Archaeological Research for Supply and Demand of Cowry Shells in Ancient China
Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (B)
|Allocation Type||Single-year Grants |
|Research Institution||Kumamoto University |
KINOSHITA Naoko Kumamoto University, Faculty of Letters, Professor, 文学部, 教授 (70169910)
KOMOTO Masayuki Kumamoto University, Faculty of Letters, Professor, 文学部, 教授 (70072717)
KUROZUMI Taiji Tuba The Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba curator, 上席研究員 (80250140)
王 巍 中国社会科学院考古研究所, 副所長
|Project Period (FY)
2001 – 2004
Completed (Fiscal Year 2004)
|Budget Amount *help
¥11,100,000 (Direct Cost: ¥11,100,000)
Fiscal Year 2004: ¥1,900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,900,000)
Fiscal Year 2003: ¥2,000,000 (Direct Cost: ¥2,000,000)
Fiscal Year 2002: ¥3,800,000 (Direct Cost: ¥3,800,000)
Fiscal Year 2001: ¥3,400,000 (Direct Cost: ¥3,400,000)
|Keywords||cowry shell / In dynasty / An-yang / China / Ryukyu archipelago / Yellow river Valley / Taiwan / joint research / 新石器時代 / 流通 / 威信財 / マクラガイ / 青銅器文化 / 台湾海峡 / シャンクガイ / 搬入ルート / 流入ルート / 中国東南沿岸 / 殷墟 / 青海省|
Cowry shells, Family Cypraeidae, are used as prestige or money in ancient China. A great number of cowry shells are found in the archaeological sites which belong to the age of 2300BC to 400BC along Yellow river valley, although cowry shells mostly live in the tropical and the Temperate zone, far from Yellow river area.
The purpose of this study is to investigate from where cowry shells came, and understand the route and area trough which the shells were brought, and based on these results discuss the relation between China and the Ryukyu archipelago where many cowry shells subsist.
In these four years we surveyed 21993 shells from 183 tombs and ritual remains of 32sites, and made unified style records for every specimen. Following are our results :
1.The shells found in north China along Yellow river valley composed from 67speaseas of 18 families of 2classes, and above 90% of them are cowries.
2.In 11142shells found in An-yang, the capital city of In dynasty, 76%shells inhabit in present Taiwan, South China Sea and Ryukyu archipelago, 18% live in South China Sea and East China Sea.
3.Depending on the composition of the shells in An-yang, it is hard to notice that many shells are from Indian Ocean.
4.It is very possible that cowry shells along Yellow river valley were gathered at the coast of the south-east China belonging Taiwan.
5.In Shandong peninsula there is an An-yang type site which also has a large number of cowry shells. Based on some archaeological evidences it is very possible that the people in Shandong peninsula played an important role in bringing shells from south to west, to An-yang.
6.Just at the time when cowries are very popular in An-yang and north China, Chinese jade industry appeared in Taiwan and Ryukyu. It might be possible that people go to Taiwan and to Ryukyu for searching more cowries.
Report (5 results)
Research Products (28 results)