戎人

October 22nd, 2008

It’s a very short piece, but it comes with a cool photo, on 京报网, about an archaeological dig in Gansu uncovering a very rare tomb and artefacts of a very high research value. Only trouble is I’m not coming across any easy answers as to who these “戎人” (róngrén) were. Of course, I’m familiar with the character 戎 in a Yanqing context and have come across it elsewhere, but still…. Oh, wait, Wikipedia to the rescue: 戎 refers to the people living west of Zhou in modern Shaanxi, Ningxia and Gansu. 戎 also refers to an ancient dialect of that area, too. Yeah, and that kinda seems to clarify-ish the article, but what about that link above to a Yanqing context? I mean, this article refers to Wen Ding (文丁), king of the Shang Dynasty, sending his vassal to attack the 戎 at Yanjing, but being defeated. Yanjing would be modern Beijing, would it not? And surely that would make the 戎 in question the 山戎 of Yanqing infamy? Well, perhaps Baidu Baike provides a little dose of sanity with its 西戎 article:

西戎的称谓最早来自于周代,周人自称“华夏”,便把华夏周围四方的人,分别称为东夷南蛮、西戎、北狄,以区别华夏,在周人兴起时,西戎仍是在陇济及泾洛一带游牧的鬼戎,其实也是许多部落的总名,并且在不同时期有不同的名称。

Or to sum up, Xirong (西戎) first appears in the Zhou Dynasty. Zhou called itself ‘Huaxia’ and divided the barbarians around it according to the four points of the compass: Dong (eastern) Yi, Nan (southern) Man, Xi (western) Rong and Bei (northern) Di. Yes, the Dong, Nan, Xi and Bei do all mean East, South, West and North. Now, the locations and activities of the Rong as Zhou was rising I don’t really get, but it seems to place them in the northwest, more or less where wikipedia says they were, and they seem to have been rather nomadic. But it’s that last clause that seems most appropriate: The name may well have been used by several different tribes in several different times and places.

In other words, I still have no idea whose tombs this article says were being dug up. But, hey, the picture’s cool:

cool picture

Oh dear, is the picture actually in this post, or do you have to follow the link? Ah, whatever. Anyways, they’ve uncovered gold, silver, bronze and tin decorations which I believe are for chariots, and they’ve decided that they’ve uncovered a very rare tomb of a Rong leader or aristocrat, and that this is of a high value for research.

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