Setting: south China 2nd-1stc BC
Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)
* Higham 1996 p139
"The contemporary historic records make it clear that southwestern chiefs commanded considerable force. Sima Qian tells us that in 109 BC, Emperor Han Wudi initiated the subjugation of the Dian polity. The King of Dian sought protection among his allies, but finally submitted and received his gold seal. At that juncture, the newly created commandery of Yizhou, within which Dian falls, comprised 81,946 households and a population of 580,463. This, however, was not the end of the matter, for four years later the populace rebelled, followed by a further insurrection in 86 BC. In 81 BC under Emperor Han Zhaodi, a conference was called to consider the situation in the southwest, and according to the Yan Tie Lun (Debate on Salt and Iron, a treatise on the problems of government by Huan Kuan), there was a classic problem of control over guerrillas: 'if we pursue them, they flee; if we attack them they scatter'. This view is echoed in the Hou Han Shu, the History of the Later or Eastern Han compiled by Fan Ye (AD 398-446), who noted that the area was very rich, but given to war, including head hunting."
* Higham 1996 p155-157
"A variety of costumes and hairstyles are represented on a cowrie container from burial 13 [Shizhaishan]. A drum was provided with a flat, circular top around which process several people with animals. The workmanship is of the highest quality and provides a clear view of the clothing and appearance of each person. to judge from dress, bearing and personal ornaments, the file includes people of differing rank. In one group of four, for example, the first two are clad in tunics and trousers and each wears a sword. They are followed by a porter without a sword, and the last in line is virtually naked and leads and ox. A second group of three also has a man with a sword in front. He is wearing a cape, trousers to his knees and a long shirt. He is followed by two porters. Neither has a sword. A man with a sword and hair tied in a double topknot then comes into view, followed by an attendant carrying a large basket on his back out of which emerges the leg of a pig. The next man has his hair in a double plait like the victims of the battles described above [p147-155]. He has a sword and wears a long, elegant gown. His retainer has a similar hairstyle and leads an ox. Again they are followed by a well-dressed man with a sword and a follower holding a flat object over his right shoulder. The last group involves a leader wearing large earrings, a hat and a decorated gown. He has a sword, as does his groom, who is leading a horse.
"The members of each group reveal different hairstyles and dress. In each case, the leading person has a sword and is followed by a retainer or retainers in charge of an animal or carrying some other object. The Hou Han Shu (History of the Later Han) describes how the members of the Kunming tribe wore their hair in plaits whereas the Dian preferred a topknot. The procession could, therefore, represent tribute missions from different groups to the Dian paramount. Some were Dian people, others were alien."