Heishui Mohe

The Heishui or Blackriver Mohe (Chinese: 黑水靺鞨; pinyin: Hēishuǐ Mòhé; Jurchen: Sahaliyan i Aiman or ), also known as the Heuksu Malgal, were a tribe of the Mohe people in Outer Manchuria along the Amur River (Chinese: 黑水; pinyin: Hēi Shuǐ; literally: "Blackwater" or "Black River") in what is now Russia's Khabarovsk, Amur, and Jewish Provinces and China's Heilongjiang Province.


The southern Blackriver Mohe were subjects of King Seon of the Korean state of Balhae. Balhae was conquered by the Khitan Liao Empire in AD 926.

The Blackriver Mohe are sometimes linked with the Jurchen who established China's Jin Dynasty in the 10th century and who later formed the core of the Manchu who established the Qing Dynasty in the 17th century.[1] At the time of their notice by Chinese historians, the Jurchen inhabited the forests and river valleys of the land which is now divided between China's Heilongjiang Province and Russia's Maritime Province,[3] outside the range of the Blackriver Mohe, and such links remain conjectural.[4]


The Mohe enjoyed eating pork, practiced pig farming extensively, and were mainly sedentary,[5] 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.[6]

Archaeological exploration

Modern archaeologists on both sides of the Amur/Heilongjiang River have made a number of conclusions about the correspondence of the discovered archaeological 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.[7]

According to the archaeological 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.[7]

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.[7]

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.[7]


See also



  1. For example, by Huang.[2]
  2. Huang Pei (June 1990), "New Light on the Origins of the Manchu", Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies, Vol. 50 (No. 1), pp. 239–82.
  3. Elliott (2001), p. 47.
  4. Elliott (2001), p. 48.
  5. Gorelova 2002, pp. 13-4.
  6. Gorelova 2002, p. 14.
  7. 1 2 3 4 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)


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