In the news: The emergence of the horse chariot and the horse cult in the Caucasus and in China

 According to scholars and experts, contact with the Andronovo culture is responsible for the emergence of the horse chariot and the horse cult in Central Asia and China around the 2nd millenium BC.

“During the 15th and 14th centuries BC, chariots appeared in the Trans-Caucasus where Bronze models of the Eastern type have been discovered (Pogrebova) … The horse as well as the chariot came into the southern part of Central Asia from the Urals in the beginning of the 2nd millenium BC which is uncontrovertibly documented by the finds in Zardcha-Halifa and Dzarkutan of cheek-pieces of a specific type which have also been found in Sintashta, Kamenny Ambar and Krivo Ozero. Probably the same is valid for the emergence of the horse in the BMAC indicated by the decapitated foal and the horses in the cemetery of Gonur and of a horse in the settlement of Dashly 19 and of the images of horses (or their heads) on the ceremonial bronze axes from the early 2nd millenium BC and from the Mahboubian collection.

The horse-drawn chariot spread to China during the second half of 2nd millenium BC with the Andronovan tribes. This assertion is supported by the find of a bronze bit with cheek-pieces with projections going back to the earliest Andronovan prototypes. This has been found in the cemetery of Nanshangen, grave I, dating from the end of the 2nd millenium BC by the objects of Siberian type.” — The origin of the Indo-Iranians by Elena E. Kuz’mina, Elena Efimovna Kuzʹmina, J. P. Mallory

Shang dynasty armies used chariots around 1700 B.C. and more details are to be had on the chariot and horse cult in Zhou dynasty China, the successor to the Shang dynasty from the Daily Mail article below:

Remains of horses and chariots unearthed from tomb dating back to 3,000-year-old Chinese dynasty

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

2nd September 2011

It could have been as early as 700 years before the birth of Jesus Christ that these horses were moved on to greener pastures – and no one has laid eyes on them until now.

Archaeologists have painstakingly uncovered the almost 3,000-year-old remains of horses and wooden chariots in a Zhou Dynasty tomb in Luoyang, Henan Province, China.

The completed excavation unearthed four horse-and-chariot pits, dating back as far as 770BC.

Watering the horses: A staff member sprays water to maintain the humidity of an ancient horse and chariot pit unearthed in Luoyang, China. The main pit has a five chariots and 12 horses buring almost 3,000 years agoWatering the horses: A staff member sprays water to maintain the humidity of one of the horse and chariot pits unearthed in Luoyang, China. The main pit has five chariots and 12 horses buried almost 3,000 years ago
Exciting find: Archaeologists say this is the most complete find of any tomb of its era. The wooden chariots have completely rotted away, with only the ash residue remainingAstonishing find: Archaeologists say this is the most complete find of any tomb of its era. The wooden chariots have completely rotted away, with only the ash residue remaining
Funeral procession: The main pit contains five chariots and 12 horses. Archaeologists say that the animals were not entombed alive Funeral procession: The main pit contains five chariots and 12 horses. Archaeologists say that the animals were not entombed alive

The pits have well-preserved evidence of bronzeware and ceramics from the Early Western Zhou dynasty.

Though a far smaller tomb than the famous ‘terracotta army’ found in 1974 in the Lintong District, this find has been undisturbed while buried and has not suffered the ravages of grave robbers.

Archaeologists believe that the tomb belongs to an official of some renown during the dynasty – pottery, metal weaponry and inscriptions are consistent with a man of mid-level importance.

Apart from the artifacts themselves, the tomb is an exciting discovery for historians, as it provides unquestionable insights into funeral customs in the early Western Zhou dynasty.

The unearthed tomb is a vertical earthen pit tomb, which is very common in that period.

Because of the age of the site, the traditionally wooden coffin and body within have long-since carbonised.

But the most valuable discovery by far is the complete set of chariots and horses, of all  shapes and sizes.

Animal lovers can breathe a small sigh of relief – archaeologists say the position of the horses, lying on their sides, show that the animals were slaughtered before burial, and not entombed alive.

At the time of this official”s death, large-scale irrigation projects were being instituted across China, and the nation’s writing system was being further developed.

It was also the time of the great Chinese philosophers of antiquity, including Confucius, Mencius, and Zhuangzi.

Many nearby tombs have fragments similar to the Luoyang find, but most have been emptied of their funeral relics by thieves.

Protected from theft: While other tombs in the region have been stripped of their contents, the Luoyang tomb includes pottery, copper weaponry, jade and other objectsIntact: While other tombs in the region have been stripped of their contents, the Luoyang tomb includes pottery, copper weaponry, jade and other objects
Historical riches: Apart from the physical objects uncovered in the tomb, historians now have a richer understanding of funeral rites and customs of the Zhou dynastyHistorical riches: Apart from the physical objects uncovered in the tomb, historians now have a richer understanding of funeral rites and customs of the Zhou dynasty

Source: Dailymail.co.uk

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