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06 July 2023

An Extremely Long Span of the Sun-Earth Pattern in the History of China

Chinese people believe that they are descendants of the prehistory Emperors Yan and Huang, while Yan (hot/red) and Huang (yellow) are the colors of the sun and earth. In the Dahecun style of Yangshao Culture archaeological culture of the legendary Yan and Huang’s period, the patterns of the sun and earth were frequently painted on the religious potteries, implying that the paired symbols might refer to the two emperors. However, the same paired pattern appeared in Shangshan Culture much earlier than Yangshao, indicating that the worship of Sun-Earth might have a quite long history prior to the two emperors. The pattern was inherited in the populations of China till today. The Jade Bi-Cong group of late Neolithic and early Bronze Age China also showed the same meanings and shapes. We found that the Sun-Earth pattern was quite common on the traditional brocade belts woven in the countryside around Shanghai. The origin of the sun shape was easy to understand, while that of the earth shape, a cross with or without an outline square, was hard to trace. Recent archaeological discovery in Shangshan Culture of a kind of yellow pyramid stone provided a new clue to the origin of earth symbol.

Keywords: Sun-Earth pattern; Shangshan culture; Yangshao culture; Acupuncture needle; Brocade belt