Xia Dynasty floating in historical legends and logical reality

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Does the Xia Dynasty exist? This is a problem that historians and archaeologists have been arguing about for a long time. However, the fact is that in 2070 BC, Dayu, the last beneficiary of the abdication system and the hero of flood control, established the first dynasty in Chinese history, the Xia Dynasty. His son Qi killed Boyi (the successor of Dayu who was elected by the abdication system) and his son inherited his father’s business to start the hereditary system of the throne. Xia survived for more than 400 years. In 1600 AD, Xia Jie, the last king, was destroyed by Shang Chengtang.

Basic factual records can be found in the inscriptions of the bookofsongs, Shangshu and ancient cultural relics, such as Qi Houzhong and Qin Gongzhen at the end of the spring and Autumn period and Sui Gongli s in the middle of the Western Zhou Dynasty. In particular, Sui Gongli s has the inscription “the fate of Yu Fushi, Sui (falling) mountains and rivers”. Sima Qian, a historian of the Western Han Dynasty, recorded the lineage and many events of the Xia Dynasty in his rigorous historical records. While the detailed starting date of the Xia Dynasty (2070 B.C. \8212 B.C.; 1601 B.C.) is still hung with the uncertain time attribute of “about”, it is also recognized by the dating project of Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties in China. Therefore, it may be said that the basic view of the academic community is to recognize the existence of the Xia Dynasty.

I think so. The dawn of early human civilization, based on the barriers of the ignorant era, is always dark. In the absence of written records, word of mouth is the most authentic way of historical inheritance in the embryonic era of human civilization. Since it is spread by word of mouth, of course, there will be many errors with the passage of time. Coupled with the early human understanding of the changes in nature, it is normal for these legends to be shrouded in mystery and mythology. Not only China, the nations in every corner of the earth have ancient myths and legends. The universality of civilization and the connection of historical legends prove the fact that the core of ancient myths actually contains the core of human civilization. In other words, even if there is no verifiable archaeological evidence and written materials, the existence of the Xia Dynasty is logically true.

It is worth mentioning that from the cultural sites found in Yangshao, Longshan, Erlitou, Erligang and other modern archaeology, it can be concluded that the artifacts unearthed have already had considerable social and political attributes. Unfortunately, the most disturbing thing about these cultural sites is the lack of text inheritance that modern people can interpret and confirm. At most, they just find some simple symbols similar to words. This period is equivalent to covering the legendary three emperors and five emperors and the Xia Dynasty. According to this logic, it should be affirmed that not only the Xia Dynasty is a historical fact, but also the legends of the three emperors and five emperors are by no means fabricated by the ancients.

What is more convincing is that the discovery of oracle bone inscriptions during the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty confirmed the existence of the Shang Dynasty, and the excavation of Yin Ruins in Anyang, Henan Province, further confirmed the accuracy of the Shang Dynasty pedigree recorded by the Taishigong in the historical records. In this regard, Mr. Wang Guowei believed that “it is natural to infer the authenticity of the Xia Hou family from the authenticity of the Yin Zhou family”. Professor Yin Weizhang of the Institute of archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, shares the same view with Mr. Wang Guowei. What he believes is still to verify the logical truth of the Shang Dynasty based on traditional historical records and oracle bone inscriptions.

As for the academic view of whether there is doubt about the Xia Dynasty, it now seems a little ironic and paradoxical. From the late Qing Dynasty to the early Republic of China, due to the reality of China’s poverty and weakness, many scholars had doubts about Chinese traditional culture and historical views, and believed that these traditions were the root cause of China’s backwardness. Reflected in historiography, it is expressed in skepticism about ancient times. For example, Kang Youwei believes that ancient legends are “ignorant and absurd in ancient times”; Reflected in culture, there was a trend of thought to overthrow “kongjiadian”. In this context, Chinese modern archaeology, which is connected with Western archaeology, has developed, and there is an extreme paranoia about verifiable physical archaeological evidence. This paranoia, which stems from respecting the principles of Western archaeology, has now been criticized by Western archaeologists, who believe that Chinese archaeologists have ignored the historical faithfulness contained in myths and legends.

Chinese archaeologists who doubt the existence of the Xia Dynasty are more or less narrow-minded in this regard. In fact, such “preciseness” is not worth refuting. Without archaeological evidence, it must be proved that the Xia Dynasty did not exist? This is obviously illogical.

More importantly, the Erlitou cultural site in Yanshi, Henan Province, excavated in the early 1960s, covers an area of 108000 square meters. There are rutted ruins and palace ruins, and the weather is extraordinary, quite Regal. Moreover, according to the carbon 14 calculation, these relics are about 3600-3700 years old, which is consistent with the era of the Xia Dynasty. Although the academic circles have different opinions on the dating of Erlitou culture, one side believes that Erlitou culture completely belongs to the Xia Dynasty, and the other side believes that Erlitou cultural site belongs to the mixed culture of Xia and Shang Dynasties. However, the history of the Xia Dynasty based on archaeological evidence does not seem to be impossible to prove. Just like the archaeological evidence of the Shang Dynasty was not found until the last century, the verifiable archaeological discoveries of the Xia dynasty may be discovered soon, and it may take hundreds or even thousands of years. However, archaeologists should adopt a more scientific and prudent attitude, and do not lightly conclude that the Xia Dynasty did not exist. The correct attitude should be to believe that the logic of the existence of the Xia Dynasty is true and to tirelessly seek confirmation.

Emotionally speaking, denying the existence of the Xia Dynasty seems to lose the support and root of the Chinese civilization; Intellectually speaking, the Shang Dynasty, with Oracle Bone Inscriptions as the cultural carrier, its writing and political system cannot be established by merchants at once. Don’t forget that oracle bone inscriptions are highly mature characters. When you think of the legend of Cangjie’s creation of characters, it seems that there is a gap in the inheritance of characters. This cutoff should be Xia characters. Therefore, to find the Xia Dynasty, in addition to empirical excavation on archaeological sites, to explore the characters of the Xia Dynasty is the key evidence to prove the existence of the Xia Dynasty, just like the Oracle confirms the Shang Dynasty.

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