Category Archives: Yangshao

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

Returning from London and the meeting with MAP

The Yangshao project (me and my associate Johan Klange) went to London on Thursday and returned late last night for a conference with MAP (Museo Arti Primarie aka. the Museum of Primary Arts) at the British museum. The trip to London went well, the weather was fine and the sun was shining most of the time so we walked a lot and enjoyed the London spring. It was a bit hard to return to ca – 5º c and several dm of snow.

While walking about we visited the V & A (Victorian & Albert) museum, Natural History Museum and managed to get a quick look at some of the exhibits at British Museum.

Natural History Museum

British Museum

On Friday afternoon we enjoyed the conference or rather the art performances of – and press conference about MAP. Afterwards we had a constructive meeting discussing the different painted pottery traditions that often are clustered as the Yangshao culture and discussing the future, more about that in a later post. They also did an interview with us on camera that will be available on their webpage sometime in the future.

Giuliano Arnaldi at the MAP conference

Well, home again and now begins the work of putting something together for the next step for the project a meeting in Savona, Italy, with MAP where we’ll hold a short seminar/lecture on the Yangshao period.

Painted  pottery at V & A

Best wishes

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

I am on my way (home) to Stockholm

It is time to return to Stockholm after another period in Växjö, this time c. 4 months. The project time has out and I have emptied and cleaned out my office. Now all I can to is to send applications and wait and see what or if any other projects opens up, in Växjö or otherwise.

There are possiblities as well, now I finally will have time to visit the Museum of National Antiquities new exhibit; Prehistories part 2 (Forntider del 2), work on a couple af articles and do some work on the Yangshao project.

I leave Växjö with this picture in mind, a beautiful grave filed in Nöbbele parish, RAÄ 3:1. In the foreground a triangular unfilled stone setting. The graves are hooked into each other like the tarand graves.

grave field

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

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