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A History of
Chinese Civilization


Overview | History | Geography & Maps | Art & Culture | Shamanism | Peoples

China is a large and diverse country with an ancient civilization that influenced its neighbors, including Korea and Japan to the east and Siberia to north. Pottery, bronze, iron, and other art and artifacts, as well as religious ideas including shamanism and related symbols were carried into northeast Siberia. These influenced the region's cultures including those of the Chukchi, Koryak and Siberian Eskimo.

Here are resources focusing on Shang and Chou Dynasty cultures, their influence on the cultures of Siberia, and on the dogs of East Asia.

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The Cambridge
Illustrated History
of China


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Cambridge History
of Ancient China:
From the Origins of
Civilization to 221 BC


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Sources of Shang History: The Oracle Bone Inscriptions of Bronze Age China


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The Ancestral
Landscape: Time,
Space, and Community in Late
Shang China,
Ca. 1200-1045 B.C


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China: Its History
and Culture


Guide to Pottery


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China: A
New History


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China: Empire
and Civilization


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Chinese Potter: A
Practical History of
Chinese Ceramics


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China's Imperial Past:
An Introduction to
Chinese History
and Culture


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The Manchus (The Peoples of Asia)


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The Archaeology of
Northeast China: Beyond the
Great Wall


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Radiant Stones:
Archaic Chinese


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History of
Jade in China

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Jades of the
Liangzhu Culture


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A Brief History of Chinese Civilization


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Rise of Civilization
in East Asia


China: Overview
  [ Top ]

Introduction to China:  history, dynasties, geography, regions, peoples, society, economy, transportation, more, from the Library of Congress

Overview of Chinese History and China: The World's Oldest Civilization

China: History & Timelines   [ Top ]

Ancient China:  Neolithic and Bronze Age cultures, Xia, Shang and Zhou

Xiaohexi Site: 8,500-year-old site in Chifeng City, north China's Inner Mongolia, is the earliest prehistoric site in northeast China, with pottery mugs and vases without decoration, sculpture, polished stone tools

Xinglongwa Culture: 8,200-year-old village in north China's Inner Mongolia is the oldest in China, found in the Xinglonggou Site near the Xiliao River with 150 house sites, pottery, jade, shells, grinding implements

Chinese History Chronologies: a 4,000-year look at Chinese history starting with Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties, outlining both traditional dynasties as well as histories based on political, economic changes

Chinese Dynasties 2000 BC - 1911 AD: Xia, Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han, Sui, Tang, Sung, Jin, Lioa, Yuan, Ming, Qing or Manchu - and a look at the major political and cultural events of each time period

Chinese Dynasty Maps: showing territory ruled by the Zhou [NE China much like Shang], then Qin, Han, Tang, Sung, Yuan, Ming, Qing, including a map comparing Shang and Zhou regions

Guide to China's Dynasties: after the Neolithic, the dynasties from Shang to Western and Eastern Chou [Zhou] to Ch'ing - 3000 BC to 1912 AD

Shang Dynasty 1700-1050 BC: the rise of Chinese civilization begins with bronze manufacturing, military might with horse-drawn chariots and composite bows and arrows, agriculture, and complex religious rituals, early writing on oracle bones, art including jade amulets and ritual blades, with fierce monster mask of Taotie found on bronze vessels

Zhou Dynasty 1050-256 BC: the next Bronze Age period in China

Explore China's dynasties, culture, philosophy, politics in depth:
· The Shang
- earliest Yellow River culture with archaeological evidence,
   including a look at religion, rituals, bronze, oracle bones, writing

· The Chou - conquered Shang territories, built alliances; includes the
  “mandate of Heaven,” government, armies, philosophy, population growth

· The Chin - 15-year dynasty expanded south, creating the first united
   Chinese Empire; includes impact of the horse-riding steppe people

· The Han - long dynasty reunified China after wars, and fostered the
   culture known as Chinese.  At ca. 50 A.D., China attacked northern
   Hsiung Nu or Huns, sending them north and west into Russia, Europe;
   expanded the Silk Road. Also Later Han, Han Synthesis of ideas
· Later periods: The Sui, The T'ang, The Late Empire & The Sung

The Yuan - Mongol Empire, built by Ghengis Khan, by 1241 included all
  of Northern China; grandson Kublai Khan became emperor, moved his
  capital to Beijing, recaptured southern China. After a period of famine,
  a Chinese peasant led an uprising against the Yuan, drove them out and
  established the Ming Dynasty that lasted until 1644.

China: Geology, Geography & Maps   [ Top ]

Geography of China:  eight regions of China from the Tibetan highlands to the eastern lowlands, plus the mountains, rivers and lakes, more, with map

Geography of China: population, ethnic groups, climate, terrain, more

China's Geography - Facts & Figures: size, borders, climate, terrain,more

China's Geography: information and a study plan for classroooms

Maps of China: five maps provide a look at China's location in Asia, mountains, rivers, cities, Mongolia, Lake Baikal and Siberia, more

Map of Russian Far East next to China: map provides a look at China's eastern neighbor, the RFE from Sakahlin Island to the Bering Strait

Chinese Dynasty Maps: showing territory of various rulers

Maps of China - Neolithic & Links to Maps by Dynasty including:
· Shang Dynasty Map
· Western Chou or Zhou Dynasty Map
Eastern Chou or Zhou Dynasty Map

Geography of Russia & Siberia: China's northern neighbor Russia, including Siberia, is 1.8 times the size of the USA

Large Map of China: with provinces, cities, major rivers, and a map with provinces, and a colorful map with provinces, neighboring countries

The People of China   [ Top ]

China is People:  in fact, 1.3 billion people

China's People: while more than 90 percent of Chinese people today are of the Han ethnic group, there are 55 national minorities

List of 56 Chinese Ethnic Groups: including:
· Han Chinese: the dominant group, the name from the Han dynasty
· Mongols: people of Mongolia, now northern China
· Manchu: people of northeast China who briefly ruled the countrya

Chinese Minority Groups: a brief history of the civilized Han Chinese and their contacts with the nomadic Mongols and others, and a list of the minority groups with population numbers from the 1990 census, including:
· Mongols: Ghengis Khan was a Mongol, ruled an empire including China,
· Manchu: of northeast China, once called Manchuria

People from China's Many Ethnic Groups: with profiles for each group

Ancient Art & Culture   [ Top ]

China's Art Across the Ages:  from painted Neolithic pottery to Shang Dynasty jade mask to pottery striding horse to Han Dynasty curled-tail dog of pottery  [ see large image ] from burial of Emperor Jingdi

Pottery from Neolithic China: including a tripod vase in black pottery, in the shape of an owl - a popular image - from the Yangshao Culture, and more pottery from China's Neolithic and from Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

Ancient Pottery Reveals Wine: 8,000-9,000-year-old pottery from Jiahu in northern China  revealed traces of a fermented beverage of rice, honey and fruit, likely hawthorn or wild grape, while 3,000-year-old sealed bronze vessels from Anyang yielded liquid rice or millet wine

See also Guide to Pottery from the earliest times in China, Japan, Siberia, as well as the Americas

Pottery from China: various Neolithic styles, including Longshan Banpo and painted pottery, plus Neolithic ceramics and pieces from Warring States period, and the horse in ancient China

Chinese Pottery & Ceramics: illustrated with examples from early Dawenkou and Longshan cultures to Song, Jin and Yuan dynasties

Chinese Artifacts: from early Neolithic stone tools and a pottery pig, to Neolithic pottery, Shang bronzes including a vessel in the shape of an owl [see pottery owl above], a Shang bronze mirror, a Zin bronze mirror in circle shape with raised dot, Han Dynasty clay warriors, much more

China's Arts - Chronologically: from Yang Shao pottery to bronze ritual vessels to jade daggers and scepters, a rare bronze vessel in owl form, a p'an or shallow vessel with beasts, and more from various dynasties, and the evolution of the pen or p'an or shallow tray

China's Art & Antiquities: painted pottery, bronze vessels, jade, paintings, and more, plus a guide to China Knowledge in arts, culture, history

China's Art & Artifacts: from bronze vessels to terra cotta figurines, Shang to Tang dynasties, plus wood and pottery figurines and artifacts such as a Han Dynasty terra cotta curled-tail dog [ see large image ]

Han Dynasty Pottery Dog: reclining, curled-tail, semi-erect ears of type found in burials [see large image ]; another Han dog and other animals, a pottery Chow-type dog with suggestion of a harness, a clay tomb dog, a seated Han pottery dog [ see side view for curled tail ], an example of a pottery snarling dog, a standing dog, and more on China's pottery dogs and how clay replicas replaced real grave goods

China's Cultural Achievements 5000 BC: pottery, agriculture including foxtail and broomcorn millet, pigs, dogs, chickens, more

Cultural Images from China: various maps, images from art, archaeology, religion including Shang period oracle bones, ritual bronze vessels, more

Ancient Bronze Age of China: pictures, descriptions of wine and food vessels, decorative animals including ram's head, dragons, and the animal or beast mask called t’aot’ie, and more early bronze objects from Xia, Shang and Zhou, and the evolution of the taotie mask

Bronze Vessels: browse Art/Handicrafts to find pictures, descriptions of Shang ritual bronze vessels for food and wine: ding, li, gui, jue, jia, pan, you, zun, others, plus Shang & Tang bronzes including jue, ting

China - 5,000 Years: jade, bronze, grave goods, ceramics, painting, more - each shown from several early Chinese dynasties, including Zhou jade burial mask reminiscent of Ipiutak ivory burial mask from Bering Strait

Earliest Jadeware in China: serpentine stoneware discovered in Haicheng of Liaoning Province, 12,000 years old, may be the oldest jadeware, plus a look at jade of the Shang, Qin, Han dynasties, more

Ancient Chinese Jade - An Introduction and also including:
· Neolithic Jade as early as 7000 BC
· Shang to Western Chou Jade
· Eastern Chou to Han Jade
· Early Bi or Pi Disk and a Jade Disk with Spirit Animals

Early Jade Artifacts in China: 8,000-year old site in Inner Mongolia - Xinglonggou Ruins, Aohan Banner, Chifeng City - had jade artifacts

Enduring Art of Jade Age China: carvings of a jade stag, dagger with bird motif, masked human, more - all nephrite jade

History of Ancient Jade in China: a 6,500-year history illustrated with a jade ax and animal and bird figurines, the bi disk, cong which could have carved faces with round eyes, jade burial garments, more

Jade Objects: select "Jade & other stones" for pictures, descriptions of many Shang jades including bi disk, cong, huan. pei, later period pieces, and a carved jade mask from the Qin dynasty

China's Neolithic Art: painted pottery, jade bi disk, followed by:
· Shang Dynasty Art: 2,000-1,000 BC, pottery, bronze, jade
· Zhou & Han Dynasties: 1,000 BC - 1 AD, jade, bronze vessels, bells
· Eastern Han Dynasty: 1 - 500 AD, stoneware with celadon glaze
· Tang & Song Dynasties: 500 - 1,000 AD, tomb guardian, painting

Shang Dynasty Cultural Developments: raising of silkworms, pigs, dogs, pigs, sheep, oxen, grain-growing, bronze casting, religious rituals including dogs buried in tombs of wealthy, powerful people, and sea shells showing trade with coastal peoples, while discoveries of oracle bones with writing in East China's Shandong Province also shows cultural elements moved east

Dogs in Shang Dynasty China:  dogs were used as offerings to the gods, spirits, and were included in Shang era burials including royal ones

Treasures from a Lost Civiliation: ancient art from Sanxingdui, Sichuan, including rare bronze masks, statues, more, Shang period and later

China: 100 Treasures: selections of ancient art from different regions including bronze wine vessel, Sanxingdui bronze head, terra-cotta army of the first emperor, near X'ian, more - and an exhibit introduction

Splendors of Imperial China: selections of art from various dynasties including a treasure box with inlaid bi or pi disk

Chinese Imari ceramics - from the 1700s

Chinese Canton Blue and White Pottery: from the 1800s

Importance of Trade to Chinese Art and Oriental Architecture: buildings of China, India, more, including charts and photographs

Relics of Chinese Ethnic Groups: from a Mongol wedding headdress to a Hazhen fishskin jacket to a Zhuang bronze drum, more

Guide to China's Culture: many links to online resources, some defunct

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Bronze Mirrors
from Ancient China

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Three Thousand Years of
Chinese Painting


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Jades of the
Liangzhu Culture

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The Arts
of China

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Shamanic Worlds:
Rituals and Lore
of Siberia and
Central Asia


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The Shaman's Coat:
A Native History
of Siberia


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Shamans and Elders:
Knowledge, and
Power Among the
Daur Mongols


Ancient Religion, Ritual & Shamanism   [ Top ]

Early Chinese Religion: the importance of funeral ritual and the role of shaman or priest during the Shang dynasty in interpreting oracle bones

Shang China Ritual Masks: symbolizing transformations between the human and animal spirit realm, an element of shamanistic foundation of Shang religion, and a look at the origin of the Shang dynasty name

Spirit Mediums in Early China:  Zhou or Chou dynasty figures perhaps descended from Shang court shamanism

Shamanism in China: relationship to animism, influence of Shang Dynasty, Mongolian shamanism, importance of balance and harmony

Shamanism in Siberia: excerpts from the influential work, "Aborginal Siberia," by M.A. Czaplicak, 1914, featuring picture of the Ainu "bear feast" and a link to a map of Siberian peoples

People of Siberia: 14 native peoples of northern Siberia from the Chukchi and Koryak to Samoyed peoples, including their religious life
· shamanism and
objects for religious life
· shaman's coat & bird symbolism and
shaman's coat

Indigenous People of Siberia: native dress, lifeways for the Evens, Evenki and Dolgans of Eastern Siberia, various peoples of Western Siberia, as well as illustrations of shamans and their masks & bird figurines

Siberia: China's Northern Neighbor   [ Top ]

Map of Asia: plus country maps including the Russian Federation and a large map of Russia & Siberia with mountain ranges, plains, cities

Map of Russia & Siberia: with, west to east, the Ob, Irtysh and Lena Rivers as well as Lake Baikal, the Amur River and Bering Strait

Map of Siberia: with the route of the Trans-Siberian Express, the railway from Moscow to Vladivostok, and more on the Trans-Siberian Express trip

Map of Siberia: topographical map of mountains, rivers, and a topo map with mountain ranges and native peoples shown by using mouse

Maps of Siberia's Forests: including intact forests by region

Map of Eastern Siberia: see the Chukchi Peninsula, Kamchatka Peninsula, Sakhalin Island and Alaska in relation to each other

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Ainu: Spirit of a
Northern People


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Spirit of Siberia:
Traditional Native Life,
Clothing and Footwear


Clink link to order Drawing Shadows to Stone
Drawing Shadows to Stone:
Photography of the Jesup
North Pacific Expedition

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East of the Sun:
The Epic Conquest
and Tragic History
of Siberia


Clink link to order Antler on the Sea
Antler on the Sea:
The Yup'ik and Chukchi of the
Russian Far East


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Raven and the
Rock: Storytelling
in Chukotka


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Gaining Ground?
Evenkis, Land
and Reform in
Southeast Siberia


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Identity & Ecology
in Arctic Siberia:
The Number One
Reindeer Brigrade


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Siberian Survival:
The Nenets and
Their Story


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First Fish, First
People: Salmon Tales
of the North
Pacific Rim

Story of the Ainu,
Ulchi, Nivkh,Salish,
Makah, Spokane
and more


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The Vanishing Tungus: The Story
of a Remarkable
Reindeer People


Clink link to order A History of the Peoples of Siberia
A History of the Peoples of Siberia:
Russia's North Asian
Colony 1581-1990


Native People of Siberia   [ Top ]

Northeast & Eastern Siberia

Ainu: native people originally of Sakhalin Island, the Kurile Islands and Hokkaido, Japan's northern Island, including the bear ceremonial, and more on Ainu Origins,  and links between ancient Jomon and the Ainu

Ainu People from North Japan: photos and fishing techniques, and more on the Ainu of Sakhalin Island

Chukchee People and Culture: the maritime and reindeer peoples, and more on the life of the reindeer Chukchi, with many pictures

Chukchi: from the Centre for Russian Studies, Norway, and more about the peoples of Russia & Siberia

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Chukchi & Neighbors:  people & environment, from WorkingDogWeb

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Chukchi Origins: what recent genetic research tells us, through mtDNA and Y chromosome research, from WorkingDogWeb

star-red.gif (881 bytes) Chukchi Origins in the Paleolithic: origins of Native Siberians and Native Americans, seen in archaeology, from WorkingDogWeb

Chukchi Photographs: and 130 photographs including sled dog teams, a pair of dogs helping a hunter haul home a seal, hunters and sled dogs

Chukotka: an ethnographic site with map, facts, photos including the Anadyr River, communities, reindeer camps, people

Crossroads of Continents Exhibit: Siberia & Alaska - meet the Chukchi, Koryak, Even, Amur River people in Siberia, Eskimo, Aleut, more

Ekven burial ground & settlement - Uelen, Chukotka: this 500 BC to 1000 AD site gives a look at Early Whale Hunter cultures, includes walrus ivory tools, human burial in a boat, dog burial. Ekven shamaness burial.

Evenk or Evenki: a people perhaps established through intermixing of Tungus and Yukagir people before the Russians arrived

Even & Itelmen of Western Kamchatka: a researcher studies their culture after the Soviet Union ended; photos of Even reindeer people

Itelmen: native people of Kamchatka, and more on the ancient Itelmen

Jesup Expedition to Northeast Siberia:  photographs of North Pacific peoples including the Ainu, Chukchi, and Itelmen of Siberia

Koryaks: history, language, culture of Koryaks, Chukchi's neighbors to the south, with photos of Koryak sled dogs, and a look at Kamchatka's Koryak and Itelmen and Evenk influence on Koryak reindeer herders

Native Peoples of Siberia: Chukchi of Northeast Siberia, and the Ainu, Itelmen and Nivkh of Kamchatka and the Lower Amur River region, with many other peoples of this vast region

Orochon or Orochi - Reindeer People of the Amur: a Tungus people, hunters and breeders of reindeer, who also hunted bear - many photos including Orochi, Koryak, Yukagir, with native dogs pictured

Peoples of the Russian North and Far East:  resources about the North Pacific peoples including the Chukchi, Koryak, Evenki and more

Rock Art in Russian Far East & Siberia: a window on ancient cultures, and comparison of Siberian native art from the Amur River, Even and Yukaghir peoples, Koryaks and the Chukotka area with the Chukchi and Siberian Eskimo peoples, and art of Alaskan Eskimo the showing the skeletonized figures so typical of Siberia

Native Siberian Art: contemporary artist of Western Siberia

Yukagir: an ancient Siberian people, western neighbors of the Chukchi, and a short history of the Yukagir who once occupied a vast region

Western & Southern Siberia & Nearby Areas    [ Top ]

Cave Art in Siberia: changes in rock art in Southern Siberia over time reveals history, migrations

Indigenous People of Western Siberia: Finno-Ugrian, Ob-Ugrian & Khanty

Krasnoyarsk Peoples: peoples from the Siberian steppe north to the Taimyr Peninsula - Kets, Nagansans, Selkups, Samoyeds, more

Reindeer Herders of Siberia - Nenets: people of northwest Siberia near the Yamal Peninula

Reindeer People of the Mountain Taiga of Central Asia:  Tsaatan, Todji-Tuvin, Soyot, and Tofilar peoples, and the Evenki, with maps

Reindeer & Caribou: Rangifer tandarus, a vital source of  transportation and food for native peoples of Eurasia, and Reindeer Herding History

Sami People: reindeer herders of Scandinavia, and People of Sun & Wind and their history, and Sami history as ancient reindeer hunters, and reindeer herding origins among Saami, Scandinavians 2,000 years ago

Sami People: herders of semi-domestic reindeer for 1,000-1,500 years, and adoption of large-scale reindeer herding in 16th, 17th centuries

Uralic-speaking Peoples: Nenets, Nagansans, Selkup, Kanty, Mansi, with a map, and another map of Uralic-speaking people in Western Eurasia, some of whom are reindeer people, and more on their cultures and languages

Peoples of Lake Baikal: Buryat, Evenk and Russian settlers, and the region's archaeological sites

Maps & Overview of Native People of Siberia    [ Top ]

Map of Aboriginal Peoples of Siberia: including Paleo-Siberian, Altaic,  and Uralic, with main rivers

Map of Indigenous Ethic Groups: home areas for the Siberian Tundra Nentsi, Forest Nentsi, Selkups, Siberian Komi, Altais, Kets, Yakuts, Buryats, Evenks and Evens, Yukagirs, Chukchi and Asiatic Eskimos

Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire: info on 85 peoples of Russia and Siberia, Chukchi, Koryak, Itelmen, Eskimo, Yukagir, Evenks

Russian Association of Indigenous Peoples of the North: news, events, library and a database on the origin,history and cultures of many peoples

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Clink link to order Ancient People of the Arctic
Ancient People
of the Arctic

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Shyaan Am!:
Tuvan Folk Tales


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Ancient Horsemen
of Siberia

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Baikal: Sacred
Sea of Siberia

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Origins of
Pottery in Asia

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