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WANG Zhongshu [ Grand Prize 1996 ]

WANG Zhongshu顔写真
Grand Prize 1996 [7th]
WANG Zhongshu
Archaeologist [ Professor of the Institute of Archaeology, The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences ]
China / Archaeology
Born October 15, 1925 (aged70)

Professor Wang Zhongshu is one of Asia's most prominent archaeologists. He has been instrumental to the establishment and development of archaeology in China. Furthermore, the outstanding achievements made by Professor Wang in the field of ancient Sino-Japanese relations have had a great impact on the study of international exchange in Asia. His legacy in increasing awareness around the world of the importance of Chinese and Asian culture is a great one.

* At the time of receipt of the Prize.
* Deceased
Award Citation

Professor Wang Zhongshu, one of the most prominent archaeologists in the present-day Asia, enjoys internationally high reputation. He was born in Ningpo, Zhejiang Province, in 1925. He graduated from the Faculty of History of Peking University in 1950, and joined the Institute of Archaeology, within the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences the same year. Ever since, he has engaged himself in scientific excavation at important ruins, and made all possible efforts in establishing a discipline of anthropology in China.

His academic focus encompasses from the Ages of the Warring States, and through the Periods of Chin, Han, Sui, and Tang. He has made remarkable achievements in studying various subjects, including castle towns, tombs, and bronze mirrors of ancient times. His research method has a distinctive feature, which is that he comprehensively scrutinizes archaeological objects obtained from excavation sites, such as relics and remains, together with remaining historical records which are available in relative abundance, and then proves his hypothesis.

Professor Wang has undertaken initiatives in numerous research excavation projects of historical significance. Among them are the large tomb in Guwei-cun, Hui Xian, Henan Province, which is believed to have belonged to the Wei Dynasty in the middle of the Age of Warring States, and the tomb of Lord Zhongshan Jing and his wife constructed in the middle of the Western Han Period in Mancheng Xian, Hebei Province. These discoveries have greatly influenced the academic circles of not only archaeology, but also historical studies, in China and abroad.

He has also made an important contribution from an educational perspective, by writing general remarks on archaeology in the Han Period, ancient China's castle town systems, and tomb-building methods, based upon his broad knowledge accumulated through his many years' commitment to research work.

In the meantime, the 1972 discovery of the Takamatsuzuka Tomb in Japan provided Professor Wang with impetus to take deep interest in Japanese archaeology and her ancient history. The enthusiasm led him to conduct research on sankakubuchishinjukyo--triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors with mythical figure and animal designs--which were unearthed in Japan, the Takamatsuzuka Tomb, and the origin of ancient Japan's castle town systems. Following the series of research work, he has proposed a unique theory concerning the history of ancient Sino-Japanese relations. Above all, he caused a controversy among the academic circles of archaeology and historical studies in Japan when he introduced his new theory, claiming that the triangular-rimmed bronze mirrors unearthed from the Early-Kofun-Period tombs in Japan were manufactured by Chinese craftsmen who had come over to Japan from the then Chinese state of Wu. This assumption contradicted with a commonly accepted view that the bronze mirrors were presented to the messengers of Himiko, female ruler of the early Japanese political federation known as Yamatai, from the imperial court of the Chinese Dynasty of Wei.

In addition, Professor Wang has served many important posts dealing with science, the preservation of cultural assets, and international relations of China. He has also participated in international conferences held in Japan and the Republic of Korea, given lectures at universities in the U.S.A., and thus contributed to the enhancement and popularization of scientific research activities in China and abroad. Furthermore, he has rendered services to training young scholars.

Professor Wang Zhongshu's achievements have not only contributed to the systematization of Chinese archaeology and to the explication of early Sino-Japanese relations, but also exhibited the significance of Asian culture to the world, and thus Professor Wang Zhongshu is truly worthy of receiving the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.