Heishui Mohe

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The Heishui Mohe or Heuksu Malgal also called Black-River Mohe (黑水靺鞨; pinyin: Hēishuǐ Mòhé; Jurchen/manchu: sahaliyan i aiman 薩哈廉部), were the most feared among the Mohe tribes. They lived in Outer Manchuria, along the Hei Shui ("black river" 黑水), within today's Khabarovsk Krai, Jewish Autonomous Oblast and Amur Oblast of Russia and the northern part of China's Heilongjiang Province. The southern Heishui Mohe were submitted by King Seon of Balhae who administrated their territory. But most of them remained independent. The Heshui Mohe were the ancestors of the Jurchen people, who were in turn the ancestors of the Manchu people.

When the Liao (Khitan) Empire conquered Balhae in 926, the Heishui Mohe tribes that became incorporated into the Liao were called Shu Jurchen (熟女眞; ) literally, Familiar or Tamed Jurchens, who were the ancestor of the "Cultured Manchu": the Jianzhou Jurchens and the Haixi Jurchens.[1] The remaining Heishui Mohe tribes, who were not incorporated into the Liao, were called Sheng Jurchens (生女眞; ) literally, Unfamiliar or Wild Jurchens, who were the ancestors of the "Barbarian Manchu": the Yeren Jurchens (野人女眞).

Notable Chieftains[edit]


The Mohe enjoyed eating pork, practiced pig farming extensively, and were mainly sedentary,[2] and also used both pig and dog skins for coats. They were predominantly farmers and grew soybean, wheat, millet, and rice, in addition to engaging in hunting.[3]

Although their Mohe ancestors did not respect dogs, the Jurchen began to respect dogs around the time of the Ming dynasty, and passed this tradition on to the Manchu. It was prohibited in Jurchen culture to use dog skin, and forbidden for Jurchens to harm, kill, or eat dogs. The Jurchens believed that the use of dog skin by Koreans was the "utmost evil".[4]

Archaeologhical exploration[edit]

Modern archaeologists on both sides of the Amur/Heilongjiang River have made a number of conclusions about the correspondence of the discovered arcaheological cultures to the ethnic groups known from ancient records. According to Russian archaeologists, prior to about the second half of the 7th century AD the Lesser Khingan mountain range formed a natural boundary between two groups of archaeological cultures. West of the range, the Talakan Culture (талаканская культура) was succeeded by the Mikhailovskaya Culture (михайловская культура), which has been identified with the Mongolic-speaking Shiwei people. East of the range, the Poltsevo Culture (польцевская культура) and the Naifeld Group (найфельдская группы, also known as Tongzhen Culture based on the findings on the Chinese side of the River) of the Mohe Culture was found; the latter was identified with the Tungusic Heishui Mohe people.[5]

According to the archeological evidence, during the late 7th century through 10th century AD, some Naifeld-Culture Heishui Mohe migrated west of the range (to the section of the Amur Valley west of the Bureya River, and possibly also into the Nen River basin), absorbing the indigenous population of the area (which is evidenced e.g. by the presence of the ornaments associated with the autochthonous Mikhailovskaya Culture on the ceramics of the Neifeld [Heishui Mohe] people who had migrated into the Mikhailovskaya's former area). Modern researchers surmise that the migration of some of the Mohe people west of the range during the late 7th - early 8th century may have been caused by the pressure from the Balhae further south.[5]

Another Mohe group, the Sumo Mohe from the Sungari Valley migrated to the Western Amur Valley at roughly the same time as well. Which Mohe group arrived to the region first remains the subject of a dispute, hinging on radiocarbon and stratigraphic dating of various sites.[5]

There is some archaeological evidence for the migration of the Sumo Mohe to the northeast, to the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk as well, namely, apparent influence of the Neifeld Culture found in the ceramics of the Tokarevo Culture of the latter region.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Huang, P.: "New Light on the origins of the Manchu," Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, vol. 50, no.1 (1990): 239-82. Retrieved from JSTOR database July 18, 2006.
  2. ^ Gorelova 2002, pp. 13-4.
  3. ^ Gorelova 2002, p. 14.
  4. ^ Aisin Gioro & Jin, p. 18.
  5. ^ a b c d С.П. Нестеров (S.P. Nesterov) ПУТИ И ВРЕМЯ МИГРАЦИИ ХЭЙШУЙ МОХЭ В ЗАПАДНОЕ ПРИАМУРЬЕ (The routes and timing of the migration of the Heishui Mohe into the western Amur valley) (Russian)