Category Archives: China

The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin N:o 15 & 19

Today I got a couple books I ordered; The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin N ° 15 & 19. We have studied these books several times during our study on the Yangshao traditions and Johan Gunnar Andersson’s work in China but not felt the need to own them – until now. In connection with our current study of parts of the collections at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities in Stockholm was also a need to precisely identify the specific sites and Johan Gunnar Andersson description of the digs and finds, and in these books are in many ways keys to this. The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin N ° 15, issued in 1943 (reprinted in 1971) subtitled Research’s into the prehistory of the Chinese concerns finds from Yangshao and several other sites in Henan, Gansu and Shanxi and N: O 19 contains Prehistoric Sites in Honan by J.G. Andersson. A first problem is to transliterate the names of the settlements from the Wade-Giles transliteration (a method to transliterate Chinese into the Latin alphabet that was developed by Englishman Thomas Wade in the 1800s), used by Johan Gunnar Andersson to Pinyin which is more often used today.

More information on the Yangshao project is available at the project blog.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Some 17th and 18th century copperplate engravings

Once again in Jonkoping and once again finding myself on a shopping spree. This weekend I’m visiting my parents before going on a job in the southwest of Sweden. And as luck has it I picked up some 17th and 18th century copperplate engravings and prints, if coloured they’re hand coloured.

These two lovely copperplate engravings by Briot, 1672 or 1676, from Histoire de L’Etat Present de L’Empire Ottoman.

To the right, “Vin Spahis”(Tome 2, Fol. 33). Spahi or Kapu Kuli was one of the finest horsemen of the six corps of the Ottoman and later Turkish army. To the left Le Ianisar Agasi, General des Ianissaires (Tome 2 Fol. 45). The Ianissaires where one of the greatest strengths of the Ottoman (and Turkish?) armed forces.

A black and white copperplate engraving of the Chinese wall, in the background is the city Xogon Koton (not sure of its current name or the Pinyin transcription).

The Embassadors entry through the famous Chinese Wall. Near 1200 miles in length from John Harris’s Navigantium atque Itinerantium Bibliotheca or A Complete Collection of Voyages and Travels 1748.

The next engraveing is also on a Chinese view of the Porcelain tower of Nanjing or Bao’ensi.

Prospect of the Porcelane tower at Nan King in China (Sparrow sculp), ca 1790.

The last one with a Chinese motive is named the procession at a Chinese funeral (vol II pag.217) from The general history of China : containing a geographical, historical chronological, political and physical description of the Empire of China, Chinese-Tartary, Corea and Thibet including an exact and particular account of their customs, manners, cermonies, religion, arts and sciences by Jean Baptiste du Halde 1739. (volume the second, The Second edition Corrected)

I also bought a map of the north part of Scandinavia; the Norwegian coast Sweden from Medelpad, the north part of Finland, the north west of Russia. On the map Laponie Suedoise is especially marked. The map is named Carte des courones du Nord, dédiée au tres-puissantet et trees-invincible prince Charles XII roy de Suede des Gots et des Vandales, grand duc dr finlandie &c, &c, &c. Par son tres humble et tres obeissant serviteur Guillaume De l’Isle de l’Academie Rle. des Sciences, 1706. A Paris, chez l’Auteur sur le Quai de l’Orloge a avec Privilege du Roy. Grave par Liebaux le fils.  The map was made by Guillaume de Lisle (1675-1726), this map is printed in Paris 1780.

Magnus Reuterdahl

The Yangshao project year 6

The Yangshao project is the baby of me and fellow archaeologist Johan Klange. We been at  it since 2003 and during the process managed to go to China for two field trips, in 2006 and 2007, more on that here. Last year we had hoped to return and participate in an excavation at a Yangshao site, sad to say it didn’t happen as the intended dig was postponed.

painted pottery motive

Now it’s a new year and we started up again, we hope to go to China either as participants in an excavation at a Yangshao site or on a field trip. I’ll get back to the matter as I (we) know more.

painted pottery Banpo

What I do know is that I am meeting with Mr Giuliano Arnaldi super superintendent/curator of Tribaleglobale, Italy, this weekend in Stockholm. It shall be interesting as I am not 100 % sure of what they expect from us, though I’ve understood that Tribaleglobale is a form of art laboratory that do exhibits that mixes art from different periods and places. In this case the project is called “Neolitico Futuro” and it aims at, if I have understood it correctly, to bring together painted pottery from the Chinese Yangshao culture and Egyptian Naqada culture and modern art. For this they are interested to create a platform or build a network of archaeologists, artists, linguists etc.

More about Tribaleglobale and “Neolitico Futuro” can be found here.

Magnus Reuterdahl

I’ve got post

I’ve been in meetings all day. When I returned to my office I got a pleasant package in the mail, Fornvännen 2008/4.

Fornvännen is Sweden’s oldest (1906-), largest and most important journal of prehistory and Medieval studies, and publishes Scandinavia’s largest reviews section in the field. In this issue I’ve got a review published;

Kaliff, A. (ed) 2007.  Archaeology in the east and the west. Papers presented at the Sino-Sweden Archaeology forum, Beijing, in September 2005. p 297-299.

Magnus Reuterdahl

Two books on very different subjects

As I wrote I’ve gotten two new books, as far as I know they’re only available in Swedish. The first is written by Jan Agertz and Adel Vestbo-Franzén at Jonkoping County museum and called Visingsös bebyggelse och landskap i äldre lantmäterikartor och 1500-talets handlingar which translates to the Settlements and landscape of the island Visingsö as recorded in older surveying maps and the 16th century public and legal documents.


The island Visingsö is very interesting from archaeological and historical aspects as very little of the infrastructure have changed since the end 16th century. The place names are the same, a lot of the prehistoric and historic landscape has been preserved ’til today.

A nice and interesting publication that I as yet only have gazed through and I think that I have to rethink some previous ideas that I had. I’ll come back to it as I’ve read it more through fully; there are a few question marks that I’ve scribbled in the marginal.

The book is available through the Jonkoping County museum.  

Another book I’ve been waiting on is Perry Johansson’s Sinofilerna – Kinakunskap och politik från Sven Hedin till Jan Myrdal which translates to The Sinofilerna – Knowledge, collecting and politics – from Sven Hedin to Jan Myrdal. As I understand this is a critical study of the Swedish explorers, scientists etc that has worked in China or with Chinese materials during the 20th century. Johan Gunnar Andersson, Bernhard Karlgren, Sven Hedin and Jan Myrdal have gotten a chapter of critique each. I’ve heard both good and bad about this book so I’ll try to read it with open eyes. For me personally the chapter concerning Johan Gunnar Andersson, who among other things identified the Yangshao culture, is perhaps the most interesting. As I’ve scimmed the pages I’ve noticed a few parts where I think that I have a diffrent poisition or perception than the author, but I’ll hold these thoughts to myself for now.


I’ll come back to this book as soon as possible.


Magnus Reuterdahl

New header and profile: City wall of Xi’an

I made an update of the profile and the header last night, on the picture is a part of the city wall of Xi’an, in Shaanxi. It is one of the most complete city walls that has survived in China. It was build by the first emperor of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) Zhu Yuanzhang (emperor between 1370-1378 AD).The wall is ca 12 meters tall, 12-14 meters wide at the top and 15-18 meters thick at the bottom and is ca 13.7 kilometers in length, surrounding it is a deep moat. Every 120 meters there is a rampart which extends out from the main wall, in total there are 98 ramparts on the wall. The wall is a Unesco World Heritage since 1996.

This picture was taken as I visited Xi’an in 2006 together with Johan Klange on one our travels with the Yangshao project. I’ll add a few more pictures when I return to Stockholm by the end of the week.

Magnus Reuterdahl

One week ‘til Christmas

Christmas is closing in and with that a few weeks of relaxation. I’ll be spending the holidays with my parents in Jönköping this year. To make sure the walls won’t be closing in to tight I brought my share of books to keep my occupied. As usual these last year the list constitutes fact oriented books. This year the theme will be effects on and the detritions and conservation of archaeological materials.Påverkan på arkeologiskt material i jord (The effects of soil on archaeological artifacts) – Anders G. Nord and Agneta Lagerlöf 2002.

Nedbrytning av arkeologiskt material i jord (Deterioration of archaeological material in soil) – Gunnel Friberg  [Ed.] 1994.

Bevarande av arkeologiskt järn efter utgrävning (Conservation of archaeological iron after an excavation) – Gunnel Friberg [Ed.] 1996.

Deterioration of archaeological material in soil- Results on bronze artifacts – Gunnel Friberg [Ed.] 1996.

I will also be reading a new book on Chinese and Swedish archaeology; Archaeology in the East and the West: Papers presented at the Sino-Sweden Archaeology Forum, Beijing in September 2005 edited by Anders Kaliff.


More info of the forum can be found on CASS webpage.


Magnus Reuterdahl

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