Humanity Yanqing,Millenium Guichuan

  • offcial website of Beijing Expo 2019 2016-06-01 10:45:03

Yanqing has a long history and rich culture: the battlefield of Banquan carries the immemorial memory of Yanhuang Culture; the remains of Tombs for Minority Shanrong witness the boldness and bravery of the northern nomadic people; the running Guihe River flows from the spiritual source of civilization in the Central Plains; the mystery of Guyaju inspires our reflection and reverence to history and nature; the ancient post roads echo lingering sounds of horse ringing; flames of Pingbei Battle of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression warns us to keep national calamity in mind; Badaling Great Wall, wonder of the world, adds elements for the historical and cultural connotation in Yanqing…The development of Yanqing continues with the past and opens up the future. Nowadays, following the development strategy of ecological civilization and the target of constructing Green Beijing Demonstration Area, the millennium Guichuan with antiquity and modern atmosphere, beautiful Yanqing, full of cultural humanities, forges ahead with vigor and vitality, showing intoxicating charm and boldness of vision.

Travelling through boundless and indistinct Yulin with 30 li of desolation, Bazaars suddenly occur with crowing, barking and people bustling about.

Naming Guichuan for Guihe River following through,

Sceneries intoxicate me the most by outshining others.

—(Yuan Dynasty) Guichuan by Chen Fu

Immemorial Memory of Cultural Remains (Part One)

Battlefield of Banquan

The Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor are generally recognized as the ancestors by the Chinese. “The Yellow Emperor endeavors for moral cultivation and military power, researches on the change discipline of solar terms, plants five kinds of crops, pacifies the public, measures all lands and trains wild animals such as bear, brown bear, mythical wild animals of Pi, Xiu and Chu, as well as tiger. The Era of The Yellow Emperor shines with outstanding historical and cultural innovation of the Chinese nation, and leaves an indelible historical mark in the area of Yanqing, definitely making the local people proud of such profound relics.

According to historical records, Battle of Banquan between the Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor took place in Yanqing. Mount Haituo, the highest peak in north Beijing, is located in Zhangshanying Town of Yanqing, in front of which stands Mount Ban, in the shape of chair. Originating from the south of Mount Ban, Ban Spring flows south into the Cai River. The Guichuan Plains faces Mount Ban, with a large number of springs flowing in all directions towards Guihe River, forming a vast wilderness referring to the “Battlefield of Banquan”. As Annals of Longqing during the Period of Jiajing in Ming Dynasty records, “Mount Ban, fifteen li away from the north of the central county, is where Battlefield of Banquan between the Yellow Emperor and Yan Emperor occurred, with Ban Spring flowing underneath.”

The tribe where the Yellow Emperor is in is surnamed Ji, with alternative names of Xuanyuan, Youxiong and Jinyun, emigrated eastward from the birthplace, today’s northern Shaanxi Province, crossing the Yellow River, gradually to Zhuolu County, Hebei province. In the process of migration to the north, their production modes had developed from picking and gathering, fishing and hunting to primitive agriculture and animal husbandry. The tribe where Yan Emperor is in is surnamed Jiang, with alternative names of Shennong, with the birthplace around in the east of Qishan County, Shaanxi Province. They emigrated eastward along the Weihe River and the Yellow River to arrive at Shandong Province. As the tribe of Yellow Emperor moved northward along the Taihang Mountain to the areas of Zhuolu, the tribe of Yan Emperor was marching northward crossing the Yellow River, and entered the Guihe River Basin after mounting over Jundu Mountain. A tribal war broke out in the battlefield of Banquan. As Shih Chi·Yellow Emperor records, “The Yellow Emperor endeavors for moral cultivation and military power… and defeats Yan Emperor in the battlefield of Banquan after three rounds, achieving his ambition.” The Banquan Battle was conducted at the foot of Mount Ban. Due to the tight organization, advanced weapons and appropriate strategy for disintegration of enemy, the forces led by the Yellow Emperor won the Battle after numerous attacks in the wilderness. From then on, the two tribes have integrated, gradually forming the earliest Chinese nation, which is why the Chinese call themselves as descendants of the Yan and Huang Emperors.

There are many villages near today’s Banquan, of which Shangbanquan Village and Xiabanquan Village are closest to the ancient Banquan, with Haituo in the north, Guanting in the west, Longqingxia in the east. With mountains ups and downs in the north and trees at the front of Shangbanquan Village, the Monument of Yan-Huang Battle of Banquan was set up in the south of the village in 1999, as a memorial for the Chinese nation worshiping ancestors.

Shanrong Tribe

During 400-500 years from the late Western Zhou Dynasty to the Spring and Autumn Period, there lived Shanrong Tribe in Yanqing. As an ancient tribe in China 2,500 to 3,000 years ago, its members farmed and hunted for a living, emigrating for waters and grasslands, without fixed residence. Good at fighting on horseback, they often invaded border regions of State Yan and State Qi for plundering. For this reason, they were regarded as border calamity for the two States generation by generation.

As Shih Chi records, in the 23rd year under the reign of Duke Huan of Qi (B.C. 663) when Shanrong Tribe invaded the State Yan, Duke Huan of Qi led the troops of Qi marching northward for help at the request of State Yan. After passing Guzhu (now Zunhua County in Hebei), they moved westward through dangerous and rugged paths to the furthest west of Taihang Mountain, giving a devastating blow to the Shanrong Tribe. The story has also been kept in the land of Guichuan. After the attack, the Shanrong Tribe gradually declined. After the Spring and Autumn Period, as the States such as Yan and Qi entered the Age of Iron Civilization, the Shanrong Tribe still in the use of bronze weapons were less competitive. In the late Warring States Period, the Tribe disappeared from this region.

In the 1980s, more than 10 sites of ancient Shanrong relics were found in Yanqing, as a significant progress of tracing the tribe vanishing for over 2,300 years, which would gradually unveil the mysteries of this ancient tribe. As more than 600 tombs were excavated, about 60,000 pieces of cultural relics with unique cultural characteristics of the Shanrong Tribe, made of gold, copper, pottery, jade, stone, bone, clam shell of variety, were presented in front of the public. The Relics Site in the Jade Emperor Temple of Zhangshanying was excavated, with densely arranged tombs against mountains, mostly in the east-west direction, where there were large-scale tombs of tribal chiefs in high status. From the burial system and funerary objects, all of them are rectangular single tombs with vertical pit, together with common sacrifices, mostly composed of dogs, sometimes of sheep, cattle, or horses. The deceased in high status are buried with wooden outer coffin. In terms of adornment, no matter the male and female, old and young, all wear necklaces and spiral copper earrings. Some people add bronze medal with animal patterns below the neck, while chiefs wear gold earrings and gold medals. Most of the deceased are covered with linen cloth, with brass buckle upon it, with the intention to cover the soul for making the deceased rest in peace, according to the records of ethnographic materials. The male deceased wear bronze poniard with straight blade by waist, with bronze harness added to those of high status. The female deceased wear copper awl and copper needle. There are large-sized bronze vessels unearthed from the large-scale graves in the Jade Emperor Temple, of which the bronze kettle covered with chimney spots is most characteristic with northern nomadic ethnic features, as the earliest copper hot pot discovered in China for the first time by far. The burial system and funerary objects show the characteristics of ethnic minorities with inherent customs of nomadism.

The excavation of Shanrong tombs proves that Yanqing was an area with ethnic cohabitation and cultural integration, from the Western Zhou Dynasty to the Spring and Autumn Period, where there were abundant water resources and dense vegetation, as an ideal place for graze and hunting. People of all ethnic groups live together for a long time, promoting the process of ethnic integration.