Faces (and breasts) of Ancient China

These are just some of the prehistoric artifacts currently for sale on Ebay that China has decided aren’t important enough to keep in any museum. Though the Han Chinese are the largest ethnic group in the world, composing 92% of the population of mainland China today, this was not always the case in the past. It may be part of the reason that China is not keeping such artifacts. Early people in China had many different pasts, from links to Polynesia and Aboriginal Australians, to Caucasian people from northern deserts close to Tajikistan (and other “Stans”), a migration route from the west that would later became part of the silk road flowing from the east.

These crystal women dates back to the days of the Hongshan people and may have been taken directly from The Goddess Temple  (Niuheliang Neolithic archaeological site) by Chinese official excavations, only to be sold off on Ebay without provenance. Though there is something to be said about artistic license, I’m not sure that the enlarged breasts or what appear to be African features like corn rows for hair are just from the imagination or fantasy on the woman above.

Her “sister” here looks much more asiatic in features with smaller breasts and hair that would be appropriate symbolically for dark and straight hair.

Meanwhile this woman looks much more like the characters from the Sanxingdui culture, who often have these exaggerated eyes, pointed ears and more angular features. Because of the enlarged proportions of the ears and eyes, I would also assume this person isn’t Asian per-se but perhaps more Indian or Sri Lankan in origin.

The bottom line here is that China, though extremely isolated and prejudice even towards others, originally started out extremely diverse. These may have also been great travelers within their lifetimes contributing to the genetic diversity of the population.

Also since these early “Chinese” were not in fact Chinese, it may be that the Chinese are taking credit for inventions that really aren’t theirs to begin with, and part of the reason they may be up for sale at such a reduced price is because of this fact. They are a proud people of their past still and to say that some “foreigner” taught them everything they know is an affront to their identity and character as a nation.  It is also easier to part with something that isn’t really yours to begin with as well.

But really, we should celebrate diversity and take great heart in knowing that the world’s oldest culture may have been a melting pot of all kinds of people and thoughts that came together, and really that is what made it great.


Y Chromosome analysis of prehistoric human populations in the West Liao River Valley, Northeast China, BMC Evolutionary Biology Article, 2013

Is Chinese civilisation older than we thought? ‘Self-contained’ Hongshan people that lived 2,400 years before the first dynasty lived ACROSS China, Dailymail.com, 2015

More Hongshan Culture artifacts on Ebay and about their robbery by the Chinese government

Hongshan Culture on Wikipedia

More about Goddess Temple on Ancient Origins

Sanxingdui on Wikipedia

Han Chinese on Wikipedia

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