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It is widely acknowledged that in the Qijia Culture Period (cca 2200–1500 BC), the Chinese Northwest participated in a broader network of contacts spanning from the Middle Yellow River Valley to Central Asia. However, opinions differ considerably as one regards the character of those contacts and their role in the genesis of the culture. On one hand, many Chinese scholars view the emergence of the Qijia Culture as a result of large migrations from the East; on the other, some western scholars suggest that a number of western human groups participated in its formation. In the present article we use the model of non-uniform institutional the complexity to explain the emergence of the Qijia Culture. We first point out its continuity with earlier Late Neolithic local cultures, and then focus on the spread of new artefacts and, as evidence suggests, of institutions from the East which led to the transformation of various aspects of the material culture within the broader region of the Chinese Northwest, while other elements – burial rites, for instance – preserved their regional diversity. We suggest that eastern innovations spread partly through channels established earlier within an exchange network of locally produced painted pottery and also in association with local area’s social development. These suggestions are supported by the case study which considers the process of development at the well-known site of Liuwan in the middle reaches of the Huang River Valley, Qinghai Province.
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The study deals with the traditional clothing of the Southern Altaians – Altai-Kizhi and Telengits, living in the territory of the Altai Republic in the Russian Federation, its common features, ethnic specifics and, above all, the changes it has gone through since the second half of the 18th century to the present. During this period, there were several major political developments that had a significant impact on traditional Altai culture, including clothing. Attention is focused on the influence of Russian and Chinese textile production, the transformation of the material used in the production of clothing, its forms, decorative elements, colour as well as its role and use at present.
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We highlight the use of the bat (Chiroptera) in the Florentine Renaissance art. Michelangelo Buonarroti, Bernardo Buontalenti, Albrecht Dürer and several others used images of bats in their sketches, sculptures and decorations and many bat images are still to be seen on the palaces and monuments in the Historic Centre of Florence, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The bats can usually be identified as such by the large ears or the characteristic wing membranes, although they constitute highly stylized artwork, often grotesque and certainly not intended to be morphologically correct. Furthermore, during the Renaissance it was not yet realized that bats are mammals, and some of the images could actually be interpreted as either birds or bats. The bat image was somehow tied to the Medici Noble Family, the undisputed rulers of Florence throughout the Renaissance, where it may have symbolized cultural darkness or ignorance. We speculate that the bat images could also have meant happiness and prosperity, with connections to China, and protected the buildings on which they appeared. In any case, the Renaissance bat had evolved far, artistically as well as conceptually, from the bat images that personified demons or the Devil in the European medieval literature and contemporary religious artwork.