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).

Filter by
Sorted by
Tagged with
4
votes
3answers
1k views

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
1answer
151 views

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? ...
4
votes
1answer
360 views

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
1answer
296 views

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 ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

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 ...
1
vote
0answers
158 views

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
1answer
231 views

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
0answers
66 views

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
2answers
488 views

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
1answer
2k views

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 ...
11
votes
1answer
779 views

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
1answer
654 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
218 views

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 ...
10
votes
2answers
692 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
623 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
2answers
2k views

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
1answer
1k views

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, ...
4
votes
1answer
761 views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
575 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
2answers
802 views

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?
32
votes
4answers
13k views

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
3answers
3k views

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?
5
votes
4answers
3k views

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
3answers
587 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?
14
votes
6answers
1k views

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 ...
-1
votes
2answers
649 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?
-1
votes
4answers
2k views

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
1answer
555 views

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 ...
28
votes
3answers
12k views

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.
8
votes
1answer
465 views

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
1answer
2k views

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 ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

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. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k 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 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 different, and ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

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

During the end of the Han dynasty, the capital Luoyang fell under the control of the warlord Dong Zhuo who, fleeing a coalition of lords against him, burned it and moved the young Xian Emperor to ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Did Cao Cao really say the greatest traitor resembled an honest man?

The greatest traitor has always resembled an honest man and the greatest falsehood comes across as truth. Righteousness and evil cannot be discerned by their appearance. People have decided wrongly ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

What was the standard spoken language (dialect) in the Three Kingdoms period?

Mandarin is the standard spoken language (dialect) in today's China, meaning distinct regions may have their own dialect, but they can all use Mandarin to communicate with each other. Since all ...
4
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
11
votes
1answer
9k views

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?
4
votes
1answer
406 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 ...
1
vote
0answers
44 views

Book (and/or podcast) recommendations for providing a historical & cultural context for Sichuan?

A couple friends and I plan on taking a tour in the southwestern region of China, specifically Sichuan & Yunan, around spring of next year. I find that it always makes the trip more engaging and ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

How much (area) territory did Chinese dynasties control?

I am looking for the area of the territories controlled by the different Chinese dynasties since Zhou all the way to the Qing. There are maps available of the different territories but I haven't found ...
10
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
270 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
712 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
441 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 used ...
5
votes
1answer
164 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 ...
13
votes
5answers
6k views

Did the Chinese Develop Steam Engines Prior to the 17th Century?

I vaguely remember seeing a documentary on the history channel that was discussion on ancient Chinese technology. The basic theme of the program was that China developed many industrial technologies ...
10
votes
1answer
232 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
408 views

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 ...