Craft Production and Social Change in Northern China

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Oktober 2002



This book offers an anthropological analysis of how craft production changed in relation to the development of complex societies in northern China. It focuses on the production and use of food containers-pottery and bronze vessels-during the late prehistoric and early historic periods. A major theme is how production and use of prestige vessels changed in relation to increase in degree of social inequality. The research and writing of this book took place intermittently over a period of several years. When I first outlined the book in 1994, I planned to offer a more limited and descriptive account of social change during the late prehistoric period. In considering the human desire to display status with prestige goods, my initial approach emphasized how the case of northern China was similar to other areas of the world. I began to realize that in order to adequately explain how and why craft production changed in ancient China, it was crucial to consider the belief systems that motivated produc­ tion and use of food containers. Similarly, a striking characteristic of ancient China that I needed to include in the analysis was the preponderance of food containers, rather than other goods, that were buried with the deceased. I decided to investigate the social and ritual uses of food, bever­ ages, and containers during more than one period of Chinese history. Some strong patterns could have emerged during the late prehistoric period.


1. The Research Problem: Craft Production and the Development of Complex Societies in Ancient China. 2. Sources of Data on the Development of Complex Societies in the Yellow River Valley. 3. Food, Craft Specialization, and Social Inequality: Cross-Cultural Perspectives. 4. The Gift of Food in Ancient China: The Role of Food, Drink, and Containers in Social Relations. 5. The Dawenkou and Yangshao Period. 6. The Longshan Period. 7. The Early Bronze Age. 8. Craft Production and Social Change in Northern China. Index.


"Underhill's monograph is the first diachronic archaeological study of this region from the anthropological perspective. This work will be of interest to students in Chinese archaeology,m as well as to archaeologists studying the rise of social complexity in other parts of the world."
(Journal of Anthrolopological Research, 59 (2003)
"...in this book, Anne Underhill has undertaken a massive investigation of the textual and archaeological evidence for changes in craft production in relation to the development of complex society between 4000 and 1200 B.C. in northern China. Probably the most meticulously systematic argument in the Chinese archaeological literature, where a rich array of Chinese historical and archaeological as well as worldwide ethnographical data are marshaled in its support."
(Gina L. Barnes, Asian Perspectives, 43:1)
EAN: 9780306467714
ISBN: 0306467712
Untertitel: 2002. Auflage. Book. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Springer
Erscheinungsdatum: Oktober 2002
Seitenanzahl: 368 Seiten
Format: gebunden
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