October 9 1999 - January 9 2000
Did you know about time's arrows?
The tradition of making extremely fine arrow tips began long ago
in Heilongjiang's Neolithic. In fact, it is through finely made,
stone tipped arrows that the people of northeastern China first became
known in Chinese historical records. Such arrows were offered as tribute
to Chinese rulers from roughly 500 B.C. through to Han Dynasty times.
One of these stories is connected with Confucius. The Unauthorized
Biography of the Spring and Autumn period tells us that one day,
a special kind of gyrfalcon (haidongqing) fell to earth and died in
Chen Hui Gong's garden. An arrow with a wooden shaft and stone tip
had wounded it. The bird was taken to Confucius, who advised that
the falcon came from far away, and that such an arrow was from the Sushen people.
In 1973, the Iron Period site of Dongkang offered another spectacular
find involving arrows of a sort likely used for hunting birds. There,
hundreds of arrows with fine, needle-like bone tips were preserved in a
charred birch container that may have been a quiver or a package for trade.
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Last Review/Update -- October 12 2006