Reflections of Early China is a comprehensive study that presents a historical, archaeological, and theoretical exploration of pictographs and decorations on ancient Chinese bronzes. In it, Xiaoneng Yang challenges the "clan sign" theory and offers new interpretations of the functions and meanings of bronze decor and pictographs in light of archaeological data and social settings. Yang also introduces the new discovery of an unidentified medium that he calls "pictorial inscriptions" that is located in the gray zone between writing and decoration. Further, Yang discusses the sources, contexts, and correlations among the three medium. Yang concludes that the three mediums were derived from various cultures in prehistoric China. Their evolution was closely associated with social, cultural, political, religious, and ritual development. In early Bronze Age China, the three mediums played distinct roles and performed different functions. They are reflections of the formation of Chinese civilation.Reflections of Early China integrates the pictographic inscriptions of Shang and early Western Zhou (2nd millennia BC) with all of our current knowledge of the archaeology, society, and religion that time.
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