Daxi Culture Heritage Site

Located in the southern part of Qutang Gorge in Wushan County, the Daxi Culture Heritage Site can be found in the territory of Daxi Village. The 750 square meters (about 897 sq yd) site, rich in soil and endowed with natural beauty, is an ideal place to visit. As one of the birthplaces of the Yangtze River’s ancient civilization, this site has important relics from the Matriarchal Clan Society during the Neolithic Age.

Daxi Culture, lasting from 4400 BC to 3300 BC, consists of the Daxi Heritage Site and over ten sites in Hunan and Hubei Provinces. It is divided into two periods: the flourishing period of the Matriarchal Clan Society and the emerging period of the Patrilineal Clan Society. The major pottery of Daxi Culture is colored red and decorated with black lines. These wares are made into various shapes, such as kettles, pots, jars, basins, bowls and bottles. According to the unearthed wares, Daxi Culture emphasizes rice planting and stock raising. Relics of cows, sheep, dogs and other animals, as well as spears, nets and some fishing tools, are also among them. Similar relics have also been found in a section of Xiling Gorge. They all belong to the Daxi Culture. 

Discovery Periods

From 1959 to 1975, the Daxi Culture Heritage Site was excavated three times, covering a total area of 570 square meters (about 682 sq yd). As a result, 208 tombs were found and over 1,250 cultural relics were unearthed. Among the relics excavated from the site, pottery, stone wares, bone objects and jade artifacts can be found. As the site differs in soil composition, pottery type and burial methods, it is divided into two layers. The upper layer is regarded as the late period of Daxi Culture and the lower layer is considered the early period of the culture.

Among these relics, stone axes, adzes, pestles and reaphooks, bone needles and net plummets are major tools. As for the pottery, theey are red, black and grey, in the shapes of beans, bowls, jars, bottles and other items. The decorations, which are mostly made of jade, stones, bones, ivory and animal teeth, include ear ornaments, necklaces and arm ornaments. Moreover, some relief artworks made of stone have been unearthed.

During the Neolithic Age, dead people were usually buried facing south in the public graveyard. Most tombs of the Daxi Culture Heritage Site have funerary objects, including stone and ivory brackets. According to the statistics, there are generally more funerary objects in women’s tombs than in men’s. Fish and dogs are also among the funerary objects.

In May 2007, the site was first discovered in the southeast area of Chongqing. The site covers an area of 1,125 square meters (about 1,345 sq yd). It was at that time that the typical double-body tombs together with some valuable relics were unearthed. The tombs were in the shape of a rectangle, with one body buried sideways and the other on his or her back. The site not only provides new materials for Daxi culture research and spread, but also helps to better understand the Matriarchal Clan Society. 

During March to May 2008, a large number of Daxi cultural relics were unearthed. 45 tombs of the Han Dynasty (25-220), Warring States Period, Six States Period, Three Kingdoms Periods (220-280), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) are among the relics. Another 60 pieces of pottery, iron wares, ancient coins and other objects, as well as the 45 tombs, cover an unearthed area of 3,000 square meters (about 3,588 sq yd). The most valuable relics are an Melon-edge Pot of the Tang Dynasty and a Blue and White Porcelain Bowl of the Ming Dynasty. Several unearthed relics are presented as follows:

Double-body Tomb

The double-body tomb has a history of 2,000 years. It is 5.7 meters (about 18.8 ft) long, 2.2 meters (about 7.2 ft) wide and 2.2 meters (about 7.2 ft) high. The tomb is constructed with 1,000 bluestones to a vaulted shape, including three parts: tomb gate, corridor and grave. A duplicate of the tomb has been built in Kangbei Yard near the Daxi Village for further research.

General Tomb

The large tomb of Kuang Mingding was destroyed during the Cultural Revolution, thus many delicate carvings are in ruins. The only tombstone left, erected during the years of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing Dynasty, is well preserved. Beside the tomb is the grave of Kuang Xiangyuan, the grandson of General Kuang Mingding. Kuang Mingding was a general in the Ming Dynasty. After the Qing Dynasty took over the throne, he lived in seclusion.   

Cao Family Old House

The house in Hui style is a typical building of the Qing Dyansty. Colored drawings and patterns on the gate are very nice. Going through the gate, you will see a patio. On the slate of the patio is a footprint. It is said that the house was completely made of wood, apart from the gate. As Lu Ban heard that, he stamped to show his appreciation, leaving a footprint. There are 12 rooms in total, including the guest rooms, bed rooms, kitchens and toilets. Nowadays, only 11 rooms are well preserved.