Two ancient sites in Zhengzhou hide the origin of Chinese “rites and music”!

As we know,

China has always been known as

“a country of ancient civilization and etiquette”.

But we’d rather know

Where is the origin of rites and music?

How did the nation of ceremony and propriety begin?

Traveling 60 kilometers southwest from Zhengzhou, you will arrive at the Yinghe Valley at the southern foot of Songshan Mountain, where the Wangchenggang Site is located. This large site, discovered in 1951, is considered by many scholars to be the “City of the Kings of Xia Dynasty”, the documented “Yangcheng, the capital of Yu”.

△Excavation site of Wangchenggang in Dengfeng

At the beginning of human civilization, facing droughts, floods, lightning and thunder, the ignorant ancestors had nothing to rely on but to stand in awe. They prayed for the blessings of the heavens and their ancestors through grand rituals, thus creating the most sacred “rituals”.

The “music” that came with the “rites” served a ritualistic purpose, and there was a strict hierarchy for the use of “music”.

Differentiation and hierarchy are the core elements of “rites and music”. Differences lead to hierarchy, and hierarchy means order, which also gives rise to rituals and etiquette, patriarchal ethics, and status hierarchies.

The ritual and music system had already taken shape in the early Xia Dynasty.

If the ritual and music system had taken shape during the time of Da Yu, the ritual and music civilization developed even more and faster during the time of Emperor Qi, the son of Dayu and the founder of the Xia Dynasty.

The Xinzhai site is a large metropolitan site with a triple trench structure covering an area of 700,000 to 1 million square meters, and important remains such as large semi-crypt buildings and large foundations of buildings made of rammed earth have been found in the core area of the inner city. They once again highlight the core position of the Xinzhai site in the region.

△Cultural relics unearthed from Xinzhai site

It is understood that the discovery of these sites and relics reflects the diversified, pioneering and innovative style of the Xinzhai period, and is the epitome of the transition from chiefdom society to a country with a vast territory and strong royal power.

From the 5,300-year-old “Big Dipper Nine Stars” relics of the Shuanghuaishu site in Gongyi, which had a special political and ceremonial function, to the 4,000-year-old Wangchenggang site, which had the beginnings of a ritual and music system, and then to the rapid development of the Xinzhai site, Chinese ritual and music civilization was started and expanded in Zhengzhou and the Central Plains and has been carried forward step by step.

In recent years, good people abound in Zhengzhou, and good deeds have become popular. This is closely related to the nourishment of the excellent etiquette culture.

In 2020, Zhengzhou won the title of National Civilized City, attaining “four consecutive titles”. At present, Zhengzhou is also committed to building itself into a national model city of civilization.

Copyright by Zhengzhou Municipal Tourism Administration