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Neolithic Era of China — Primitive Society and Mythical History

This epoch spans from the emergence of human beings to the establishment of the Xia Dynasty around 2070 BC by Yu the Great, who successfully led the people in defeating the Great Flood.


During this time, many primitive cultures were scattered in different places across China.


Gradually, they grew stronger, leading to numerous conflicts and merger wars. 

Red-crowned Crane Bone Made Flute, Peiligang Culture (About 7000 — 8000 Years Ago)

Red-crowned Crane Bone Made Flute, Peiligang Culture (About 7000 — 8000 Years Ago) — Henan Antique Archaeology Institute (Photo by Dongmaiying)

Some Important Cultures in the Neolithic China

Dawenkou Culture

Dawenkou was an era with the rise of Private Ownership and Patriarchy and the gradual collapse of the Matrilineal system.

  • Around 4500 BC — 2500 BC

  • Shandong Province, East of China.


  • Cultivation of Millet and Keeping of Livestock.

  • Advanced Pottery of Different Colors.

  • Wide use of Stone, Wood, Ivory, Jade, and Bone Tools.

Unearthed Artifacts of the Dawenkou Culture (Photo by Dongmaiying) 

Longshan Culture or Black Pottery Culture

Developed from the Dawenkou Culture, the Longshan Culture Entered the Bronze Age.

  • Around 2500 BC — 2000 BC

  • Shandong, Henan, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi Provinces, etc., the Middle Kingdom Era of China.


  • Thin Fetal Black Pottery and Jade Articles showed the advanced technology of Longshan Culture.

Unearthed Artifacts of the Longshan Culture (Photo by Dongmaiying) 

Hongshan Culture

Hongshan was an agricultural, Matrilineal culture with grand worship sites, altars, temples, and hierarchy.

  • Around 4000 BC — 3000 BC

  • Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, Hebei Provinces, North and Northeast of China.


  • Delicate jade articles had clear ceremonial uses and were widely used in tombs. 

Unearthed Artifacts of the Hongshan Culture (Photo by Dongmaiying)

Yangshao Culture

Yangshao was an ancient Matrilineal society that was made of village-scale clans. 

In later centuries of Yangshao Culture, the Matrilineal system declined, while hierarchy,  slavery, Private Ownership, and Patriarchal Commune appeared. 

  • Around 5000 BC — 3000 BC

  • Shaanxi, Shanxi, Henan, Hebei, Inner Mongolia, Gansu, Qinghai, Ningxia, Hubei Provinces, the Middle Kingdom Area of China.


  • Yangshao was a further developed agricultural culture that contained millet, rice, vegetables, and livestock cultivation, with hunting and fishing activities as supplements.

  • Painted Pottery was quite exquisite during this era. 

Unearthed Artifacts of the Yangshao Culture (Photo by Dongmaiying) 

Majiayao Culture

Developed from the Westward of the Yangshao Culture, the Majiayao Culture officially entered the Bronze Age.

  • Around 3300 BC — 2100 BC

  • Gansu, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Ningxia Provinces, Northwest of China.


  • Highly Developed Painted Pottery.

  • The earliest unearthed bronze knife in China was from the Majiayao Culture.