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Lost Maritime Cultures: China and the Pacific

Bishop Museum Press

Editor: Tianlong Jiao

Hardcover, 219 pp.

LOST MARITIME CULTURES features the extraordinary archaeological discoveries found in southeast China over the past half century. The coastal area of southeast China was home to a multitude of maritime civilizations which flourished from 7000-3000 years ago, but were never recorded in historic texts. With the beginnings of modern archaeology in China in the early decades of the 20th century, these “lost” ancient maritime civilizations finally came to light. Recent scientific research from various disciplines has revealed that southeast China is likely the ultimate homeland of the Austronesian speakers, a group that includes modern Polynesians, Melanesians, Micronesians, and the indigenous people on the islands of Southeast Asia. It is believed that the ancestors of the Austronesian speakers first left China’s shores around 6000-5000 years ago. Their descendants eventually colonized most of the Pacific islands, reaching as far as Hawai’i, New Zealand, as well as Easter Island.

LOST MARITIME CULTURES showcases artistic works created by the indigenous peoples that flourished on southeast China’s coast. Objects from the Hemedu culture in modern Zhejiang Province and the Neolithic cultures on the coast of modern Fujian Province, the early maritime cultures which laid the foundations for the later maritime traditions developed in the Pacific, are featured. From unique pottery to splendid jade pieces and bronze artifacts, the newest discoveries of later maritime civilizations (5000-3000 years ago)–the Liangzhu culture, the Huangtulun culture, and Fubin culture–are unparalleled in artistic sophistication.

This full-color catalogue features a total of 86 artifacts, with text supplemented by over 100 line drawings, historical images, and archaeological site photos.

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