Many people thought that the patterns on the pots and other artifacts were purely for decoration or to include the tribe’s symbols. Shao Xuan felt the same before, but, after some experience with them, Shao Xuan found that the patterns contain a lot of mysterious things.
Therefore, as he faced this cauldron, Shao Xuan thought that it would show all about an Anba City slave owner’s great achievements, heroic deeds and such. Or maybe a record of some commemorative events, but when he carefully observed, he only found that there were many parts he couldn’t understand.
For now, he could understand just the words containing some of the glorious history of Anba. Although there were a few words he couldn’t understand, it did not affect his understanding of the phrase as that was just a praise of the ancient Anba tribe, as well as a few words of congratulations. There were also the cloud patterns on the cauldron that seem to act as decorations- however, they were giving Shao Xuan a very weird feeling.
There were many tribes who liked to use cloud patterns back on the other side, probably because these vortex clouds could be used as both a decoration or background filling. However, it also had a structural complexity and mystique, giving way to a casual and diverse style. This cloud-decorated flat cauldron had its upper end full of these cloud patterns that were more slender and complex. Each of the cloud vortex swirled towards the center, some like cirrus clouds, some like cumulus clouds. Several patterns were composed of simple swirls continuously going up and down and repeatedly overlapping each other but in a more natural way.
It was much more complex than the cloud patterns used by the tribes on the other side. It was the most complex natural cloud pattern Shao Xuan has ever seen.
At first glance, this pattern was very beautiful, but there were no big designs like those larger words to attract people. However, as you stared at those cloud swirls, it drew you in. It was an inexplicable sense of visual shock.
As decorations, their purpose has been achieved, but was it really made just for that?
Shao Xuan stared at the decorations on the cauldron’s body for a while. He wanted to copy those complex and dense clouds, but there was no paper or anything like that around him. Using animal skin was too extravagant, so Shao Xuan got up to go out and found some long, wide leaves. He brushed paint on the designs on the cauldron, then used the leaves to print it on and wait for the pattern to appear clear on the leaves. Shao Xuan then transferred the painted clouds on a piece of cloth.
The cloud patterns were not only on the three-legged cauldron’s body but also on its feet. There were also cloud patterns there but unlike the slender and complex ones on the body, the patterns on the feet were thicker, appearing more prominent.
Shao Xuan also printed the patterns on the feet one by one, then slowly studied them.
He heard that the man who made the cauldron was a Xia person, who liked cloud patterns. As far as Shao Xuan knew, the cloud pattern was one of the earliest patterns produced. It seems that every tribe that uses cloud patterns has a very long history.
The flame pattern of the Flaming Horns tribe was made in the earlier times too. However its use was not as wide as the cloud patterns, because the cloud patterns have equilibrium. It has a sense of movement and harmony that its continuous and overlapping lines would not appear abrupt. It was only that it was casted by the Xia people, hence, the cloud patterns seem to contain something more.
Nothing was going on with the tribe, as it’s almost winter. There would also be fewer outings, so Shao Xuan had more free time to study these.
After copying all the cloud lines on the cauldron’s body on two pieces of cloth, Shao Xuan also went to the shamaness to ask her for some of the older records on Xia. It’s just that the shamaness didn’t know much, and could only lend records from the ancestors from hundreds of years ago. The problem was that these records handed down were mostly written by the shamaness using the text on the other side, rather than the local text on this side.
Unable to get much help he wanted from the shamaness, Shao Xuan could only ponder to himself first.
As he studied these clouds, Shao Xuan felt as if he was back to the time he was learning divination through knot prediction. Everything in the world was full of order and rules, whether it is the beasts in the forest, or the people from various places. The physical functions of the body ran smoothly because there was order.
A person’s audio, visual, smell and other perceptions also have their own functions that are kept in order by the brain. It could exert even a slight influence on people’s creativity, resulting in a variety in arts and skills. This sense of order has also formed the creation of the symbols and patterns, like the cloud patterns Shao Xuan was now looking at.
Much the same but not as messy.
People who created such complex and natural cloud-lined graphics must also pursue a sense of balance and order in their creations, so that this kind of cloud pattern on the cauldron’s body could be produced.
So, under that order, in the end, what did such a complex combination of cloud patterns stand for?
Shao Xuan stared at those cloud lines all day but still failed to see anything. After not much progress, Shao Xuan went to the woods to pick up some leaves. The leaves that fell on the ground had yellowed but had not withered yet. The leaves were wider, each piece larger than the palm of an adult, and thicker.
After picking up the leaves and returning, he dried them up to save as spare.
At the same time, Shao Xuan also made a square sand tray. The tray of sand was about a meter square in area, he used a sieve to get sand fine enough for drawing. Then, with a branch, he drew in the sand tray.
The clouds looked very complex together so Shao Xuan attempted to divide the pattern into a few sections. He drew them all separately in the sand tray. Just like that, he then drew individual patterns on a leaf too.
It took five days for Shao Xuan to copy the patterns on the cauldron. It was just the beginning of disassembling and assembling the patterns. He didn’t know if it was right as he had no way to compare if it was right or wrong. If there was a more complex pattern, it was even harder for Shao Xuan to interpret it.
For five days, he had spent all those times on dismantling and analyzing the clouds, except for eating and drinking and taking care of his body needs. When he finally finished painting the last cloud, Shao Xuan was tired. The shadows under his eyes were more obvious. After eating a large pot of boiled broth and a good night’s sleep, he came out of his house.
The sunshine outside was not as bright as it used to be. But for Shao Xuan, who had been in the house for five days, it was glaring.
As he went back inside, Shao Xuan was planning to go to the other places at the foot of the mountain to relax his nerves. His muscles had been tight from not moving much, so perhaps a walk around would also give him a little inspiration.
Recently the weather has been getting cooler and the temperature change compared to the previous day could be felt almost every day.
Looking at the mountains in the distance, one could see that a lot of yellowish trees from five days ago were now more sparse.
People who had gone out trading recently have come back too. It was not just Duo Kang with the people who went to Anba City to trade that went out. There were also those who went to other tribes to trade silk fabrics or something else.
As he walked along, Shao Xuan saw some meat hung outside to dry. At every door, there were lots of good quality meat hanging.
When he saw a familiar figure, Shao Xuan shouted, “Zhao Ming, what are you doing?”
Holding the big fruit on his head as he was going inside the house, Zhao Ming heard the voice and turned to Shao Xuan happily. “Shao Xuan… Elder!”
Shao Xuan looked at the fruits Zhao Ming was carrying. These were a species the tribes rarely ate. “What are these? For soup?”
Some of the fruits were not eaten directly but used as seasoning for soup.
“No, it’s for the tapirs.” Zhao Ming corrected him.
Shao Xuan remembered. When they hunted, he brought back a litter of tapir with even an adult one with the small ones for Zhao Ming to raise.
“What about your brother? Not home?” Shao Xuan swept his gaze to the house and did not see the adults.
“He’s chopping wood with the others.”
Zhao Ming then took Shao Xuan to see the tapirs he had raised. The small tapir cubs Shao Xuan brought back had grown bigger. Their hair had also grown longer and thicker. With the weather getting colder, the tapir’s body would have more hair, which was more suited to cold.
Seeing Shao Xuan come over, all the cubs squeezed to their mother’s side. They nestled in the pieces of branches and withered grass in the corner.
“Very good spirit. They’re well raised and would grow a little bigger once they eat more.” Shao Xuan looked at the tapirs.
“Xiaobi’s mother said that these tapirs would grow faster after winter. They’d eat less in winter and grow slowly.” Remembering something, Zhao Ming happily added, “But when they grow up, I won’t eat them.”
“Why?” Shao Xuan wondered. Don’t these little kids often watch the captive beasts while drooling? Why won’t you eat it this time?
Zhao Ming smiled wide with his white teeth showing but did not answer. However, in his face, there appeared some faint tattoo. The tattoo was gradually deepening, not as fast as Shao Xuan, but it was indeed steadily deepening.
“Totemic patterns?!” Shao Xuan was surprised, then smiled. “Congratulations, you’re about to become a totem warrior.”
Although he had heard it from others before, it was Shao Xuan’s first time meeting a tribesman who had not awakened at the ritual. Perhaps this was the difference that came with the disappearance of the fire seed. The fire has been incorporated into the blood of every Flaming Horns tribesmen. As long as they had touched the boundaries of awakening, the power of the fire in their blood would help them awaken at any time without waiting for a ritual.
As for Zhao Ming saying, he would not eat the tapirs, of course it was because, after becoming a totemic warrior, he could eat some of the higher level beasts, such as the fierce beasts.
If there was no food to eat, he could change something else with other people and would not lose out.
After a circle around the mountain, Shao Xuan was carrying a large bundle of firewood to Guangyi.
Before, because Shao Xuan never went out, looking like he was busy with something, everyone did not disturb him. Now, seeing Shao Xuan out wandering, they called him up the mountain to talk.
After getting along for a long time, despite Guangyi’s face blindness, he finally had an impression of Shao Xuan. Even if Shao Xuan’s face was still blurred to him, as long as he saw Shao Xuan wearing the bone ornaments, he could recognize him.
“Winter is coming. The shamaness says snow will start falling in three days, so the chief is negotiating to go out for winter hunting in two days.” Guangyi told Shao Xuan.
Generally speaking, the winter on this side was at its beginning. When there was no heavy snowfall, the tribe would organize a hunt. Once the snow fell, they wouldn’t go out.
After going up the hill, Shao Xuan was asked by Duo Kang not to join the winter hunt. Winter hunting was more dangerous, and not everyone was fit for it.
“Let me go hunt.” He also wanted to take the opportunity to hunt a better prey and make a sacrificial animal cloth to attend the ritual.
The winter here was not too long. After the end of winter, there would be the most important ritual of the year. This was the first ritual Shao Xuan would attend since coming here.