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Is Yangshao culture a matriarchal clan?

The Yangshao Culture is a culture dominated by agriculture. The villages are large or small. The houses in the larger villages have a certain layout, there is a surrounding ditch, and there are cemeteries and kilns outside the village. The houses in the village are mainly round or square. In the early days, there were many single rooms in the circle, and in the later period, there were many square rooms. The house is in the form of a mixture of mud and grass. The walls of the house are made of mud, mixed with grass and wood as a skeleton.

The exterior of the wall is mostly covered with grass and then burnt to enhance its firmness and water resistance. The site selection is generally on the terraces formed by long-term erosion on both sides of the river, or in the higher and flat places where the two rivers meet. The land here is fertile, which is conducive to agriculture and animal husbandry.

The layout of the settlement buildings is neat and orderly. The Banpo settlement is relatively well preserved. The residential area is in the center, surrounded by a large ditch, with a tomb area in the north and a kiln in the east. A total of more than 40 house relics have been revealed, one large house is a place for public activities, and dozens of other small and medium-sized houses face the large house, forming a half-moon-shaped layout.

After death, residents of Yangshao culture were buried according to certain burial customs. There were many rectangular earth pit tombs, pottery and other funerary objects in the tombs, and children were buried in urn coffins. Single-person upright burial is popular, but joint burials account for a certain proportion.

The number of people buried together varies, as many as 80 people. In the burial system, the thick burial of women and the combined burial of mother and child are implemented, which reflects the characteristics of women as the center. The uniform layout of the settlement houses facing the central square shows that the blood ties that maintained the unity of the clan were deeply rooted at that time. These are consistent with the characteristics of matrilineal clan social organization.

However, some scholars believe that Yangshao Culture shows people the social structure and cultural achievements from the decline of China’s matriarchal clan system to the early patrilineal society, which is mainly a patriarchal society [13]. The combined burials of men and women, the combined burials of men and children, and the large number of small housing sites indicate the increasing number and dominance of monogamous families; “ash pit burials” indicate the existence of non-free people (slaves).

Tao (stone) ancestors and male root figures, which embody the worship of male genitalia, as well as relics and relics that express the “feelings of the nobility”, are the reflections of patriarchal power and the rule of monarchs (hereditary chiefs) in the ideological field. Various signs show that the Central Plains began to enter the patriarchal clan society in the early Yangshao culture, and generally entered the patriarchal clan society in the middle period.

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