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[Ch’eng-tu]. Capital of Sichuan province, China. The material culture of the Chengdu plain kept a strong local flavour long after its first contact with the Bronze Age civilizations of North China, which on the evidence of ritual vessels found in nearby Peng Xian must be dated no later than the beginning of the Western Zhou period. Apart from the Peng Xian bronzes there is little sign that Western Zhou influence in Sichuan went beyond the introduction of bronze weapons; in the course of the Zhou period these weapons evolved local forms that often appear peculiar or archaic by comparison with counterparts from more metropolitan centres. In the late Eastern Zhou period, when Sichuan was the route by which influences from the northern steppes reached"the Dian Kingdom in southwestern China, the Chengdu plain was occupied by the kingdom of Shu (see Ba and Shu). Though still a cultural backwater, Chengdu at this time seems to have been a major centre for the manufacture of painted lacquers. In the Han period state-operated workshops at Chengdu and nearby Guanghan dominated the lacquer industry, and their products have been found as far away as Jiangling in Hubei province and Mawangdui in Hunan province, Noin Ula in Outer Mongolia, and Lelang in Korea.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied