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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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Did Mete Khan and Hsiung-nu serve the Chinese Emperor?

I was reading Nicolae Jorga's "History of Ottoman Empire vol. 1" and he gave information that Mete Khan, who freed Hsiung-nu people from the rule of Yue-chi, was a servant of the Chinese Emperor. But ...
6 votes
1 answer
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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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2 answers
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What is the origin of these assertions about The Palaces of Qin shih Huang?

Qin Shih Huang built replicas of the palaces of the six kingdoms he conquered. He also built or started building a giant palace near his capital city and as many as 270 palaces in a ring around his ...
18 votes
3 answers
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Did early imperial China have a "uniform, multilevel administrative bureaucracy" that the Romans did not?

I'm reading Fukuyama's "The Origins of Political Order", and on pages 92-93 he makes the following claim (emphasis my own): But most important, the state that emerged in China was far more ...
4 votes
2 answers
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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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1 answer
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What was the meaning behind these lip make-ups in Ancient China?

I was reading luxurymakupbrushes.com and saw multiple methods Ancient Chinese women did for wearing lipsticks. But what was the meaning behind each? Were them used to differentiate each woman based on ...
3 votes
3 answers
379 views

Did Diaochan really love Lü Bu?

I am watching a series on Three kingdoms (2010), were it is shown that, Diaochan was really in love with Lü Bu, it was only Wang Yun, who schemed an act of proposing her daughter as a bride to Dong ...
0 votes
1 answer
184 views

Is this old oval copper coin Chinese?

Can someone identify this old hand-stamped copper coin? Is it possibly Chinese?
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1 answer
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How did the Ten Attendants gain power in the imperial palace?

How did the Ten Attendants group became powerful? My reasoning as follows:- Eunuchs were used as a servants for royal family. So, they don't have any power other than that, neither being respected by ...
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How Cao Cao belongs to a family of eunuchs, if eunuchs don't have penis?

I am watching Three kingdoms 2010 and in the first episode of that series, it was shown that Cao Cao stating himself belonging to a family of eunuchs but, I have read that Eunuchs don't have penis. So,...
-2 votes
1 answer
424 views

How, and why, did Ancient Chinese hold banners displaying the type of work a person was undertaking?

Please show pictures of these banners? I am curious how they look. What "type of work" and "work" would these banners display? Why would the Chinese hold up "a banner ...
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1 answer
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Has Sun Tzu ever advocated for something that in modern society is a war crime, or what has Sun Tzu ever said about war crimes? [closed]

I've read The Art of War 3x, but I didn't yet know the concept of 'war crime'. So I never really paid much attention to the text in that regard. Question: Has Sun Tzu ever advocated for something that ...
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Did the Battle of Red Cliffs take place on the border between Cao Cao and Liu Bei's territories?

In the YouTube video Three Kingdoms - OverSimplified, we have this depiction of the Battle of Red Cliffs: The video suggests the Battle of Red Cliffs (赤壁之战) takes place on the border between Cao Cao ...
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2 answers
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What are the three major differences between the first and second silk road? [closed]

Apparently, there were 3 periods when the Silk Road was very popular and I am having trouble finding out when they were.
15 votes
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How did the First Emperor of Qin "burn the books" prior to the invention of paper?

The first emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, is recorded as burning books (among other things). At the same time, the invention of paper is generally ascribed to the Han Dynasty, i.e., the dynasty after ...
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Have any cultures had a four-element system different from fire, earth, air (or wind), and water?

Ancient Greek culture (Empedocles, Aristotle) had fire, earth, air, and water. Such a system is also known in Buddhism and alchemy. Sometimes the third of these elements is conceived as wind. Hinduism ...
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1 answer
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How fast and how far could one travel, by means of horse relay posts, in ancient China in 1500CE?

I'm trying to find out how people used to travel by horse, when they had to go to a very distant territory. I have done research on horseback riding, horses and relay stations. I found out that the ...
4 votes
1 answer
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Why is it said that the Qin dynasty was the first to unite China?

I have often heard that the Qin dynasty was the first to unite China. For example, Wikipedia says: Qin Shi Huang, or Shihuangdi, was the founder of the Qin dynasty, and first emperor of a unified ...
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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 ...
6 votes
1 answer
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How was the term "Mandate of Heaven" used during the rise and fall of Chinese dynasties?

The Mandate of Heaven (Chinese: 天命; pinyin: Tiānmìng; Wade–Giles: T'ien-ming; lit. 'Heaven's will') is a Chinese political philosophy that was used in ancient and imperial China to justify the rule of ...
4 votes
3 answers
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How did the Chinese crossbows that shot 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 ...
3 votes
1 answer
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Did most major ancient cultures (e.g. the Mesopotamians) consider the heart as the main cognitive organ?

The Egyptians, Greeks (e.g. Aristotle), and Chinese certain did so. They believed that thinking was done by the heart. Was this true about all major ancient civilizations? Were there exceptions? ...
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1 answer
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What does this sentence from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms mean?

The third paragraph of the first chapter in Romance of the Three Kingdoms (translation by R. Moss), states: On the fifteenth day of the fourth month of the second year of the reign Established Calm [...
13 votes
1 answer
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Did ancient Chinese and/or Japanese scholars speculate about what lay across the Pacific?

Before the age of exploration, a good number European scholars speculated about the Atlantic beyond the Iberian peninsula, whether it was the location of Atlantis, or whether or not Japan could be ...
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Did Chinese Hundred Schools of Thought influence Ancient Greek Philosophy?

As a beginning student of Chinese I am also learning a bit more about Chinese history. As such I am more and more impressed by the quality of thought that has been left behind by Chinese philosophers ...
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Why did China not become a democracy to cure involution? [closed]

I am new to politics-related questions, then please be kind if I am not asking a good question here(from your perspective). To get rid of being caught and involved in trouble I cannot not post this ...
6 votes
1 answer
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What was the Tang Dynasty definition of imperial 嫡子?

The distinction between 嫡子 and 庶子 was supposedly crucial in struggles for the Chinese imperial throne. It is often repeated (example) that only sons of the Empress were considered 嫡子。 Here it is ...
6 votes
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How did Shang & Zhou Dynasty China use incense?

According to Wikipedia's Incense and Incense in China articles "At around 2000 BCE, Ancient China began the use of incense in the religious sense, namely for worship. Incense was used by Chinese ...
8 votes
2 answers
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Help on finding out about a sword

After my mother passed away, I found this sword. I'm trying to get any information on it. It's one-piece, and appears to be brass under all the erosion but I could be wrong about the metal. I think it'...
6 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
12 votes
1 answer
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What is the meaning of the cross on a Chinese bronze Gu Chalice?

The ancient Chinese had a bronze chalice called the Gu 觚, some of which feature a square cross near the bottom. Others feature a single slit hole there, as if the slit (cross or single) has a ...
6 votes
1 answer
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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 ...
1 vote
1 answer
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What type of ancient Chinese headgear is this and what more do we know about it?

This is Zhao Bing, Emperor Bing of Song, the 18th and last emperor of the Song Dynasty. Is this headgear a Tongtianguan? And whatever type of headgear it is, what more do we know about it? What does ...
11 votes
2 answers
782 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 ...
8 votes
2 answers
864 views

What was the de facto rule by which the imperial title was transmitted in various Chinese dynasties?

I seek to find information about which rules or trends - if any - applied in Chinese imperial succession during different dynasties. I found this source, but I can’t get access and what I see in the ...
6 votes
2 answers
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What was the order of precedence for ancient China nobility ranks?

I would like to ask a question about ancient Chinese nobility. I was researching some background on Confucius, and I found a weird discrepancy on Wikipedia about his homeland, Lu. About its ruler, the ...
9 votes
1 answer
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How big were Ancient China military forces?

When reading about warfare records in ancient China, I see a lot of references to "# of chariots" instead of "#k soldiers" or something like that. Do we know how big these armies actually were? As in, ...
8 votes
3 answers
623 views

How historical are early Chinese (Shang dynasty and earlier) dynastic records?

Early Chinese dynastic records look like actual history in some places (in particular the exact dating of reigns, back to and including the Yellow Emperor). Elsewhere, there is clearly a lot of myth ...
1 vote
2 answers
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Did anyone ever try to beat the Great Wall of China by digging secret tunnels under it?

I know the Great Wall was useful to defend against enemies on land, but is there any record that people ever tried to beat the Great Wall by digging tunnels under it? If not, why didn't it happen?
31 votes
4 answers
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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 ...
18 votes
3 answers
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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?
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Did generals really fight in ancient China?

When we think of generals, we usually think of someone that leads. We don't see General MacArthur charge in front of his soldiers to personally slaughter thousands of regular troops. In fact, even one ...
3 votes
3 answers
790 views

Were there ever Taoist missionaries?

Taoism is not generally known as a proselytizing religion these days, but was there ever a time when Taoist missionaries were found?
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6 answers
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Why did non-monarchic rule meet with so little success in ancient China?

In the ancient world, the states around the Mediterranean were ruled by various forms of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy, each of which had varying levels of success. Meanwhile, in China, monarchy ...
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2 answers
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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?
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4 answers
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Did cavalry in China use spears instead of swords?

In Japan, yaris (spears) seem inferior to katanas. In Shogun: Total War, for example, spear-wielding troops are "cheaper" than samurai. The spear-wielding troops are peasants. The samurai are members ...
2 votes
1 answer
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Why did Cao Cao slaugther the inhabitants of towns?

Cao Cao besieged Yongqiu for some months and eventually conquered it, after which he massacred its population, along with Zhang Chao and his family. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhang_Miao Was ...
32 votes
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Did the Romans know about China?

Could there be a possibility that some Romans knew that there was a country north east of India? Because as far as I know the Romans traded with Indians.
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Why was the Records of the Three Kingdoms composed before that of the Later Han?

Our professor taught that the Chinese historiographic tradition demanded each dynasty compose the history of the previous one, using the 'veritible records' (實錄) or court diaries (起居注) provided by ...
12 votes
1 answer
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In Romance of the Three Kingdoms why do people still use bamboo sticks when paper had already been invented?

By the time of the setting of The Romance of the Three Kingdoms, paper had already been invented. Why do kings often (according to the movies) receive letters on bamboo sticks? Is this historically ...