THE first systematic archaeological excavations conducted by Academia Sinica, from 1929 to 1937 in Anyang, revealed a late Shang site with a surprisingly developed material culture. In the archaeological context of that time, several features in the cultural inventory of Anyang appeared as abrupt innovations, prompting suggestions, especially from Western scholars, of Western influence. Subsequent excavations within China have served to demonstrate more gradual developmental sequences, if not necessarily indigenous origins, for most of these artifacts. Despite these archaeological advances, however, the fully developed form of the chariot found at Anyang remains China's earliest evidence of this most important and technologically sophisticated of all Bronze Age artifacts. The combination of this abrupt appearance of the chariot within China and the striking similarity Chinese models 2bear to Near Eastern types had continued to lead most Western scholars to consider it an example of cultural importation, even if they were unable to document the process of transmission. 1 Recent publications of archeological discoveries throughout Soviet Central Asia, however, now allow the previous void between China and the Near East to be filled both spatially and temporally, leaving no doubt that the chariot did indeed enter China from the northwest at about 1200 b.c. This evidence, and particularly its connections with China, has been incisively discussed in several recent articles by Stuart Piggott, and will require only a brief review here. 2 But Piggott, as an archaeologist, has been concerned primarily with the chariot as an instance of technological development, and has refrained from discussing its social and historical implications. Thus it seems appropriate now to reconsider from an historical perspective the introduction of the chariot in China, and especially to ask what implications this cultural transmission has for the broader topic of cultural interaction in ancient East Asia.