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China's Shang Culture



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Facing the Facts
Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

Experts had long believed that the Yellow River plain was the cultural hub of early China. But in 1986 when a trove of artifacts—including some 50 bronze heads such as these—were unearthed nearly 700 miles (1,000 kilometers) to the southwest in Sanxingdui, the experts realized they were wrong: China had not one ancient center but many. Creating such totems required great technical sophistication because bronze is a tough material to work, says Robert Murowchick, a professor of East Asian archaeology and anthropology at Boston University. "The discovery of these heads," he says, "was a very big deal because it is forcing us to rethink our understanding of early civilizations in ancient China."

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F5
Film Type: Fujichrome Velvia 50
Lens: 60mm f/2.8 Nikon zoom
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/11

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Unrecorded
Lighting Techniques: I used Comet 1200 watt second strobes with soft boxes.



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