou periods. Horses remained the sole means of drawing chariots. Both transmitted texts and inscriptions in ritual bronzes indicate that the Zhou royal family paid much attention to horse-breeding and appointed officials to administer this activity. For example, one of the ancestors of the Qin clan, Feizi, raised horses for King Xiao (r. 884-869 BC) in the upper Wei River Wei River

River, north-central China. It rises in the mountains of southeastern Gansu province and flows east through Shaanxi province to join the Huang He (Yellow River). It is 537 mi (864 km) long.
 valley, and he earned the favour of the Western Zhou royal household in return for his efforts. The Qin clan founded its fortunes on this favour (Shiji 5.177). According to inscriptions on Western Zhou bronze vessels, the Zhou rulers established at least two stud-farms in the Guanzhong area. Here, in the second month of spring, the Zhou king would attend ceremonies for the covering of mares (Shaanxi 1980: 183-92). The horse was the major form of animal power for transport and war. It was also offered as a primary ritual sacrifice. Horse burials were very common in the Pre-Qin era, as at Linzi in Shandong province, where a city -- perhaps the capital -- of the Qi State was located. A horse burial pit there has been partly excavated. So far, 228 horses have been unearthed, and archaeologists estimate that at least 600 horses were buried there. The horses were all slaughtered and interred in two neat rows (Wenwu 1984a).

It is very likely that besides the horse-drawn chariot, another vehicle drawn by oxen oxen

adult castrated male of any breed of Bos spp.
 existed in the Shang-Zhou periods. Such a vehicle is termed a 'large vehicle' (dache) in bronze inscriptions, probably because it was bigger than the chariot, and perhaps used mainly for transport.

While there is considerable archaeological evidence for the use of chariots, there is much less information on dache. An inscription in a tripod, known as the Shi Tong tong 1  
tr.v. tonged, tong·ing, tongs
To seize, hold, or manipulate with tongs.



[Back-formation from tongs.
 ding (late 9th century BC), excavated near Zhouyuan in Shaanxi province, records that Shi Tong once captured five chariots Five Chariots (五車, pinyin: Wǔ Chē) is a constellation in Chinese astronomy. Introduction
A five-star Chinese constellation that contains Auriga plus Beta Tauri. Also known as Gosha.
 and 20 dache, following a battle (Wenwu 1982). The term dache is often interpreted as a cart. Whereas the chariot was used primarily on the battlefield, the cart was probably used only for transport; it was possibly drawn by oxen. There is a description of a dache as a 'carrier vehicle for flat lands', contained in the 'Record of the Ministry of Works' (Kaogong ji), a supplementary chapter to the 'Zhou Rites' (Zhouli) written probably during the early Han. A gloss in the 'Collected explanations' (Jijie), a work compiled in the late 3rd century AD, concerns a passage in the Confucian 'Analects' (Lunyu, c. 400 BC) and it provides a categorical That which is unqualified or unconditional.

A categorical imperative is a rule, command, or moral obligation that is absolutely and universally binding.

Categorical is also used to describe programs limited to or designed for certain classes of people.
 definition of two types of vehicle: 'the dache is an ox cart; the small cart (xiaoche) is pulled by four horses' (cf. Legge 1893: 153). An ox-cart model was found in a Qin state tomb of the early Spring and Autumn period (722-481 BC) at Longxian county in Shaanxi province. However, during the early half of the Eastern Han (AD 25-220), the ox cart was not highly regarded. In his chapter on 'transport and prices' (Pingzhun shu) contained in the 'Historical records', Sima Qian (c. 145-91 BC) records that early in the Western Han, shortly after destroying the Qin, the economy was barely recovering: 'The Emperor did not have a chariot pulled by horses of the same colour; the generals and ministers sometimes used ox carts' (Shiji 30.1417). Sima Qian also records that in the wake of the critical 'seven states rebellion' and during the reign of Emperor Jing (156-140 BC), 'the impoverished dukes sometimes ride on ox carts' (Shiji 59.2104). Ox carts were obviously of lower status than the horse-drawn chariot. This attitude changed late in the Eastern Han (AD 25-220), when riding on ox carts seems to have become fashionable and was adopted by government officers and the social elite. As the ox cart replaced horse-drawn chariots, it quickly developed as a vehicle of high status. Archaeological evidence

Chariot pits of the Shang-Zhou period differ according to geographical location, period, the status of their occupants and regional practices. Three types of Shang chariot pit have been identified by Chinese archaeologists (Zheng Ruokui 1987: 462-9):

1 chariot burials,

2 chariot and horse burials,

3 horse burials.

All three types of burial occurred either in separate pits adjacent to or in the vicinity of the main tomb, or within areas of the actual tomb (usually within the burial chamber or on the entrance ramp entrance ramp n (US) (AUT) → rampa de acceso

entrance ramp entrance n (US) (Aut) → bretelle f d'accès

. Some individual horse pits near the tombs in the Yinxu royal cemetery contain horses buried later than the related tombs. These animals were sacrificed in later commemorative ceremonies. M1888, M1887, M1911, M1912, M1963 and M2017 and seven other horse pits are arranged in rows, representing offerings at ceremonies for either the Shang King or members of the royal family. Most chariot and horse pits are associated with a particular tomb, serving either for use in the after-life or as a ceremonial sacrifice.

The Shang types of chariot burial Chariot burials are tombs in which the deceased was buried together with his chariot, usually including his (more rarely, her) horses and other possessions.

The earliest chariots known are from chariot burials of the Andronovo (Timber-Grave) sites of the Sintashta-Petrovka
 continued under the Zhou, but certain patterns changed. The following pages present a brief chronological survey of chariot burial under the Zhou.

The use of chariot and horse pits in burial prevailed in the early Zhou. The archaeological materials from the capital area near Xi'an, and from Zhouyuan, Luoyang and Xincun show that the chariot and horse burials of this period were all in pits adjacent to but separate from tombs. If two or more chariots were buried in one pit, they were usually arranged side by side. The horses were first slaughtered, then buried under the yoke Under the Yoke is a novel by Ivan Vazov, written in 1893. It depicts the Ottoman oppression of Bulgaria and is the most famous piece of classic Bulgarian literature. Under the Yoke has been translated into more than 30 languages.  and either side of the draught-pole, together with bronze harness and chariot parts.

The four chariot and horse pits excavated at Zhangjiapo near Xi'an are typical examples of early Zhou burials. Two chariots were buried in the No. 2 pit of Zhangjiapo, with two horses accompanying each of them. No. 4 pit contained three chariots, one buried with a team of four horses, the others with teams of two. The chariots were positioned side by side (Fengxi 1962: 141-55).

During the mid-Zhou period, c. 900-850 BC, burial patterns changed. Chariot pits were still independent of the tomb and bronze chariot parts were generally placed in them. However, the bronze decorated harnesses and the horses themselves were usually buried inside the tomb proper. No. 1 and No. 2 chariot pits of the Yu state tomb at Rujiazhuang, near Baoji in western Shaanxi, are the most striking examples of such burials (Lu Liancheng et al. 1988: 388-407). M15 and M17 of Changhua, also dated to the mid-Zhou period, is similar (Wenwu 1986). Chariot pit No. 1100 belonging in the Yan state cemetery at Liulihe near Beijing shows a similar arrangement, but here the chariot wheels have been disconnected and buried as separate items in the chariot pit (Kaogu 1984a: 405-16). The custom of burying chariots and horses in pits separated from the main tomb was clearly adopted in the capital area of the Western Zhou. Such burials are also found in Liulihe, Beijing and Xincun in Junxian county of Henan. Obviously, some clear intent with specific purposes relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 life after death lies behind these burial customs.

A noticeable change in the chariot burial pattern happened in the mid Zhou period, some time around the mid to late 9th century BC. The Jing family cemetery in Fengxi at Chang'an near Xi'an is the most direct evidence for this change. M152, M170 and M157 are three tombs which belong to three generations of Jing. There are no pits with chariots and horses buried together; only horse pits are found in the cemetery. No pits were provided for the burial of chariots or of chariots with horses. Instead, chariots and ancillary bronze parts were buried inside the main tombs. M157 and M170 contain 15 chariots (Kaogu 1986; Kaogu 1990). Their constituent parts had been disconnected and placed mostly on the tomb entrance ramp. Several horse pits are located near the tombs, the largest with over 40 horses. The horses are buried in disarray dis·ar·ray  
n.
1. A state of disorder; confusion.

2. Disorderly dress.

tr.v. dis·ar·rayed, dis·ar·ray·ing, dis·ar·rays
1. To throw into confusion; upset.

2. To undress.
; a few had bronze arrow-heads on their bodies, but we do not yet know what such an arrangement signified. This is not, however, an isolated example. The same burial pattern is evident for the 8th century BC at the Guo state cemetery at Shangcunling. Textual evidence

Some scholars have studied the regulations governing the use of chariots. Beside archaeological discoveries, historical texts suggest that the sophistication so·phis·ti·cate  
v. so·phis·ti·cat·ed, so·phis·ti·cat·ing, so·phis·ti·cates

v.tr.
1. To cause to become less natural, especially to make less naive and more worldly.

2.
 of chariot and horse burials systematically matched the deceased's social status. When a man was appointed to an official position within the ruler's government, his rise in political or social status was ritually honoured with a royal presentation of a chariot, horse and garments. By analogy with later periods, it is suggested that Shang and Zhou societies created and maintained a hierarchy delimited de·lim·it   also de·lim·i·tate
tr.v. de·lim·it·ed also de·lim·i·tat·ed, de·lim·it·ing also de·lim·i·tat·ing, de·lim·its also de·lim·i·tates
To establish the limits or boundaries of; demarcate.
 at each grade by chariot decorations, types of horse, banners and bronze ritual vessels. For example, the inscription on the late Western Zhou tripod, known as the Maogong ding, quoted above, records that when Maogong was appointed to the highest position of both the military and the civil spheres of the government, a chariot and a complex set of chariot parts were presented to him by the Zhou King. Another inscription on the Tanhou Baichen ding records that when Baichen was granted a title as Duke Tan, he was given a wooden chariot with horses and a set of harnesses. An inscription on the Dayu ding, one of the most famous Zhou bronzes now in the Shanghai Museum, records that when the Zhou King gave Yu his grandfather's position to assist the royal family, he also presented him with chariots, horses, banner(s), garments and nearly 2000 slaves. There are many bronze inscriptions which record such gifts in the Western Zhou period (c. 1050-771 BC). The chariot, its decoration and bronze-ornamented harnessings all stood as emblems of social status in the Shang and Zhou periods. Finds from tombs belonging to the same family can be used to show how changes in status were reflected in adjustments to chariot burial patterns. In the Jing family cemetery, mentioned above, the first-generation tomb M152 is relatively small, with only four chariots buried on one of the entrance ramps. By the third generation, the Jing family was favoured by the Zhou royal house, and it had gained unrivalled political influence among the Zhou's ministers. A Jing of this period was buried in a huge tomb with two entrance ramps and 15 chariots. From bronze inscriptions we also learn that the Jing clan expanded rapidly during this third generation, and that its collective power grew accordingly. The Guo state cemetery at Sanmenxia in Henan province provides additional evidence of social and political status reflected in burial patterns (Shangcunling 1959: 42-7). The Guo clan belonged to the same clan as the Zhou royal family. Thus, apart from internal Guo clan relationships, the Guo's observed tiers of social status based upon the varying proximity of their relationships to the Dukes of Zhou. They lived in the area around Sanmenxia from the early Western Zhou (1066-771 BC) into the Eastern Zhou period (770-256 BC). The excavated cemetery is of the early Eastern Zhou period. M1052, the tomb of a Guo prince, included 10 chariots and 20 horses. The other excavated chariot pits yielded five chariots and 10 horses or one chariot and two horses, probably belonging to aristocrats whose social status was lower than the prince. Another recently-discovered chariot pit belonging to the Guo clan remains incompletely excavated, but its size and form suggest that it contains even more chariots and horses than the total discovered in Tomb M1052. In the Spring and Autumn period, the dukes competed to display their wealth. The size of chariot pits, and the numbers of buried chariots and horses, became a focus of such competition. In the Qin state cemetery in Fengxiang county, Shaanxi, one of the duke's tombs (M1) has a chariot pit 111.6 m long, 25 m wide and 13.5 m deep. The tomb was robbed long ago, but it is estimated that 100 chariots are still buried in the pit.

We have discussed the burial system of chariot pits in the Pre-Qin period from different angles, but we have not treated the question of the origin of the Chinese chariot. That discussion involves the relationship between the Chinese chariot and those of other early cultures, especially those in Central Asia and the Middle East. Although several western authors (Shaughnessy 1988; Stephen 1992; Piggott 1978; 1992; Littauer 1979) have considered this issue, reliable archaeological materials and convincing sources to demonstrate these connections are still lacking. I believe that, along with continued work in China and other areas, the question of the Chinese chariot's origins, development and spread will be resolved in due course.

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Author:Lu Liancheng
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Date:Dec 1, 1993
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