Masters of the Wilderness, an Unprecedented Generation

Out of the study, into the wilderness


When it comes to masters, scholars or intellectuals, the matching picture is always sitting alone in a study full of sweat, burying his head and studying at a desk. The Chinese literati tradition despised exploration, exploration, fieldwork, etc. Xu Xiake and Song Yingxing were both marginalized in history, so by the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the situation was quite embarrassing, and foreigners were enthusiastic to investigate, excavate, organize and record There are precious relics all over China, and Chinese scholars are still willing to adhere to the so-called traditional Chinese learning.
Fortunately, a turning point soon appeared. Zhang Quan’s book “Masters in the Wilderness” records a new generation of Chinese scholars who “walked out of the study and into the wilderness”. With the four institutions of the Institute and China Construction Society, he wrote about the investigation and research of this group of pioneers with a spirit of exploration in the fields of animals and plants, minerals, archaeological excavations, ethnology and other fields a hundred years ago, as well as their considerable achievements. Whether it is the industrial development of the country, the change of academic methods, or the filling of knowledge gaps, their contributions are groundbreaking.
The difficulties they encountered should not be underestimated. The book shows us how traditional concepts, political pressures and lack of funds have hindered their research work, and the dangers of exploration itself, coupled with turbulent times and wars, Let their research go to waste at any time, and some even suffer from serious illness and even sacrifice their lives. When there are internal and external troubles, this group of people will also doubt themselves, is what they do meaningful? But they persevered no matter what, for the dignity of the nation, but also for the pure thirst for knowledge and scientific spirit.
At the end of the foreword, Zhang Quan wrote: “There is no such thing as a ‘golden age’. It has always been a new era for the brave in their own name.”

Preface The Age of Discoveries

Written by: Zhang Quan

Today’s era is the era of discovery.

– Wang Guowei

“Very hilarious, hateful and sad thing”

Perhaps the most confident thing in Lu Xun’s life was not literature.

On April 8, 1927, he gave a speech at the Whampoa Military Academy. Although the title was called “Literature in the Revolutionary Era”, the topic started from mining coal – “The first thing I studied seriously was mining, and asked me to talk about coal mining, maybe It’s better than talking about literature.”

He laughed at himself and opened with humor, but he wasn’t actually joking. When he was a teenager, he really longed for the exploration of mineral deposits, and worked hard for it.

At the age of 18, Lu Xun was admitted to the Mining and Railway School attached to the Jiangnan Lushi School. After studying at the Hiromon College in Japan, he still had a soft spot for minerals. He recorded a lot of notes, and copied and copied many overseas mining monographs. He even went down the mine and stepped in the half-foot-deep stagnant water, and there was still water leaking from the top of his head. Around him, the miners “worked like ghosts.” In the era of Lu Xun’s study, geology was still called “geology”, and mineralogy was called “epigraphy”. People who don’t know what to do might think that these two lessons are still about Yudi and Zhongding Tablet. these ancient knowledge.

In the first book officially published by Lu Xun, there is this passage:

China’s minerals, rich as it is. Therefore, the Emperor Xuanyuan began to mine copper in Shoushan, making good use of the land. In the world of Tang and Yu, gold, silver, lead and iron were cast. Catch the week and mine it…

Of course, he was still called Zhou Shuren at that time, and that book was not a collection of novels or essays, but “China Minerals”, but its popularity was no less than his collection of scornful, hilarious and scolding works.

“China Mineral Records” was co-authored by Lu Xun and his classmate Gu Lang, and was once designated as a must-read by the Qing government. They expect Chinese people to pay attention to and understand the rich mineral resources of their own country, and not always rely on foreigners to study and report; they also hope that in the future China will be able to mine mines independently, develop industries, and seek ways to become prosperous and strong.

However, the two ultimately chose different lives.

After returning to China from studying abroad, Gu Lang moved to the fields of education, industry and politics, but he did not give up fieldwork. He later visited Hanyang, Daye, Pingxiang, Liuhegou, Lincheng, Jingxing, Kailuan, Zhongxing, Benxi Lake and Fushun In 1916, he published “The Survey of China’s Top Ten Mines”, the title of which was inscribed by Zhang Jian.

Lu Xun chose to “hide in a small building and become unified”. He was thirty-seven years old when Diary of a Madman was published. People remember Lu Xun after the age of thirty-seven, but they forget the boy who once looked forward to seeking minerals.

Because of his obsession with minerals, Lu Xun has always been disdainful of the so-called “Chinese scholars” who are trapped in the study. In November 1922, he wrote an article in the “Morning News Sub-engraving” mockingly: “While the fake Chinese scholars are playing cards and drinking, and the real Chinese scholars are sitting in Gaozhai and reading ancient books, Dr. Stein, Shakespeare’s fellow countryman, is already there. In the sand moraine in places like Gansu and Xinjiang, the Han and Jin slips and slips were excavated; not only were they excavated, but books were made.” The lines are filled with tragic sneers, lamenting their misfortune, and even more angering them.

Lu Xun’s judgment is actually not harsh. Since the second half of the 19th century, Richthofen’s seven expeditions opened the curtain for overseas sinologists and explorers to explore China. Obluchev, Sven Hedin, Sang Zhihua, Xie Gelan, Stein, Percy and Boschman, Ito Chuta, Torii Ryuzo, Otani Guangrui, Seki Yezhen, Omura West Cliff, Tokiwa Dading When overseas scholars flock to explore geography, mineral deposits, biology, architecture, and cultural relics, their footprints extend from north to south.


When Pelliot displayed the ancient books he collected in China, especially the Dunhuang posthumous writings, at the Six Nations Hotel in Beijing, officials and scholars all sighed with embarrassment. Luo Zhenyu had mixed feelings and lamented that this was “a very gratifying, hateful and sad thing”; Duan Fang, the governor of Liangjiang, had earlier identified this as “a life-and-death problem in Chinese textual research.” They felt that the situation was serious. Even so, few people are willing to personally search for it like overseas scholars. As a result, a peculiar and embarrassing situation emerged in China in the late 19th and early 20th centuries: geologists, archaeologists and explorers from overseas traveled all over China to visit the mines, monuments, tombs, The caves are constantly surveyed, photographed, excavated, sorted out, and analyzed, but Chinese scholars turn a blind eye to these precious relics, either consciously or unconsciously, busy deceiving the world, or willing to be confined to the study. On the one hand, overseas scholars are eager to do more field research, but because of the size of China, their long-cherished wish cannot be fulfilled. Chinese scholars are always indifferent, indulging in “the Bogu family era of ‘easy chair research'”.

However, when Lu Xun vented his grievances, an era full of turning points had actually arrived. At that time, the younger generation of Chinese scholars was eager to try. Most of them have received modern academic training overseas, advocating the spirit of science, trying to rediscover the truth of ancient China and reassess the value of civilization. They are not afraid to go into the wilderness, and even enjoy it. In this wave, geologists took the lead, paleontologists, anthropologists, archaeologists, and architects followed one after another, and finally created an atmosphere in the past two or three decades.

They are pioneers in their respective fields, and they are also the first generation of Chinese who walked out of the study and into the wilderness. It is their quest and the new era they ushered in that this book hopes to recapitulate.

unprecedented generation

In 1913, the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of the Beiyang Government established the Institute of Geology and the Institute of Geological Survey, which was chaired by Ding Wenjiang. , Derijin and other overseas scholars worked together to cultivate professional talents while persistently conducting field investigations, surveying mineral deposits, prospecting for oil and coal mines, excavating dinosaur skeletons and various ancient vertebrate fossils, and excavating prehistoric civilization sites. Whether in geology, seismology, soil science, paleontology, anthropology and other fields, they are all outstanding achievements.

In October 1936, the Institute of History and Philology of the Academia Sinica (hereinafter referred to as the “Institute of History and Philology”) excavated the Yin Ruins fifteen times. The hosts changed from Li Ji, Dong Zuobin and Liang Siyong to the younger Shi Zhangru and Liu Yao. , Wang Xiang and other archaeologists. A large number of oracle bones and various cultural relics have been unearthed one after another, which has been confirmed in the Shang Dynasty, and the history of Chinese civilization has been pushed forward for hundreds of years. According to archaeological excavations, scholars at the Institute of History and Philosophy have successively put forward a series of new theoretical frameworks, such as Dong Zuobin’s “Zhenren Theory”, Liang Siyong’s “Three Layers”, Fu Sinian’s “Yixia East-West Theory”, etc. Rich in creative significance and far-reaching. By 1937, French sinologist Pelliot would extol the archaeological excavations of the Institute of History and Philosophy in his tricentennial speech at Harvard University:

This is the most significant archaeological excavation in Asia in recent years. Chinese scholars suddenly have access to a wealth of reliable material on the history of China for a thousand years before the birth of Jesus.

In fact, not only the archaeological group, but also the language group of the Institute of History and Philosophy has achieved much. For ten years, Zhao Yuanren and others visited Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Guangxi, Southern Anhui, Jiangxi, Hunan, Hubei and other places to systematically conduct field investigations on dialects, and initially outlined the trajectory of Chinese language changes, and the significance of these visits and research, As Fu Sinian summed up: “A nation’s language is the spiritual wealth of this nation.”

Before joining the Institute of History and Philosophy, Li Ji and Zhao Yuanren both taught at Tsinghua Institute of Chinese Studies, and initiated the first fieldwork in their respective fields—the archaeological excavation of Xiyin Village and the investigation of Wu dialects. Although the Tsinghua Institute of Chinese Studies has only existed for four years, it has recruited two generations of famous teachers, Liang Qichao, Wang Guowei, Chen Yinke, Zhao Yuanren, and Li Ji, not only setting a model for the future Chinese academic circles, but also being regarded as the “prequel” of the Institute of History and Philosophy: Chen Yinke, Zhao Yuanren, and Li Ji are all the principals of the Institute of History and Language. Although Liang Qichao, Wang Guowei and Chen Yinke did not participate in the fieldwork, with their foresight and influence, they cleared the obstacles for scholars to go into the wilderness, and laid a solid foundation for them. The ideological foundation, among which, the “double evidence method” proposed by Wang Guowei has a particularly far-reaching influence.


Group photo of lecturers at Tsinghua Academy of Chinese Studies in 1925, front row from right: Zhao Yuanren, Liang Qichao, Wang Guowei, Li Ji

The archaeological teams of the Geological Survey and the Institute of History and Philosophy are mainly exploring the underground cultural relics, while the China Construction Institute is looking for the historical relics on the ground. Before Lu Xun’s death, there was a photo of a Buddha statue purchased from the Yamamoto Photo Studio in his home in Beijing. body. Among modern Chinese scholars, the first person to see this Buddha statue was probably Liang Sicheng, director of the French Department of the China Construction Institute. In 1932, Liang Sicheng and his entourage braved the flames of war to conduct a detailed survey, mapping and research on Longxing Temple. He believes that although this statue has been tampered with by later generations, it is “obviously the original sculpture of the Song Dynasty.” Of course, he is not only concerned with the statues, but also the architectural style, and praised the Muni Hall of Longxing Temple as “the best of art”.

When Lu Xun died (1936), the China Construction Society had only been established for five years, but it had already inspected more than 2,000 ancient buildings in hundreds of counties and cities. The three main halls of Shijiazhuang, the Sakyamuni Pagoda in the Fogong Temple, the Baccarat in the Huayan Temple, and the ancient architectural classics from the Liao and Jin Dynasties, such as the Shanhua Temple and the Guangsheng Temple, were all inspected by Liang Sicheng, Liu Dunzhen, Lin Huiyin and others. The report is made public to the people of the country. These relics on the earth have provided a lot of intuitive evidence for deciphering the Northern Song’s “Tianshu” and “Building French Style”. At the same time, a history of Chinese architecture was formed in Liang Sicheng’s mind.

The Institute of Geological Survey, Tsinghua Institute of Chinese Studies, the Institute of History and Linguistics of the Academia Sinica, and the China Construction Society are the four peaks in the history of modern Chinese culture, and they are also the forerunners for scholars to go out of the study and into the field. From the Beiyang government to the Kuomintang government, from the “Northern Expedition” to the “War in the Central Plains”, from the “September 18 Incident” to the “July 7 Incident”, the country has not changed, and the times have changed rapidly. The curtain call is a child’s play. But in the midst of this chaos, the community of scholars represented by the above-mentioned institutions, inspired by patriotism, worked silently, worked tirelessly, and worked together, creating countless firsts in Chinese history:

The first scientific archaeological excavation conducted independently by the Chinese – the excavation of the Xiyin Village site (hosted by Li Ji and Yuan Fuli);

The first mineral resources survey and field investigation report – “Report on the Investigation of Geological Minerals near Zhengtai Railway” (Ding Wenjiang);

The first geology lecture notes – “Geology lecture notes” (Weng Wenhao);

The first colored national geological map – “China Geological Survey Map” (Weng Wenhao);

The first earthquake distribution map – “China Earthquake Distribution Map” (Weng Wenhao);

The first petroleum investigation report – “Gansu Yumen Petroleum Report” (Xie Jiarong);

The first monograph on petroleum research – “Petroleum” (Xie Jiarong);

The first monograph on vertebrate paleontology – “Rodent Fossils in North China” (Yang Zhongjian);

The first monograph on dinosaur research – “Xu’s Lufengosaurus” (Yang Zhongjian);

The first survey report on ancient buildings – “Research on Guanyin Pavilion Mountain Gate of Dule Temple in Jixian County” (Liang Sicheng);

The first officially promulgated cultural relic regulations – “Antiquities Preservation Law”;

They found the skulls of “Peking Man”, “Stop Cave Man”, black pottery of Longshan culture, as well as a large number of oracle bones with characters, a large number of Yinxu cultural relics, the ancient capital of Yin and Shang, and buildings of Tang, Song, Liao, Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. , and put forward theories such as “Yanshan Movement”, “Three Doors”, “Three Layers”, “Zhenren Theory” and “Yixia East-West Theory”. China’s first seismic station (Jiufeng Seismic Station), the first oil field (Yumen Oilfield), and the first independently excavated and mounted dinosaur fossil (Xu’s Lufengosaurus) were also contributed by them.

Most of them grew up reciting the “Four Books and Five Classics”, and then went overseas to receive modern academic training, advocating the spirit of science. Among them are China’s first doctor of geology (Weng Wenhao), doctor of anthropology (Li Ji), the first master of archaeology (Liang Siyong), the earliest master of business management (Cao Yunxiang), and the “Father of Chinese Archaeology”. “(Li Ji), “The First Person in Chinese Scientific Archaeology” (Liang Siyong), “Father of Chinese Linguistics” (Zhao Yuanren), “Father of Non-Chinese Linguistics” (Li Fanggui), “Father of Chinese Dinosaurs” (Yang Zhongjian) )…

They are the masters of the wilderness, the founders of a new scholarship, an unprecedented generation. Of course, they were also first-generation cosmopolitans who changed the world’s perception of China.


Group photo of members of the first Academia Sinica Institute of History and Linguistics

Even if he has a cold face like Lu Xun, he will tease them from time to time in his diaries, letters or articles. For example, he thinks that the “Anyang Excavation Report” published by Shi Yu has “less essence and more nonsense”; he said that Liang Qichao’s salary was too high , and “Western learning is not consistent”, only Li Siguang can “make up a perfect person who is both Chinese and foreign”; ridiculed Ding Wenjiang to accompany Hu Shi to “visit” Chiang Kai-shek – “China has always been an old example, being an emperor is a reliable person. And when you are unlucky, you always have to get along with the scholars and scholars at once.” However, there is no doubt that Lu Xun’s unfinished dream has indeed gradually become a reality under their feet.

It should be noted that during the Republic of China, of course, it was not only these four institutions that paid attention to fieldwork. In fact, institutions such as the Jingsheng Biological Survey Institute, the Institute of Geology of the Academia Sinica, the History Research Association of the National Peiping Academy, and the “Kuige” have also gathered a group of scholars who are not afraid to leave the study. They are committed to animals and plants, minerals, The investigation and research in the fields of archaeological excavation and ethnology have achieved considerable achievements. However, this book has decided to focus on the Institute of Geological Survey, Tsinghua Institute of Chinese Studies, the Institute of History and Language, and the China Construction Society, because they both represent multiple aspects and are inextricably linked to each other, forming a relatively stable structure. Academic community; their development history is also enough to reflect the different stages from the 1910s to the 1940s, the desire and confusion, conception and twists and turns, predicament and exploration of Chinese academics going into the field. Because of their efforts, an era of great discovery finally revealed itself on the land of modern China.

Out of the study, into the wilderness

In Chinese history, it is not without precedent for scholars to leave the study. Xu Xiake and Song Yingxing are the best among them, but in the official history, they are destined to be only marginal roles.

In 1912, when Ye Haowu, the superintendent of Yunnan Higher School, mentioned “Xu Xiake’s Travel Notes” to Ding Wenjiang, Ding Wenjiang, who had returned from studying geology in Europe, was surprised to find that he knew nothing about this fellow in the Ming Dynasty. After traveling halfway across China to Shanghai, he finally bought a copy of “Xu Xiake’s Travel Notes”, and he will have to wait another two years for him to truly identify with Xu Xiake. Two years later, he went to Yunnan to investigate geology, and read this travel journal more than two centuries ago in extreme fatigue. He found that what he saw on the way of the investigation matched Xu Xiake’s records more than 200 years ago. With great emotion: “I am amazed at the wealth of energy, the finesse of observation, and the detailed and factual records of Mr. Shi.”

At this point, he truly respected Xu Xiake and became even more curious. However, the life course of such a legend is actually ambiguous, and his writings have long been fragmented and largely lost. Therefore, Ding Wenjiang decided to correct Xu Xiake’s name, organize Xu Xiake’s travel notes and chronology, and draw a road map for his travels around the world. This work has almost assembled the strength of three generations. His predecessors Liang Qichao, Zhang Yuanji, Luo Zhenyu and others generously provided him with classics and materials, while his younger generations Zhu Tinghu, Ye Liangfu, Tan Xichou, Xie Jiarong, Wang Zhuquan and others put them in various places. The drawn map was handed over to him, bit by bit to piece together the path Xu Xiake had traveled.


Song Yingxing is another person who resonates strongly with Ding Wenjiang. In 1914, he read a description of copper smelting in the “Yunnan Tongzhi” collected by the Kunming Library, and was deeply impressed. This quote is from “Heavenly Creation” – another unfamiliar name. What shocked him even more was that this strange book of the Ming Dynasty could not be found in the huge China. After Zhang Hongzhao reminded him, he learned that the Imperial Japanese Library on the other side of the ocean actually collected this ancient Chinese encyclopedia. Therefore, Ding Wenjiang spent thirteen years looking for the handed down version and trying to restore the story of the Song Yingxing brothers.

Xu Xiake and Song Yingxing finally ceased to be anonymous names buried deep in history, but instead became spiritual idols for many young scholars. In an era of national peril, Ding Wenjiang, like many Chinese intellectuals, was accustomed to comparing China’s sages with the West, and then to demonstrate the great innovations that Chinese civilization once had. He earnestly declared that Xu Xiake’s journey was “the embodiment of the spirit of the Renaissance”, and praised Song Yingxing’s “Heavenly Creation”, “whose spirit coincides with modern scientific methods”. He believes that Xu Xiake’s “spirit of ‘seeking knowledge’ has been characteristic of Europeans and Americans in the past 100 years, not that Mr. Xu acquired it 280 years ago.” He commented that the creative value of “Heavenly Creation” is unparalleled in the world: “The three hundred years of preface to the agricultural industry book is so detailed and well-prepared, it is unparalleled in the world, and it is also unique.” He tried to demonstrate that the spirit of science and exploration It has a long history in China, far surpassing that in the West, but it has only been temporarily lost.

Ding Wenjiang used the modern Xu Xiake as his self-imagination, and his “Ten Thousand Mile Expedition” should “see what Xu Xiake has not seen”, and remember “what Xu Xiake has not recorded”. Ding Wenjiang believed in “climbing must reach the top of the mountain, and investigation should not be carried on foot”, and he practiced it all his life. Coincidentally, the core figures of these academic institutions have made similar statements. Ding Wenjiang’s colleague and successor Weng Wenhao called on scholars to “carry an axe into the mountains, split thorns and hazels”, and even proposed, “If you don’t go up the mountain for a year, you are not worthy of being a geologist”; Qiongbi fell into the Yellow Springs and found things with his hands and feet”; Li Ji, who joined the Institute of History and Philosophy from Tsinghua Institute of Chinese Studies, “destroys the self-proclaimed view of Chinese culture with the Great Wall, and uses our eyes and our legs to go to the north of the Great Wall. Looking for information on ancient Chinese history”; Zhao Yuanren said enthusiastically, “It’s one thing to use forms and recorders to conduct systematic investigations, and of course it’s another thing to go to various places to learn various words”; China Construction Society Liang Sicheng emphasized that “to study ancient buildings, it is not necessary to conduct on-the-spot surveying and mapping of relics”… Various verbs are loud and clear, but in the final analysis, they are all calling for scholars to leave the study and go to the wilderness.

Many years later, Hu Shi wrote a biography of his long-dead friend Ding Wenjiang (“The Biography of Ding Wenjiang”, 1956), and he still couldn’t help but sigh: “This kind of modern Xu Xiake, who is the least afraid of hardship and has the most methods, is worthy of being a man. The pioneering master of Chinese geology.”

This is not only a personal tribute to Ding Wenjiang, but also the spiritual portrayal of Ding Wenjiang’s generation of scholars. But this generation is destined to experience hardships and even an unpredictable future. If the geological survey failed to find out the mineral deposits, the skulls or dinosaur fossils of the “Beijing Man” were not found, and if the historical and language institute failed to unearth a large number of oracle bones and various cultural relics at the Yin Ruins, the foundations of the ancient capital of Yin and Shang were not found. If the China Construction Institute did not discover a large number of ancient architectural classics… It is difficult to say that this generation of scholars will not continue to “reduce” to another Xu Xiake or Song Yingxing, and finally quietly exit from history.

Fortunately, they were mutually accomplished with an era of great discovery. In troubled times, they encountered chaos and turmoil, but they were undoubtedly born at the right time.

Surviving in a desperate situation, Chen Jianzhong broke through

Ding Wenjiang was eager to rectify the names of Xu Xiake and Song Yingxing. Facing a more complex social environment and in a turbulent era, they cannot do anything but do their best.

Chinese scholars have always been disdainful of manual labor, and whether they are geological surveys, archaeological excavations or ancient architectural investigations, they need to go out frequently and sleep in the open air. Although since the Westernization Movement, it has become a consensus to save the country through industry, and geological surveys have room for development. Many people have begun to recognize archaeological excavations and ancient architectural surveys, believing that they will help understand the ins and outs of Chinese civilization, and even give it patriotic significance. However, , the social concept remains the same, and the fieldwork still faces huge resistance.

Thoughts have not yet been opened, and the public has misunderstood archaeological excavations. People naturally believe that archaeological excavation is the search for treasures. After Li Ji and Yuan Fuli left Xiyin Village, the station inspectors were like enemies and suspected that they had stolen precious cultural relics. Unexpectedly, the boxes of broken pottery shards were all inspected, which made the inspector extremely confused. During the Anti-Japanese War, the History and Language Institute was moved to Lizhuang, and the local squires and people once thought that these scholars lived by cannibalism—the anti-Japanese war was thousands of miles away, and they must carry the most valuable things with them, but they were stuffed in their luggage. Full of human remains. Shi Zhangru went to Bin County (now Bin County, Shaanxi Province) to investigate, using a compass and drawing at the same time, so that the local accompanying people firmly believed that he was a Feng Shui master, and repeatedly begged him to come to his home to help him check Feng Shui. No matter how Shi Zhangru explained it, it was useless. . It took many years for the Institute of Geological Survey to finally publish the “New Map of China’s Provinces”, but Ding Wenjiang continued to plead bitterly in the preface: “We only hope that the gentlemen who will travel together in the future will talk less about dragon veins and draw less pen frames, so that young Chinese Gradually understand what the terrain is like.” Yang Zhongjian unearthed dinosaur skeletons in Yunnan, and held an exhibition in Beibei, Chongqing. Some people bowed respectfully in front of the dinosaur skeletons and poured incense religiously. They don’t know that this dragon is not the other dragon, but the habit of worshiping incense and praying for blessings has a long history, and the conditioned reflex goes deep into the bone marrow. This kind of tradition is so long that Liang Sicheng couldn’t help but sigh when he visited the Yungang Grottoes. For more than a dozen centuries, people have been busy burning incense and worshipping, but they have turned a blind eye to the exquisite statues. (The real value of the Yungang Grottoes) has not been noticed.” Over the millennia, countless treasures on China’s land have been forgotten intentionally or unintentionally.

They found that the biggest opponent of fieldwork in China is actually the epigraphy tradition, which is so deeply ingrained. The China Construction Institute went out to inspect ancient buildings. The local guide heard that Liang Sicheng and others were interested in antiquities, and often took them to see the inscriptions on their own initiative. They felt that the inscriptions were art, and architecture was just the craftsmanship of craftsmen. The Hall of Elegance. At first, archaeology was considered by many to be just an alias for epigraphy, but when Chinese scholars began to independently conduct archaeological excavations, even first-class scholars such as Ma Heng and Dong Zuobin, who had worked hard to transform from the traditional epigraphy framework, had There are misunderstandings in archaeological excavations. Ma Heng believes that through archaeological excavations, “24 underground histories” can be unearthed. This naive assumption is clearly impossible to achieve. Dong Zuobin presided over the first excavation of the Yin Ruins. Because he paid too much attention to oracle bones, he dug up human remains. He suddenly offended the ancestors and hurriedly buried them again. It was not until he met Li Ji later that he realized that human remains also contain rich archaeological value. . By the 1930s, although the archaeological excavations had been fruitful, when Xia Nai took the public-funded study abroad examination and was admitted to the archaeology major, he suddenly felt that his future was bleak, and lamented that he “simply climbed to the top of the ancient pagoda to get antiques”. Xia Nai graduated from the History Department of Tsinghua University, and later studied under Fu Sinian and Li Ji. Even he has a prejudice against archaeology, and others can imagine it.

The government’s attitude towards geological and archaeological excavations is more mixed. When geologists are devoted to the exploration of coal mines, metals, and petroleum, and help the industry, the government naturally advocates and supports them. Once scientists are attracted by the underground unearthed objects and begin to excavate cultural relics, paleontological fossils and even ancient human remains, the attitude of politicians will be different. Subtle changes began to take place. Dai Jitao, President of the Examination Institute, took it for granted that all archaeological excavations were tomb robbing. For this reason, he justly called the President, the Executive Yuan, the Ministry of Education and the Academia Sinica, demanding that the archaeological excavations be stopped immediately. He also threatened that if in ancient times, Doing such a treacherous thing is to be executed by Ling Chi. Li Ji had a hunch at the time that “there will be no peace in archaeological work from now on”, and this “conflict between old and new historical viewpoints” could easily be politicized. As he expected, even though Cai Yuanpei led scholars to refute it harshly, the Executive Yuan ordered the excavation of ancient tombs strictly prohibited, so that archaeological excavations in some areas were forced to be postponed.

The game between the local and the central government also affects fieldwork. Li Ji went to Xiyin Village to excavate, and also brought two letters of introduction from the two former prime ministers and Liang Qichao to the then governor of Shanxi Province, Yan Xishan, but the “King of Shanxi” has always been avoided. People were moved by Li Ji’s sincerity, and this archaeological excavation is likely to be stranded. The excavation of Yin Ruins encountered huge resistance. The local government in Henan suspected that the treasures had been stolen from the history and language, and repeatedly interfered in various forms. Regardless of Chiang Kai-shek’s order or the promulgation of the Antiquities Preservation Law, they were unable to influence the decision-making of the high-level and grass-roots level in Henan Province. Only power and force can dominate everything. When Chiang Kai-shek wins the “Battle of the Central Plains” and brings Henan into the sphere of influence, everything will be solved naturally. In order to win the trust of local people, Liang Sicheng had to learn to deal with military officers and local officials in the “old-school upper-class way”. When he visited various places, he maintained a “low-key, polite and respectful” attitude, while he took out a business card with various titles printed on it, and casually revealed that he had a good relationship with some dignitaries and celebrities, and dealt with it step by step. The local talent finally looked up to him and was willing to offer support and help.


Li Ji (July 12, 1896-August 1, 1979), formerly known as Shunjing, courtesy name Shouzhi, changed to Jizhi, was a native of Zhongxiang County, Hubei Province, an archaeologist and anthropologist in the Republic of China. He is the first scholar who formally conducts archaeological excavations in the history of Chinese archaeology, and is known as the “father of modern Chinese archaeology”. He presided over the excavation of Yin Ruins in Anyang, Henan, which shocked the world, and changed Yin and Shang culture from legend to history.

Not only social concepts and political pressures have troubled fieldwork, but funding issues are equally thorny and severe.

Fu Sinian worked hard to collect 1,000 yuan, and the excavation of Yin Ruins finally officially started. However, after the third excavation ended, he was in trouble again. The Freer Art Museum decided to suspend cooperation with the Shiyu Institute. Fortunately, the China Education and Culture Foundation implemented timely to help. The eleventh excavation of Yin Ruins achieved remarkable results, but the budget far exceeded the allocation. Fortunately, the second director-general of the Academia Sinica was Ding Wenjiang. He knew the significance of fieldwork, so he took a different approach and invited the National Central Museum to participate in the investment. It was agreed that the unearthed cultural relics should be studied by the Institute of History and Philosophy first, and then sent to the museum for collection, which properly solved the funding problem. The predecessor of the China Construction Society, the Construction Society, almost exhausted its founder, Zhu Qiqian, of his family wealth. It was also because of the support of the China Education and Culture Foundation and the assistance of the Board of Directors of Zhongying Geng Fund that the China Construction Society was established and operated for more than ten years. The excavation of Zhoukoudian relies on the funds provided by the Rockefeller Foundation of the United States. However, when the unearthed results are less and less, the funds are increasingly scarce. In 1936, the Cenozoic Research Laboratory of the Institute of Geological Survey was in jeopardy and could close at any time. It was the discovery of three “Peking Man” skulls by Jialanpo that saved the academic institution.

After the outbreak of the war, the situation worsened. In Kunming, Dong Zuobin and Hu Houxuan were preparing to rub the oracle bones with characters unearthed in the YH127 pit of the Yin Ruins, but they could not find enough rice paper. After Chen Yinke finished writing the “Draft of Yuanbai Poetry Papers”, he did not have any suitable manuscript paper to transcribe, so he had to write a letter to his colleagues at the Institute of History and Language for help. In order to maintain the operation of the China Construction Society, Liang Sicheng went to Chongqing again and again to ask for help from various government departments. In the first half of his life, he had no worries about food and clothing, and he had no intention of making a career. In the second half of his life, he had to put down his self-esteem, deal with bureaucrats, and seek alms everywhere. When Xie Jiarong and others conducted geological surveys, they made up their minds, “We can do everything ourselves when necessary, and we will keep the rest of the money for field surveys. We only need to eat and not get paid, we should have this hard-working spirit as a student of geology.”

In the past 20 to 30 years, Chinese scholars have undoubtedly survived in a desperate situation, broke through the encirclement in Chen Jian, and finally stepped out on a new road in the wilderness.

The “Golden Era” of Internal and External Troubles

Most of this group of modern Xu Xiake and Song Yingxing have decent identities and a lot of income, but they would rather go to the wilderness, running around in the mud and roughness. The unarmed scholar must learn to deal with various challenges, sometimes riding a mule cart, sometimes walking through the glaciers barefoot, sometimes sleeping in a tent, and being able to live in a cowshed is a blessing. Food may not be found along the way, drinking water is also a big problem, and microbes floating on the water often keep them away. They have dived into the ground dozens of meters deep, holding oil lamps, lighting candles, enduring endless loneliness, and looking for clues in the accumulation of dirt. They have encountered landslides and lived with explosives day and night. They often climb buildings tens of meters high, survey and take pictures, and they may fall from a height if they are not careful. They lost their way in the deep valleys, and they nearly broke into the plague zone in the mountains.

Of course, life is fragile, things are fickle, and more cruel challenges await them. Yuan Fuli excavated dinosaur fossils in the ice and snow in Xinjiang, and his feet were frostbitten. After the excavation was over, he returned to Urumqi before he was able to perform surgery and recovered after three months of recuperation; Liang Siyong was ill to excavate the Yin Ruins and was seriously ill and was bedridden for two years. ; Weng Wenhao went to Zhejiang to inspect oil, and was killed in a car accident; 28-year-old Wu Xi was exploring coal mines in western Hunan, but he was also involved in a car accident, but could not wake up; Ding Wenjiang was exploring coal mines in Hunan and was killed by gas poisoning; In Yunnan, Xu Deyou, Chen Kang, and Ma Yisi were all shot and killed by bandits in Guizhou; Fu Huidi was killed by Japanese troops in southern Gansu……

This is an era of great discovery, but it is also an era of great turmoil. Frequent natural disasters and constant wars have plagued poor and weak countries and devoured their lives. A few heavy rains were enough to suspend the excavation of Zhoukoudian for a few weeks, and the study tour of the China Construction Institute continued to be postponed.

War is the bigger threat. In 1927, Li Ji went to Shaanxi for inspection. Due to the Northern Expedition, he had to make a detour around half of China, first going north to Dalian, then to Shanghai by boat, then turning to Hankou, and then going north from Hankou. Also in this year, the Geological Survey began to excavate Zhoukoudian on a large scale, and there were frequent cannonballs nearby. From time to time soldiers would suddenly appear, occupying the caves they had dug up and experimenting with grenades. The Gansu warlords mistook the hydrogen pipes carried by the Northwest Scientific Expedition Team as cannons, mistaking them for Zhang Zuolin’s army, and immediately detained the scholars of the scientific expedition team. After Yang Zengxin, the then chairman of Xinjiang Province, was assassinated, his successor Jin Shuren obstructed the delegation in every possible way, causing the scientific expedition to a deadlock for a time. 1933 年,梁思成前往正定调查古建筑,却发现火车上全都是军人。滦东战事困扰着整个行程,他担心北平遭到轰炸,不得不压缩原定计划,随时准备返程。

军阀混战之后,是更加残酷的抗日战争和长达八年的流亡岁月。他们匆匆踏上南迁之路,不幸的是,多年来各自收集的珍稀书籍、资料、记录的笔记乃至书稿,却大多在离乱中散佚。由于部署周密,许多珍贵的文物得以保全,但并非所有文物都这样幸运:“北京人”头骨化石在秘密运往美国途中不知所踪;中国营造学社存放在天津麦加利银行地下金库里的底片,基本毁于洪水,只有一批测绘图稿和胶片经过小心的整理、晾晒,勉强得以保全;袁复礼在西北考察时收集的十七箱标本全部遗失,他的《蒙新考查五年记》的新疆部分也被弄丢了;史语所在安上村曹王墓发掘的出土物在济南被毁,考察报告在九龙被烧尽。许多年后董作宾仍耿耿于怀,“新材料完全损失了,而且永远损失了” 。



傅斯年(1896 年3 月26 日-1950 年12 月20 日),字孟真,山东聊城人。历史学家、学术领导人、五四运动学生领袖之一、中央研究院历史语言研究所所长。他提出“上穷碧落下黄泉,动手动脚找东西”之原则影响深远。




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