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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...
A portrait painting of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang), from an 18th-century Qing Dynasty album of Chinese emperors' portraits. (Public Domain) Background: A tomb painting of a late Eastern-Han period lively banquet.

A Golden Age of China, Part I: Early Han Dynasty Emperors

The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty in Chinese history. This dynasty was a long one – it was established during the 3rd century BC and lasted all the way until the 3rd century AD. It was...
 A portrait painting of Emperor Gao of Han (Liu Bang), from an 18th-century Qing Dynasty album of Chinese emperors' portraits. (Public Domain) Background: ‘Entry of the First Emperor of the Han Dynasty into Guanzhong’ (early 12th century) by Zhao Boju.

The Rags to Riches Story of Liu Bang: Peasant, Rebel, Chinese Emperor

Liu Bang’s life is a rags to riches story. He was born into a peasant family but rose to become the emperor of China. In fact, Liu Bang (known also as Emperor Gaozu of Han) was the generally...
Cao Cao cites a poem before the Battle of Red Cliffs, portrait at the Long Corridor of the Summer Palace, Beijing

Devastating Defeat for Chinese Warlord in Largest Naval Battle in History

The largest naval battle in history occurred in the winter of 208/9 AD as part of the war for control of China. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers fought - some estimates suggest that the exact number...
Liao Dynasty (907-1125) tomb mural by unknown painter in Inner Mongolia. Scene of everyday life. Men and boys have distinctive Khitan hairstyle. (Public Domain) Insert: A famous Liao Dynasty Sancai Luohan, Circa 1000

An Intriguing Empire: The Lasting Impression of the Nomadic Liao Dynasty on Chinese Culture

Well-represented in artifacts found in museums and private collections, the Liao Dynasty rose and expanded as the Tang Dynasty dwindled in power. This was the first state to control all of Manchuria...
Remains of the famous Fugan Temple that was recently discovered in Chengdu, China.

Buried for Almost a Millennium, Archaeologists Recover Over 1,500 Religious Artifacts at Lost Chinese Temple

A team of archaeologists has uncovered more than 1000 tablets inscribed with Buddhist scriptures and over 500 pieces of stone sculpture, as well as glazed tiles with inscriptions, at the site of a...
A well-preserved skeleton in one of the 18 tombs that had several types of grave goods in the Ruins of Yin, an area called the Chinese cradle of civilization.

Archaeologists Discover Undisturbed Tombs of Ancient Nomads in the Cradle of Chinese Civilization

Archaeologists in China’s Henan Province have excavated about 90 tombs, 18 of which contained golden earrings and turquoise artifacts, bronze and iron pots, and short swords. The 18 graves, of the...
‘Battle of Gaixia.’

The Impressive Battle of Gaixia: Chinese Reunification Emerges from Chaos

The Battle of Gaixia was an important battle that occurred in 202 BC. It was the last battle in the Chu-Han Contention, which lasted between 206 BC and 202 BC. This was the period between the end of...
Traditional architecture and modern shops in Pingyao, Shanxi Province, China.

Pingyao: What Gems of Architecture are Housed in this Traditional Imperial Chinese City?

The ancient city of Pingyao is a county-level city located in the center of China’s Shanxi Province. This ancient city has been described as an exceptionally well-preserved example of a traditional...
Ancient Jade and Copper Sex Toys and Drinking Vessels Reveal Randy Chinese Royals

Ancient Jade and Copper Sex Toys and Drinking Vessels Reveal Randy Chinese Royals

You might call ancient Chinese royalty of the Han Dynasty jaded. Some aristocrats of around 2,000 years ago enjoyed a lusty sex life that included bronze dildos and jade butt plugs. And the presence...
Archaeologists Unearth Gruesome Site Where Chinese Emperors Sacrificed Horses

Archaeologists Unearth Gruesome Site Where Chinese Emperors Sacrificed Horses

A large area for animal sacrifices by Chinese emperors dating from the 3 rd century BC to the 1 st century AD in western China has been excavated and found to contain many cultural artifacts. Called...
Remains of Disgraced Chinese Emperor Undergo DNA Analysis as more Treasures of His Tomb Are Revealed

Remains of Disgraced Chinese Emperor Undergo DNA Analysis as more Treasures of His Tomb Are Revealed

The few remaining bones and teeth of a man who briefly ruled as emperor of ancient China and then was forced out for moral failings will undergo DNA analysis to shed light on his health, diet, and...
An Elegant Party (detail), painting of a small Chinese banquet hosted by the emperor for scholar-officials from the Song Dynasty (960-1279).

Leaf Buds Discovered in Tomb of Early Chinese Emperor May Be the Oldest Example of Fine Tea

Archaeologists have identified the oldest known tea in the tomb of Jing Di, a Han Dynasty Chinese emperor who went into the afterlife well-provisioned with food, weapons, a ceramic-animal army and...
Archaeologists found 10 tons of bronze coins in and around the tomb of a dethroned Chinese emperor of the first century BC.

Archaeologists Unearth Ancient Tomb of Chinese Emperor and 7 Nobles Full of Riches

In 74 BC the royal Han Dynasty clan of ancient China dethroned the emperor after just 27 days because of his lack of talent and for intolerably indulging in pleasures. But when he died, insane, five...

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