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Tarim mummies and the introduction of chariots


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#1 hua

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 03:36 AM

Chinese historians and scholars should be on a vigilant guard against Western academics who recently make the erroneous claim that early Chinese civilization and its foundations owe a lot to contact with Caucasoid people in the Tarim Basin (ie Tocharian mummy peoples). They already claim on Wikipedia that bronze and charriot warfare came to China from the West via these oasis Caucasoids.

Many Chinese neolithic sites already had bronze well before the arrival of Caucasoids to Xinjiang 4,000 years ago.

These lies should not spread. It is hard for them to accept and believe that we are one of the few 'non-white' people to develop our own form of civilization and at very high sophisticated level too.

#2 Bao Pu

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 06:02 AM

Chinese historians and scholars should be on a vigilant guard against Western academics who recently make the erroneous claim that early Chinese civilization and its foundations owe a lot to contact with Caucasoid people in the Tarim Basin (ie Tocharian mummy peoples). They already claim on Wikipedia that bronze and charriot warfare came to China from the West via these oasis Caucasoids.

Many Chinese neolithic sites already had bronze well before the arrival of Caucasoids to Xinjiang 4,000 years ago.

These lies should not spread. It is hard for them to accept and believe that we are one of the few 'non-white' people to develop our own form of civilization and at very high sophisticated level too.


Victor Mair comes to mind. But I suspect that most Western scholars do not suffer from low self-esteem and ethnocentrism as you suggest. Their theories might be offensive to some, and may be wrong sometimes, but they are always open to critical examination and refutation by other qualified scholars. If something is not true, it is bound to be found out in time. And do not place too much faith in Wikipedia articles: they can be written by anybody.
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#3 DaMo

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Posted 05 September 2006 - 07:59 AM

Nothing wrong with getting worked up over Wikipedia, as long as you don't overdo it.

As for chariots and bronze, these were certainly around West Eurasia long before their appearance in East Asia. The Tarim Europoids simply provided the link. Even before they were discovered, the diffusion of these technologies from West to East was widely accepted. Of course, extending this theory to claim that civilization itself was brought to East Asia by some semi-nomadic Central Asians is ridiculous; there was plenty going on in East Asia long before they arrived.
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#4 historylover

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Posted 11 September 2006 - 11:46 PM

Chinese historians and scholars should be on a vigilant guard against Western academics who recently make the erroneous claim that early Chinese civilization and its foundations owe a lot to contact with Caucasoid people in the Tarim Basin (ie Tocharian mummy peoples). They already claim on Wikipedia that bronze and charriot warfare came to China from the West via these oasis Caucasoids.

Many Chinese neolithic sites already had bronze well before the arrival of Caucasoids to Xinjiang 4,000 years ago.

These lies should not spread. It is hard for them to accept and believe that we are one of the few 'non-white' people to develop our own form of civilization and at very high sophisticated level too.


The origins of the Tocharians are interesting in their own right, but there will be people who will try to make a name for themselves. Shoot, that's the name of the game.

An alternative and IMO a reasonable view of this matter is from this link:

http://homepages.uto...ht/discarch.txt

If you're going to get Chinese history from Wikipedia, one might as well get it from freerepublic.com, or espn when the Beijing Olympics come around. At least you'll get a good laugh.

#5 TheAznValedictorian

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 12:26 PM

Wait. I am now quite confused. So, did bronze existed in China before its encounter with the Caucasians? did the Cauasians introduced chariots to china?
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#6 DaMo

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 02:18 PM

Wait. I am now quite confused. So, did bronze existed in China before its encounter with the Caucasians? did the Cauasians introduced chariots to china?


Chariots definitely existed in Western Asia long before their appearance in Eastern Asia, and well after the time when the first Caucasoids are believed to have arrived in the Tarim Basin (circa 2000 BC). I think it's pretty obvious that chariot technology, which is quite unique and specialized, was borrowed from the west.

As for bronze, it's a slightly more complicated issue. It did make its appearance in China a while before the known appearance of Caucasoids in the western regions, but given that bronze making existed in the Indus Valley, the Near East and the Eastern Mediterranean before its appearance in China, and that the first appearance of bronze-making among the neolithic culture centers was in the westernmost Chinese neolithic culture of Majiayao, I would lean in favor of labelling it another borrowing from the west.
"If an archeologist calls something a finial, he usually he has no idea what it is"
"We Vandals get blamed for stuff that was actually done by some errant Lombard or Visigoth"
"Nationalism is much about forgetting as it is about remembering"

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#7 William O'Chee

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Posted 15 November 2008 - 10:31 PM

It is widely accepted in scholarly research that the chariot came to China from the West, specifically through the Dzungarian Gate. It is also the case that metallurgy was more advanced in the Caucasus than in China. There are also a number of threads on this site which attest to the difficulty China had in working iron early on, which is why it was used for plows and the like before it was used for weapons. The reason was that it was cast and not forged.

#8 TheAznValedictorian

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Posted 16 November 2008 - 12:20 AM

It is widely accepted in scholarly research that the chariot came to China from the West, specifically through the Dzungarian Gate. It is also the case that metallurgy was more advanced in the Caucasus than in China. There are also a number of threads on this site which attest to the difficulty China had in working iron early on, which is why it was used for plows and the like before it was used for weapons. The reason was that it was cast and not forged.


Ah, I see.
But isn't it true that some of the Hans' bronze weapons can cut through Romans' iron weapons? Or is it that this is probably not relevant to the ealier time period?

Also, just to make sure, this means that bronze from all of the different cultures came from the West, right? None of them were indepently discovered?

Edited by Asian Power, 16 November 2008 - 12:23 AM.

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#9 William O'Chee

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 07:31 AM

Ah, I see.
But isn't it true that some of the Hans' bronze weapons can cut through Romans' iron weapons? Or is it that this is probably not relevant to the ealier time period?

I don't know of any suggestion that Han bronze weapons could cut through Roman iron weapons. These weapons don't really "cut" through each other at any rate, but if you know of any scholarly studies, I would be interested to see them. In any event, this does not really answer a question of the earliest discovery of bronze.

Also, just to make sure, this means that bronze from all of the different cultures came from the West, right? None of them were indepently discovered?

The first bronze implements appeared in the fourth century in Iran.

A good summation of bronze making in Central Asia and China is to be found in Nicola di Cosmo's Ancient China and its Enemies. He points out that there were a number of sophisticated 17th century BC bronze metallurgical complexes. These are described collectively as the Seimo-Turbino complex. Although this is eponymously centred in the Urals, di Cosmo argues that they actually originated in the Sayano-Altai region. He cites Chernykh, Ancient Metallurgy in the USSR at pp 215-231. He argues that this spread into northern China.

Di Cosmo also gives a good explanation of the spread of the chariot into China through the Dzungarian Gate, and cites a number of studies at p29.

See also the following article by Dr Emily Sano:

The Great Bronze Age of China

For an understanding of Chinese bronze working.

#10 TheAznValedictorian

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Posted 17 November 2008 - 10:26 PM

I know that this is not an academic source, but here's one, I think.

Yes, but even Han bronze is better than Roman iron. Because both bronze and iron would either be very flabby, and thus unable to kill anyone, or very hard, meaning very easily breakable in battle, the Han were able to mix a bronze weapon in which the spine would be flabby, so that the weapon won't break during battle, and the border hard, so that it can actually cut a person. A roman iron sword in contrast, is very, very hard, and thus that's why Roman swords are short, stabbing weapons, since a long one would mean that it'll easily break. This is excusable for infantry, but even Roman calvary have short swords, which is inefficient for fighting.



The reason why I trust (not completely believe) this is because it has been stated by the many senior members in this forum. Most of the senior members here are trusthworthy. Because this has been stated many times, I assumed that there would be a credible source somewhere. I know that this is still lacking, but I will try my best to post more statements supporting this.
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#11 William O'Chee

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:32 AM

I know that this is not an academic source, but here's one, I think.




The reason why I trust (not completely believe) this is because it has been stated by the many senior members in this forum. Most of the senior members here are trusthworthy. Because this has been stated many times, I assumed that there would be a credible source somewhere. I know that this is still lacking, but I will try my best to post more statements supporting this.

Thanks for the forum reference. Early iron did tend to be weak, and I accept that it may have had inferior performance to bronze. My issue was with the suggestion that bronze weapons would be able to "cut" through iron weapons.

I am merely trying to point out two important lessons for an aspiring historian:

  • Relying on internet sources which are not peer reviewed is always a dangerous thing, especially as on this forum most users do not use their real names(I do).
  • It is importsnt to be very careful about the wording you use, as poorly worded statements can get you into a lot of scholarly hot water.


#12 TheAznValedictorian

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 04:45 PM

After a hard search :yucky: (lol) here's another one:

Thatís one of the theories, but as already said itís irrelevant since as already mentioned above, In the 4th century b.c., they already learned to reheat the iron to make steel with a greater efficiency in production than the west due to its cast iron production. Not to mention Chinese Bronze is a lot superior to western ones, professionals that looked at the terra cotta warrior tombs have already said that these bronze is no less efficient than western contemporary wrought iron if not superior, since Roman gladius uncovered only has a hardness rating of 65 HRB while that of the Qin bronze swords have 84. The very fact that Qin bronze sword with a overall total length of 111 centimeters is much longer than the western ones is due to the fact that the bronze technology of the western sword was not highly developed to sustain such length.


And yes, "cutting" is a wrong choice of word.
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"What is asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence."- Christopher Hitchens

#13 William O'Chee

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Posted 18 November 2008 - 05:26 PM

After a hard search :yucky: (lol) here's another one:



And yes, "cutting" is a wrong choice of word.

Quite so.

Warhead's post is very informative, however.

#14 shunyadragon

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Posted 21 November 2008 - 12:55 PM

Chinese historians and scholars should be on a vigilant guard against Western academics who recently make the erroneous claim that early Chinese civilization and its foundations owe a lot to contact with Caucasoid people in the Tarim Basin (ie Tocharian mummy peoples). They already claim on Wikipedia that bronze and charriot warfare came to China from the West via these oasis Caucasoids.

Many Chinese neolithic sites already had bronze well before the arrival of Caucasoids to Xinjiang 4,000 years ago.

These lies should not spread. It is hard for them to accept and believe that we are one of the few 'non-white' people to develop our own form of civilization and at very high sophisticated level too.


None of the Neolithic sites are known to contain bronze. Copper began to be used in the late Neolithic before bronze and this transition period is sometimes called Chalcolithic.

As far as I am aware, the Caucasians that settled in Xinjiang are not associated with any introduction of technologies into China.

No, Chinese bronze swords cannot 'break' (very bad word anyway) Roman iron swords. The Roman sword was a short sword used for close formation combat. There are weapons that evolved called sword breakers that are designed to break many types of weapons.

Yes chariots came to China from the west, and bronze likely from Iran or India. The Chinese did have many high tech inovations in metalurgy and chariot construction
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#15 tadamson

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Posted 22 November 2008 - 09:10 AM

Much of the bronze iron better worse stuff is apparently derived from a lack of undestanding of the properties of these metals.

One advantage of most bronzes (the term covers a range of alloys) is that they can be worked to produce a very hard edge (better than iron or even most steels). This can produce an exceptionally sharp cutting edge (and is why most razors were bronze right up to the industrial age). Iron, on the other hand can produce better malliable (bendable) alloys and has the ability to have different grades of alloy 'pattern welded' together by hammering under heat. Thus you can produce a flexible blade that still keeps a good edge. Bronze items have to be much more homogenous so if you use a hard alloy the weapon will be prone to shattering under a heavy blow. Softer alloys will flex but loose their edge very quickly.

Iron is also, in most places and times, a much, much cheaper material.
rgds.

Tom..




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