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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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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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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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 ...
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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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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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Did ancient people use punctuation? [closed]

For example, Chinese, Indian,.. did they use something like dot mark to separate sentences? If not, how can they know something is an object of the first sentence or the subject of the latter sentence?...
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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 ...
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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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402 views

How strong is the current theory of the beginnings of Chinese writing?

I've heard the claim that the current Chinese calendar was introduced some times around 2637 BCE by Emperor Huang Di. Apparently, written records date back to about 4,000 years ago and before that the ...
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441 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 ...
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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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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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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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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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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 ...
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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?
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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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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 ...
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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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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.
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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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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 ...
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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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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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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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