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Detail of Qin Shi Huang's imperial tour across his empire. Depiction in an 18th century album.

How the Search for Immortality Killed the First Emperor of China

No man had ever risen as high as Qin Shi Huang. He was the first emperor of China - the first man to conquer its seven kingdoms and rule them all. There was only one threat left for him to overcome:...
2,000-year-old Bronze Sword Unearthed in China

Tombs, Treasures, and 2,000-year-old Bronze Sword Unearthed in China

In 2015, archaeologists in China made a spectacular discovery at a construction site in Zhoukou City, Henan Province – a tomb complex containing 21 ancient tombs filled with treasures including a 2,...
The Bikrampur temple, estimated to be 1,000 years old. Bangladesh.

1,000-year-old Buddhist temple found in Bangladesh with links to venerated ancient scholar

The remains of an estimated 1,000-year-old temple and city have been found in Munshiganj District’s Bikrampur, one of the oldest archaeological sites in Bangladesh. According to The Daily Star , an...
Legends of The Sun: From Solar Gods to Flying Chariots

Legends of The Sun: From Solar Gods to Flying Chariots

Thanks to scientific discoveries, we know for certain that life on Earth depends upon the sun. But long before scientists even discovered that our planet revolves around it, ancient cultures...
A ceramic female polo player, from northern China, Tang Dynasty, first half of the 8th century, made with white slip and polychrome. From the Musée Guimet (Guimet Museum), Paris. (Public Domain) Background: ‘Xuanzong's Journey to Shu’, in the manner of the mid-8th century Tang artist Li Zhaodao, an 11th-century Song dynasty remake.

The Tang Dynasty: The Arts Flourished, Family Ties Broke, and a Concubine Became Empress

While Europe was masked in the Dark Ages, China was flourishing in the Tang Dynasty. Woodblock printing gave them books, testing made government jobs available to common citizens, paper spread...
The Secret Tomb of the First Chinese Emperor

The Secret Tomb of the First Chinese Emperor Remains an Unopened Treasure

The tomb of the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, despite being involved in one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of all times, endures as a mystery to archaeologists and historians as...
Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih – from Prostitute to Pirate Lord

Ching Shih (or Zheng Shi) was a Chinese prostitute who became a powerful female pirate, controlling the infamous Red Flag Fleet. The fleet grew under her command, with expanding reserves of loot, and...
Attendant figurine (Sui Dynasty, 581 - 618) at the Hong Kong Heritage Museum - Sha Tin, Hong Kong. (CC0) Background: Votive plaque with Seated Buddha Shakyamuni, Attendant Bodhisattvas, and Monks, China, Sui dynasty, 581-618 AD, gilt bronze - Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University.

The Sui Dynasty: 37 Years, Two Emperors and One Grand Canal

The Sui Dynasty may not have existed very long, but this imperial dynasty made an impact on Chinese culture long after the memories of its rulers faded away. Peasants were both delighted with and...
The Porcelain Tower.

The Porcelain Tower of Nanjing: One of the Seven Wonders of the Medieval World

Many children have been warned to be careful around their grandmother’s fine porcelain plates. Those kids may grow up thinking that porcelain is a fragile material which has to be handled with care (...
2,800-year old tombs surrounded by 28 chariots and 98 horses in China

Archaeologists in China find 2,800-year old tombs surrounded by 28 chariots and 98 horses

A team of Chinese archaeologists unearthed a set of elaborate tombs surrounded by 28 chariots and 98 horses in the province of Hubei in China in 2015. The incredible discovery dates back 2,800 years...
Modern representation of Sima Yan, the first emperor of the Jin Dynasty. (CC BY SA) Background: Detail of a moulded-brick mural identified as the “Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove and Rong Qiqi.” (Gary Lee Todd/CC BY SA 4.0)

The Jin Dynasty: The Sima Clan Fights to Hold China Together

The Jin (晉) Dynasty was an imperial dynasty that ruled China between the 3rd and 5th centuries AD. It was established following the Three Kingdoms period, during which China was fragmented into three...
Chinese temple on a lake

The Chinese Emperor Who Built A Lake of Wine and a Forest of Meat

The last ruler of China’s Shang Dynasty knew how to relax. When he and his Queen wanted to unwind, they would head to his pleasure palace and take a dip in their lake of wine. That wasn’t just a cute...
"Three visits to the thatched cottage" (三顧茅廬), the second visit is depicted here. Portrait at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing. This is a scene from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.

The Romance of the Three Kingdoms - A Well-Loved Chinese Classic

When saying the names Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei, although the surnames are different, yet we have come together as brothers. From this day forward, we shall join forces for a common purpose: to...
Detail of ‘Spring Morning in the Han Palace’ (17th century) by Qiu Ying

Ancient Weiyang Palace: Exemplifying Han Dynasty Splendor

Today it is in ruins, but Weiyang Palace was once the largest palace complex on earth. The few remains you can see now bear silent witness to the splendor and grandeur of the Han Dynasty monument...
Liu Xiu, Emperor Guangwu of Han, Liu Heng, Emperor Wen of Han, or Cao Pi, King of Wei. (Public Domain) Background: Dahuting tomb banquet scene, mural detail, Eastern Han Dynasty. (Public Domain)

Part II: The End Comes Slowly - The Last Han Dynasty Emperors

Read Part I Here Wang Mang’s usurpation of the throne and the establishment of the Xin Dynasty brought the Han Dynasty to a temporary end. Displeasure with the Xin Dynasty, however, caused rebellions...
Was Wang Mang a visionary, or a murderous villain – or both? (Wang Mang art italkcafe.com, The Analects of Confucius; Deriv)

The Emperor is Dead, Let Confucianism and Chaos Reign! The Rise and Fall of Wang Mang and the Xin Dynasty

Some saw Wang Mang as an evil usurper – others a selfless visionary. Either way, an emperor lay dead, and a learned Confucian scholar sought to bring peace and harmony, but the dynasty would descend...

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