The Dian Kingdom was one of several Bronze Age polities in what is today Yunnan Province, China when the Han Dynasty conquered the region in 109 BC, during their rise to power.
This bronze jar held cowrie shells, and is of a characteristic theme of the Dian culture ceramic sculpture called "tiger and bulls". Excavated from the Jinning cemetery in Yunnan province, China. Photo by Editor-at-Large
Archaeological evidence so far of the Dian Kingdom settlements shows neither palaces nor permanent buildings, but rather a collection of lake dwellings on wooden pilings, located on the shores of Lakes Dian and Fuxian. Investigations of their cemeteries, nearly 1,000 burials excavated so far, reveals a sophisticated level of craft specialization in gold, iron and bronze working, a hierarchical ranked structure and trade connections with the Vietnamese Bronze Age culture of Dongson.