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Questions tagged [ancient-china]

Ancient China refers to the oldest period in Chinese history, prior to unification under the Qin Dynasty (221 B.C.) and the Han Dynasty (206 B.C. – A.D. 220).

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10
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1answer
401 views

Who was 'Viscount Yi' and what did he do to survive in the court of a madman?

There is an interesting answer by Valorum over on Scifi, which includes a quote from source material about a 'Viscount Yi': “I combined that notion with the kind of imagistic shorthand sometimes ...
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2answers
449 views

Is there any idea of why Cao Cao's parents would give him a nearly identical name to the family name?

I've been doing a lot of reading up about the three kingdoms warlord era of China, and Cao Cao stuck out to me as an interesting name. After some research I found that the words in Chinese are ...
10
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1answer
2k views

In Romance of the Three Kingdoms why do people still use bamboo sticks when paper had already been invented?

By the era of the Romance of Three Kingdoms, paper had already been invented. Why do kings often (according to the movies) receive letters in bamboo sticks. Is this historically accurate?
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395 views

Why did emperors of India and China have so many mistresses?

Some Indian and Chinese emperors had more than 50 mistresses. Wasn't it difficult to please so many women and maintain peace among them? What caused them to have so many women?
4
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1answer
291 views

Where is an image of the oracle bone that describes the nova?

(Related to my previous question) Does anyone have a link to an image of the oracle bone that has this specific inscription: The inscriptions include the oldest observation of a nova (1300BCE) ‘A ...
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1answer
230 views

What are the best resources for studying oracle bone inscriptions?

Can someone please recommend the best resources for studying Chinese oracle bone inscriptions? Rather than general or specific information about oracle bones, I'm looking for collections or catalogs ...
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2answers
844 views

When were the three periods in which the silk road was most popularly used? [closed]

Apparently, there were 3 periods when the Silk Road was very popular and I am having trouble finding out when they were.
9
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1answer
173 views

What is the earliest recorded example of an extradition treaty or law?

While reading a news article on someone being extradited from overseas to face justice in the U.S. it started me thinking about the history of the extradition process. Wikipedia and The History Vault ...
5
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1answer
150 views

What literature explains life in Han dynasty tomb towns?

I've read in the book, The Early Chinese Empires: Qin and Han by Mark Edward Lewis, that ancient Chinese Emperors, upon their death, would have massive tomb hills/temples erected for their bodies to ...
39
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1answer
10k views

Did Chinese emperors wear a rectangular hat with suspended gems?

The mythical Jade Emperor is sometimes depicted as wearing a mortarboard hat with strings of jewels suspended from its edges: According to Shen Yun's post: Hanging from the front and back of the ...
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2answers
920 views

When did Northern India and N. China begin to dominate in global demographics?

Video: Human Population Through Time This simple video says that there were 170 million people in the world at the beginning of the current era. Each dot represents a million people -there are about ...
5
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1answer
947 views

Did the first emperor of China die of mercury poisoning?

Did the first emperor Qin Shi Huang die of mercury poisoning? If so, how do we know? I've seen lots of claims that he did (and claims that he didn't), but no citation explaining what primary source ...
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Why didn't the Black Death result in favorable results for surviving peasants in China?

Black Death affected Europe and China alike. In Europe, the Black Death resulted in social mobility of the peasants, and as a result, labor-saving innovations were introduced. All these laid ...
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1answer
503 views

Did Ancient China use lead in their food/water industry as much as the Romans?

The Romans used lead a lot. Water pipes might be the most famous, but there were lead plates and lead vessels to prepare food or drink too. Apparently lead was an inevitable byproduct of silver ...
5
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1answer
555 views

Do indigenous Latin Americans share any common “recent” ancestors with the Chinese?

I'm trying to understand this genetic map World map of Y-DNA Haplogroups and reading this article Settlement of the Americas. The article says North America and South America were settled by people ...
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1answer
502 views

How did the Chinese crossbows that shoot bullets work?

It's commonly accepted that East Asian people invented the crossbow. However, it seems they had crossbows that shoot bullets as well. As an example, Jing Fang uses this description when explaining his ...
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2answers
512 views

Scholar-farmer-artisan-merchant social ordering in ancient/medieval China

The phrase scholar-farmer-artisan-merchant (士農工商, shi-nong-gong-shang) is well-known in China and other Confucian countries. These were the four broad classes of people in ancient/medieval China. The ...
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1answer
261 views

The history of toys: Who invented the first porcelain dolls?

I've been reading about the history of toys online, as part of a personal project. One thing that surprised me was that every article I've found lists porcelain toys as having been invented by ...
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2answers
597 views

What is the historical evidence for asserting Huns were one and the same as Xiongnu?

This question is very close to a previous question, Who were the Huns and/or Xiongnu?, but I hope it is clear that I'm not asking the same point. In fact, I'm asking about the common assumption such ...
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3answers
717 views

Are fiefdoms near the Capital assigned to trusted allies or the opposite, and why?

Our professor of Chinese History (in a document you can't access without a university account) when talking about feudal age China (before 221 BCE) makes a passing remark. She says in Ancient China ...
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1answer
354 views

Why was the Records of the Three Kingdoms composed before that of the Later Han?

Our professor taught that Chinese historiographic tradition demands each dynasty to compose the history of the previous one, using the 實錄 or 起居注 provided by said dynasty. Browsing the Wikipedia ...
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1answer
520 views

What did ancient countries call themselves? [closed]

Especially non-European nations -- I'm under the impression that the names given to these countries, e.g. "the Maurya Dynasty", "the Qin Dynasty", "the Akkadian Empire", "the Old Kingdom of Egypt", ...
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2answers
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Are any archeological remains found from the Yellow Sea, China

During the last ice age when the sea level was lower, much of the continental shelf was exposed. For example, the North Sea was previously a low-lying region which is called "Doggerland". There are ...
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1answer
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Name of a small state west of the Xiongnu and south of Wusun c. 50 A.D [closed]

There was a very small state in Western Mongolia which played a part in the politics of ancient Mongolia, circa 50 A.D. It sounded something like Wu-Shan-Mu or Wu-Shi-Mu. During a war between the ...
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2answers
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What was the role of state sacrifices and music in Ming China?

I don't understand what is the role of music in their lives and what is the relevance between sacrifices and music? As a historical ethnomusicologist, I wish I could do fieldwork in the Ming court, ...
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1answer
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Which were the most entrepreneurial AND prosperous cities in different eras? [closed]

[For what I mean by "an entrepreneurial and prosperous city," see the bulleted points below.] We're looking for a name for a research project. We're trying to be creative with the name and one of the ...
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3answers
348 views

Was there a “literate class” outside the Shi in Zhou-dynasty China?

According to wikipedia, during Zhou dynasty China's ... distinct class system, which lacked an organized clergy but saw the Shang Zi-clan yeomen become masters of ritual and ceremony known as Shi (...
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3answers
519 views

Why have eunuchs been so influential in Chinese history?

Throughout the history of China, eunuchs amassed power, destabilised dynasties, and commanded armies. They were a major cause in the decline of the Han, Tang and other dynasties. What customs or ...
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0answers
102 views

How did ancient China invent such wonders as fear systems and calendar before ancient Europe? [duplicate]

What were some methods Chinese used to come up with such amazing creations like paper, compass, clocks, steel with chrome for keeping the blade from rusting etc. What were their "scientific methods?"...
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1answer
574 views

Was there anyone try to beat Great Wall of China by digging secret tunnels under it?

I know Great Wall is useful to defend enemies on land, but is there any record that people had ever tried to beat Great Wall by digging tunnels under it? If not, why didn't it happen?
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234 views

Who was the earliest historian of the Greco-Roman world to write something substantial about China?

I recently came across an article about the Byzantine historian Theophylact Simocattis and learned that he wrote about the reunification of China by Emperor Wen. I also know that Cosmas ...
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0answers
134 views

Why were the Mongols so victorious? [duplicate]

I read that the Mongol Empire conquered and unified China. My question is... how were the Mongols able to conquer so much when China's population almost certainly was larger during that time period? ...
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4answers
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Why does the Great Wall of China follow such a bendy route?

Why does the path of the Great Wall of China bend back and forth so much? Naïvely, it would have taken less material and guards to defend if it had taken a straighter path, so there must have been ...
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2answers
907 views

Why did Emperor Xian's flight from Chang'an take one year?

During the end of the Han dynasty, the capital Chang'an fell under control of warlords Li Jue and Guo Si, who fought each other soon after. The emperor Xian escaped and eventually reached the ruins of ...
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2answers
1k views

Why didn't the Chinese repeating crossbow dominate?

Why didn't this devastating machine gun dominate the world? This fires faster than early musketeers.
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0answers
257 views

Did Ancient Chinese architecture develop anything analogous to the Greek Orders?

Pretty much every culture in the world has its own tradition of architecture, design principles, etc., reflecting what society considers "ideal." In ancient Greece, these famously became codified into ...
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1answer
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What did Kong Rong say about Cao Cao that got Kong Rong killed?

The Wikipedia article on Kong Rong says: In 208, Kong Rong spoke ill of Cao Cao before an emissary from Sun Quan, a warlord occupying southeast China. Cao Cao then sentenced him to death. ...
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0answers
210 views

When is the first recorded instance of the lo-shu square?

The lo-shu square (洛書) is a 3×3 grid of numbers, usually written as dots: Legend traces its origin to the legendary Yu the Great (大禹) or Fu-hi (伏羲) ~3000 years ago, but I'm interested in historically ...
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2answers
5k views

How did the ancient Chinese coordinate armies of tens and hundreds of thousands?

According to what I've read, during the Warring States period and also later during the Three Kingdoms period there were armies of the magnitude of (a few) hundred thousands. How could they ...
3
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1answer
389 views

How did pre-modern historians explain Qin's unification of China?

The Qin state unified China at the end of the Warring states period. After centuries of incessant warfare, in just under a decade Qin managed to conquer its opponents in quick succession. Modern ...
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2answers
882 views

Chinese legendary figures with European appearance [closed]

I've been fascinated by the discovery of the Indo-European origin of the mummies in the Tarim basin. This article says: The new finds are also forcing a reexamination of old Chinese books that ...
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0answers
332 views

What broad changes to “world thought” happened in the 6th and 5th centuries BC? [closed]

The 6th and 5th centuries BC saw the appearance of a remarkable number of philosophers and thinkers all over Eurasia whose influence continues to this day: Socrates (470 - 399 BC), "father of Western ...
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Did the Great Wall of China help cause the fall of the Roman Empire?

I recently came across a saying that "Rome fell essentially because China built the Great Wall" (to protect itself against the Xiongnu people, if I remember correctly) in a lecture series on peoples ...
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1answer
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What is the oldest excavated/discovered piece of silk textile made for clothing or writing?

Chu manuscript dating back to circa 300 B.C., middle of the Warring States era. Mawangdui robe's dating back to ~ 200..150 B.C., beginning of the Western Han. Do you know any older examples of silk ...
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4answers
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What are the oldest primary sources of recorded history in China?

There is for instance Sima Qian, according to Wikipedia the first Chinese historian, who wrote the Shiji (Records of the Grand Historian) in 109 BCE. But does this primary source still exist, or do ...
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1answer
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What ideas diffused into China via the trade route established by emperor Han Wudi with the area around Persia? [closed]

China was relatively isolated in the far east, but suddenly the situation changed as emperor Han Wudi, famous for his vital foreign politics established economic relations with Bactria and Iran.
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1answer
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How were Chinese Dynasties named?

What were the rules or conventions for choosing the name of a new dynasty chosen? Was there a single method for naming all of the Chinese dynasties?
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0answers
186 views

What were the cultures of peasants in China during the Hundred Schools period (600-221BCE)?

During the Hundred Schools period (600-221 BCE) Chinese cultures changed significantly as ideas were contested amongst the ruling elite. What do we know of peasant cultures in China during this ...
3
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1answer
597 views

What was the available level of agricultural technology in late 2nd century China?

How would you characterize the situation of the agricultural technology around the time of the Yellow Turban rebellion (A.D. 184-205), when technological breakthroughs were yet about to come?
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3answers
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Does Chinese history really span the past 5000 years?

Chinese kids the world over are frequently taught that there is "5000 years of Chinese history". What basis is there for this claim?