History of China
The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty, during the king Wu Ding's reign, recorded as the twenty-first Shang king by the written records of Shang dynasty unearthed. Ancient historical texts such as the Records of the Grand Historian and the Bamboo Annals describe a Xia dynasty before the Shang, but no writing is known from the period, Shang writings do not indicate the existence of the Xia; the Shang ruled in the Yellow River valley, held to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. However, Neolithic civilizations originated at various cultural centers along both the Yellow River and Yangtze River; these Yellow River and Yangtze civilizations arose millennia before the Shang. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the world's oldest civilizations, is regarded as one of the cradles of civilization; the Zhou dynasty supplanted the Shang, introduced the concept of the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule.
The central Zhou government began to weaken due to external and internal pressures in the 8th century BC, the country splintered into smaller states during the Spring and Autumn period. These states became warred with one another in the following Warring States period. Much of traditional Chinese culture and philosophy first developed during those troubled times. In 221 BC, Qin Shi Huang conquered the various warring states and created for himself the title of Huangdi or "emperor" of the Qin, marking the beginning of imperial China. However, the oppressive government fell soon after his death, was supplanted by the longer-lived Han dynasty. Successive dynasties developed bureaucratic systems that enabled the emperor to control vast territories directly. In the 21 centuries from 206 BC until AD 1912, routine administrative tasks were handled by a special elite of scholar-officials. Young men, well-versed in calligraphy, history and philosophy, were selected through difficult government examinations.
China's last dynasty was the Qing, replaced by the Republic of China in 1912, in the mainland by the People's Republic of China in 1949, resulting in two de facto states claiming to be the legitimate government of all China. Chinese history has alternated between periods of political unity and peace, periods of war and failed statehood – the most recent being the Chinese Civil War. China was dominated by steppe peoples, most of whom were assimilated into the Han Chinese culture and population. Between eras of multiple kingdoms and warlordism, Chinese dynasties have ruled parts or all of China. Traditional culture, influences from other parts of Asia and the Western world, form the basis of the modern culture of China. What is now China was inhabited by Homo erectus more than a million years ago. Recent study shows that the stone tools found at Xiaochangliang site are magnetostratigraphically dated to 1.36 million years ago. The archaeological site of Xihoudu in Shanxi Province has evidence of use of fire by Homo erectus, dated 1.27 million years ago, Homo erectus fossils in China include the Yuanmou Man, the Lantian Man and the Peking Man.
Fossilised teeth of Homo sapiens dating to 125,000–80,000 BC have been discovered in Fuyan Cave in Dao County in Hunan. Evidence of Middle Palaeolithic Levallois technology has been found in the lithic assemblage of Guanyindong Cave site in southwest China, dated to 170,000–80,000 years ago; the Neolithic age in China can be traced back to about 10,000 BC. The earliest evidence of cultivated rice, found by the Yangtze River, is carbon-dated to 8,000 years ago. Early evidence for proto-Chinese millet agriculture is radiocarbon-dated to about 7000 BC. Farming gave rise to the Jiahu culture. At Damaidi in Ningxia, 3,172 cliff carvings dating to 6000–5000 BC have been discovered, "featuring 8,453 individual characters such as the sun, stars and scenes of hunting or grazing"; these pictographs are reputed to be similar to the earliest characters confirmed to be written Chinese. Chinese proto-writing existed in Jiahu around 7000 BC, Dadiwan from 5800 BC to 5400 BC, Damaidi around 6000 BC and Banpo dating from the 5th millennium BC.
Some scholars have suggested. Excavation of a Peiligang culture site in Xinzheng county, found a community that flourished in 5,500 to 4,900 BC, with evidence of agriculture, constructed buildings and burial of the dead. With agriculture came increased population, the ability to store and redistribute crops, the potential to support specialist craftsmen and administrators. In late Neolithic times, the Yellow River valley began to establish itself as a center of Yangshao culture, the first villages were founded. Yangshao culture was superseded by the Longshan culture, centered on the Yellow River from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC. Bronze artifacts have been found at the Majiayao culture site, The Bronze Age is represented at the Lower Xiajiadian culture site in northeast China. Sanxingdui located in what is now Sichuan province is believed to be the site of a major ancient city, of a unknown Bronze Age culture; the site was first discovered in 1929 and re-dis
Dome of the Rock
The Dome of the Rock is an Islamic shrine located on the Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. It was completed in 691–92 CE at the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik during the Second Fitna on the site of the Second Jewish Temple, destroyed during the Roman Siege of Jerusalem in 70 CE; the original dome collapsed in 1015 and was rebuilt in 1022–23. The Dome of the Rock is in its core one of the oldest extant works of Islamic architecture, its architecture and mosaics were patterned after nearby Byzantine churches and palaces, although its outside appearance has been changed in the Ottoman period and again in the modern period, notably with the addition of the gold-plated roof, in 1959–61 and again in 1993. The octagonal plan of the structure may have been influenced by the Byzantine Church of the Seat of Mary built between 451 and 458 on the road between Jerusalem and Bethlehem; the Foundation Stone the temple was built over bears great significance in Judaism as the place where God created the world and the first human, Adam.
It is believed to be the site where Abraham attempted to sacrifice his son, as the place where God's divine presence is manifested more than in any other place, towards which Jews turn during prayer. The site's great significance for Muslims derives from traditions connecting it to the creation of the world and the belief that the Prophet Muhammad's Night Journey to heaven started from the rock at the center of the structure. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it has been called "Jerusalem's most recognizable landmark," along with two nearby Old City structures, the Western Wall, the "Resurrection Rotunda" in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the structure is octagonal. It is capped at its centre by a dome 20 m in diameter, mounted on an elevated circular drum standing on 16 supports. Surrounding this circle is an octagonal arcade of 24 piers and columns; the octagonal arcade and the inner circular drum create an inner ambulatorium that encircles the holy rock. The outer walls are octagonal, they each measure 18 m wide and 11 m high.
The outer and inner octagon create a outer ambulatorium surrounding the inner one. Both the circular drum and the exterior walls contain many windows; the interior of the dome is lavishly decorated with mosaic and marble, much of, added several centuries after its completion. It contains Qur'anic inscriptions; the dedicatory inscription in Kufic script placed around the dome contains the date believed to be the year the Dome was first completed, AH 72, while the name of the corresponding caliph and builder of the Dome, al-Malik, was deleted and replaced by the name of Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun during whose reign renovations took place. Surah Ya Sin is inscribed across the top of the tile work and was commissioned in the 16th century by Suleiman the Magnificent. Al-Isra, the Surah 17 which tells the story of the Isra or Night Journey, is inscribed above this; the Dome of the Rock is situated in the center of the Temple Mount, the site of the Temple of Solomon and the Jewish Second Temple, expanded under Herod the Great in the 1st century BCE.
Herod's Temple was destroyed in 70 CE by the Romans, after the Bar Kokhba revolt in 135, a Roman temple to Jupiter Capitolinus was built at the site. Jerusalem was ruled by the Christian Byzantine Empire throughout the 4th to 6th centuries. During this time, Christian pilgrimage to Jerusalem began to develop; the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was built under Constantine in the 320s, but the Temple Mount was left undeveloped after a failed project of restoration of the Jewish Temple under Julian the Apostate. The initial octagonal structure and its round wooden dome had the same shape as is does today; the Dome of the Rock is now assumed to have been built by the order of Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik and his son and successor Al-Walid I. According to Sibt ibn al-Jawzi, construction started in 687. Construction cost was seven times the yearly tax income of Egypt. A dedicatory inscription in Kufic script is preserved inside the dome; the date is recorded as AH 72, the year historians believe the construction of the original Dome was completed.
In this inscription, the name of al-Malik was deleted and replaced by the name of Abbasid caliph Al-Ma'mun. This alteration of the original inscription was first noted by Melchior de Vogüé in 1864. An alternative interpretation claims that the inscription indicates the year when construction started; some scholars have suggested that the dome was added to an existing building, built either by Muawiyah I, or indeed a Byzantine building dating to before the Muslim conquest, built under Heraclius. Its architecture and mosaics were patterned after palaces; the two engineers in charge of the project were Raja ibn Haywah, a Muslim theologian from Beit She'an and Yazid Ibn Salam, a non-Arab, Muslim and a native of Jerusalem. Shelomo Dov Goitein of the Hebrew University has argued that the Dome of the Rock was intended to compete with the many fine buildings of worship of other religions: "The form of a rotunda, given to the Qubbat as-Sakhra, although it was foreign to Islam, was destined to rival the many Christian domes."
K. A. C. Creswell in his book The Origin of the Plan of the Dome of the Rock notes that those who built the shrine used the measurements of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre; the diameter of the dome of the shrine is 20.20 m and its height 20.48 m, while the diameter of the
Agra is a city on the banks of the river Yamuna in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, India. It is 378 kilometres west of the state capital, Lucknow, 206 kilometres south of the national capital New Delhi, 58 kilometres south of Mathura and 125 kilometres north of Gwalior. Agra is one of the most populous cities in Uttar Pradesh, the 24th most populous in India. Agra is a major tourist destination because of its many Mughal-era buildings, most notably the Tāj Mahal, Agra Fort and Fatehpūr Sikrī, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Agra is included on the Golden Triangle tourist circuit, along with Jaipur. Agra falls within the Braj cultural region; the region around the modern city was first mentioned in the epic Mahābhārata, where it was called Agrevaṇa. However, the 11th-century Persian poet Mas'ūd Sa'd Salmān writes of a desperate assault on the fortress of Agra held by the Shāhī King Jayapala, by Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni, it was mentioned for the first time in 1080 AD. Sultan Sikandar Lodī was the first to move his capital from Delhi to Agra in 1506.
He governed the country from here and Agra assumed the importance of the second capital. He died in 1517 and his son, Ibrāhīm Lodī, remained in power there for nine more years and several palaces, wells and a mosque were built by him in the fort during his period being defeated at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Between 1540 and 1556, beginning with Sher Shah Suri ruled the area, it was the capital of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1648. Agra features a semiarid climate; the city features mild winters and dry summers and a monsoon season. However the monsoons, though substantial in Agra, are not quite as heavy as the monsoon in other parts of India; this is a primary factor in Agra featuring a semiarid climate as opposed to a humid subtropical climate. As of 2011 India census, Agra city has a population of 1,585,704, while the population of Agra cantonment is 53,053; the urban agglomeration of Agra has a population of 1,760,285. Males constitute 53% of the population and females 47%. Agra city has an average literacy rate of 73%, below the national average of 74%.
Literacy rate of males is higher than that of women. The sex ratio in the city was 875 females per thousand males while child sex ratio stood at 857. Agra district literacy rate is 62.56%. According to the 2011 census, Agra district has a population of 4,380,793 equal to the nation of Moldova or the US state of Kentucky; this gives it a ranking of 41st in India. The district has a population density of 1,084 inhabitants per square kilometre. 52.5% of Agra's population is in the 15–59 years age category. Around 11% of the population is under 6 years of age. Hindus are 88.8 %. Hinduism and Jainism are the major religions in Agra city with 80.7%, 15.4% viz. 1.0% of the population adhering to them. The Catholic minority is served by its own Metropolitan Archdiocese of Agra. There was an early reference to an “Agrevana” in the ancient Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, Ptolemy is said to have called the site “Agra.” and yet Sultan Sikandar Lodī, the Muslim ruler of the Delhi Sultanate, founded Agra in the year 1504.
After the Sultan's death, the city passed on to his son, Sultan Ibrāhīm Lodī. He ruled his Sultanate from Agra until he fell fighting to Mughal Badshah Bābar in the First battle of Panipat fought in 1526; the golden age of the city began with the Mughals. It was known as Akbarabād and remained the capital of the Mughal Empire under the Badshahs Akbar, Jahāngīr and Shāh Jahān. Akbar made it the eponymous seat of one of his original twelve subahs, bordering Delhi, Allahabad and Ajmer subahs. Shāh Jahān shifted his capital to Shāhjahānabād in the year 1648. Since Akbarabād was one of the most important cities in India under the Mughals, it witnessed a lot of building activity. Babar, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, laid out the first formal Persian garden on the banks of river Yamuna; the garden is called the Garden of Relaxation. His grandson Akbar the Great raised the towering ramparts of the Great Red Fort, besides making Agra a centre for learning, arts and religion. Akbar built a new city on the outskirts of Akbarabād called Fatehpūr Sikrī.
This city was built in the form of a Mughal military camp in stone. His son Jahāngīr had a love of flora and fauna and laid many gardens inside the Red Fort or Lāl Qil'a. Shāh Jahān, known for his keen interest in architecture, gave Akbarabād its most prized monument, the Tāj Mahal. Built in loving memory of his wife Mumtāz Mahal, the mausoleum was completed in 1653. Shāh Jahān shifted the capital to Delhi during his reign, but his son Aurangzeb moved the capital back to Akbarabād, usurping his father and imprisoning him in the Fort there. Akbarabād remained the capital of India during the rule of Aurangzeb until he shifted it to Aurangabad in the Deccan in 1653. After the decline of the Mughal Empire, the city came under the influence of Marathas and was called Agra, before falling into the hands of the British Raj in 1803. In 1835 when the Presidency of Agra was established by the British, the city became the seat of government, just two years it was witness to the Agra famine of 1837–38. During the Indian rebellion of 1857 British rule across India was threatened, news of the rebellion had reached Agra on 11 May and on 30
Old City (Jerusalem)
The Old City is a 0.9 square kilometers walled area within the modern city of Jerusalem. Until 1860, when the Jewish neighborhood Mishkenot Sha'ananim was established, this area constituted the entire city of Jerusalem; the Old City is home to several sites of key religious importance: the Temple Mount and Western Wall for Jews, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for Christians and the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque for Muslims. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage Site List in 1981. Traditionally, the Old City has been divided into four uneven quarters, although the current designations were introduced only in the 19th century. Today, the Old City is divided into the Muslim Quarter, Christian Quarter, Armenian Quarter and Jewish Quarter; the Old City's monumental defensive walls and city gates were built in the years 1535–1542 by the Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent. The current population of the Old City resides in the Muslim and Christian quarters; as of 2007 the total population was 36,965.
Following the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, the Old City was captured by Jordan and all its Jewish residents were evicted. During the Six-Day War in 1967, which saw hand-to-hand fighting on the Temple Mount, Israeli forces captured the Old City along with the rest of East Jerusalem, subsequently annexing them as Israeli territory and reuniting them with the western part of the city. Today, the Israeli government controls the entire area, which it considers part of its national capital. However, the Jerusalem Law of 1980, which annexed East Jerusalem to Israel, was declared null and void by United Nations Security Council Resolution 478. East Jerusalem is now regarded by the international community as part of occupied Palestinian territory. In 2010, Jerusalem's oldest fragment of writing was found outside the Old City's walls. According to the Hebrew Bible, before King David's conquest of Jerusalem in the 11th century BCE the city was home to the Jebusites; the Bible describes the city as fortified with a strong city wall, a fact confirmed by archaeology.
The Bible names the city ruled by King David as the City of David, in Hebrew Ir David, identified southeast of the Old City walls, outside the Dung Gate. In the Bible, David's son, King Solomon, extended the city walls to include the Temple and Temple Mount; the city was extended westwards after the Neo-Assyrian destruction of the northern Kingdom of Israel and the resulting influx of refugees. Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 BCE, it was rebuilt on a smaller scale in about 440 BCE, during the Persian period, according to the Bible, Nehemiah led the Jews who returned from the Babylonian Exile. An additional, so-called Second Wall, was built by King Herod the Great. In 41–44 CE, king of Judea, started building the so-called "Third Wall" around the northern suburbs; the entire city was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. The northern part of the city was rebuilt by the Emperor Hadrian around 130, under the name Aelia Capitolina. In the Byzantine period Jerusalem was again enclosed by city walls.
Muslims occupied Byzantine Jerusalem in the 7th century under the second caliph, `Umar Ibn al-Khattab who annexed it to the Islamic Arab Empire. He granted its inhabitants an assurance treaty. After the siege of Jerusalem, Sophronius welcomed `Umar because, according to biblical prophecies known to the Church in Jerusalem, "a poor, but just and powerful man" would rise to be a protector and ally to the Christians of Jerusalem. Sophronius believed that `Umar, a great warrior who led an austere life, was a fulfillment of this prophecy. In the account by the Patriarch of Alexandria, Eutychius, it is said that `Umar paid a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and sat in its courtyard; when the time for prayer arrived, however, he left the church and prayed outside the compound, in order to avoid having future generations of Muslims use his prayer there as a pretext for converting the church into a mosque. Eutychius adds that `Umar wrote a decree which he handed to the Patriarch, in which he prohibited Muslims gathering in prayer at the site.
In 1099, Jerusalem was captured by the Western Christian army of the First Crusade and it remained in their hands until recaptured by the Arab Muslims, led by Saladin, on October 2, 1187. He permitted them to resettle in the city. In 1219, the walls of the city were razed by Mu'azzim Sultan of Damascus. In 1239 he began to rebuild the walls. In 1243, Jerusalem came again under the control of the Christians, the walls were repaired; the Kharezmian Tatars took the city in 1244 and Sultan Malik al-Muazzam razed the walls, rendering it again defenseless and dealing a heavy blow to the city's status. The current walls of the Old City were built in 1535–42 by the Ottoman Turkish sultan Suleiman the Magnificent; the walls stretch for 4.5 km, rise to a height of between 5 and 15 metres, with a thickness of 3 metres at the base of the wall. Altogethe
Moai, or mo‘ai, are monolithic human figures carved by the Rapa Nui people on Easter Island in eastern Polynesia between the years 1250 and 1500. Nearly half are still at Rano Raraku, the main moai quarry, but hundreds were transported from there and set on stone platforms called ahu around the island's perimeter. All moai have overly large heads three-eighths the size of the whole statue; the moai are chiefly the living faces of deified ancestors. The statues still gazed inland across their clan lands when Europeans first visited the island in 1722, but all of them had fallen by the latter part of the 19th century; the production and transportation of the more than 900 statues are considered remarkable creative and physical feats. The tallest moai erected, called Paro, was 10 metres high and weighed 82 tonnes; the heaviest moai erected was a squatter moai at Ahu Tongariki, weighing 86 tonnes. One unfinished sculpture, if completed, would have been 21 m tall, with a weight of about 145-165 tons.
The moai were toppled in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as a result of European contact or internecine tribal wars. The moai are their minimalist style related to forms found throughout Polynesia. Moai are carved in flat planes, the faces bearing proud but enigmatic expressions; the human figures would be outlined in the rock wall first chipped away until only the image was left. The over-large heads have heavy brows and elongated noses with a distinctive fish-hook-shaped curl of the nostrils; the lips protrude in a thin pout. Like the nose, the ears are oblong in form; the jaw lines stand out against the truncated neck. The torsos are heavy, sometimes, the clavicles are subtly outlined in stone; the arms are carved in bas relief and rest against the body in various positions and long slender fingers resting along the crests of the hips, meeting at the hami, with the thumbs sometimes pointing towards the navel. The anatomical features of the backs are not detailed, but sometimes bear a ring and girdle motif on the buttocks and lower back.
Except for one kneeling moai, the statues do not have visible legs. Though moai are whole-body statues, they are referred to as "Easter Island heads" in some popular literature; this is because of the disproportionate size of most moai heads, because many of the iconic images for the island showing upright moai are the statues on the slopes of Rano Raraku, many of which are buried to their shoulders. Some of the "heads" at Rano Raraku have been excavated and their bodies seen, observed to have markings, protected from erosion by their burial; the average height of the moai is about 4 m, with the average width at the base around 1.6 m. These massive creations weigh around 12.5 tonnes each. All but 53 of the more than 900 moai known to date were carved from tuff from Rano Raraku, where 394 moai in varying states of completion are still visible today. There are 13 moai carved from basalt, 22 from trachyte and 17 from fragile red scoria. At the end of carving, the builders would rub the statue with pumice.
Easter Island statues are known for their large, broad noses and strong chins, along with rectangle-shaped ears and deep eye slits. Their bodies are squatting, with their arms resting in different positions and are without legs; the majority of the ahu face inland towards the community. There are some inland ahu such as Ahu Akivi; these moai face the community but given the small size of the island appear to face the coast. In 1979, Sergio Rapu Haoa and a team of archaeologists discovered that the hemispherical or deep elliptical eye sockets were designed to hold coral eyes with either black obsidian or red scoria pupils; the discovery was made by collecting and reassembling broken fragments of white coral that were found at the various sites. Subsequently uncategorized finds in the Easter Island museum were re-examined and recategorized as eye fragments, it is thought that the moai with carved eye sockets were allocated to the ahu and ceremonial sites, suggesting that a selective Rapa Nui hierarchy was attributed to the moai design until its demise with the advent of the Birdman religion, Tangata Manu.
Many archaeologists suggest that " statues were thus symbols of authority and power, both religious and political. But they were not only symbols. To the people who erected and used them, they were actual repositories of sacred spirit. Carved stone and wooden objects in ancient Polynesian religions, when properly fashioned and ritually prepared, were believed to be charged by a magical spiritual essence called mana." Archaeologists believe. The moai statues face away towards the villages as if to watch over the people; the exception is the seven Ahu Akivi. There is a legend; the more recent moai had pukao on their heads. According to local tradition, the mana was preserved in the hair; the pukao were carved out of red scoria, a light rock from a quarry at Puna Pau. Red itself is considered a sacred color in Polynesia; the added pukao suggest a further status to the moai. When first carved, the surface of the moai was polis
In contemporary art, monumental sculpture is large sculpture regardless of purpose, carrying a sense of permanent, objects, rather than the temporary or fragile assemblages used in much contemporary sculpture. In ancient and medieval sculpture, size is taken as the criterion for definition, although smaller architectural sculptures may be labelled monumental sculpture. In the Early Modern period a specific funerary function may be attributed to monumental sculpture. Monumental sculpture in a culture, is regarded as of great significance. A culture may cease to produce monumental sculpture due to societal collapse or aniconism religiously motivated; the term monumental sculpture is used in art history and criticism, but not always consistently. It combines two concepts, one of function, one of size, may include an element of a third more subjective concept, it is used for all sculptures that are large. Human figures that are half life-size or above would be considered monumental in this sense by art historians, although in contemporary art a rather larger overall scale is implied.
Monumental sculpture is therefore distinguished from small portable figurines, small metal or ivory reliefs and the like. It is used of sculpture, architectural in function if used to create or form part of a monument of some sort, therefore capitals and reliefs attached to buildings will be included if small in size. Typical functions of monuments are as grave markers, tomb monuments or memorials, expressions of the power of a ruler or community, to which churches and so religious statues are added by convention, although in some contexts monumental sculpture may mean just funerary sculpture for church monuments. A related idea is that of permanence, emphasized in some discussions of the term; the third concept that may be involved when the term is used is not specific to sculpture, as the other two are. The entry for "Monumental" in "A Dictionary of Art and Artists" by Peter and Linda Murray describes it as:"The most overworked word in current art history and criticism, it is intended to convey the idea that a particular work of art, or part of such a work, is grand, elevated in idea, simple in conception and execution, without any excess of virtuousity, having something of the enduring and timeless nature of great architecture....
It is not a synonym for'large'. However, this does not constitute an accurate or adequate description of the use of the term for sculpture, though many uses of the term that mean either large or "used in a memorial" may involve this concept in ways that are hard to separate. For example, when Meyer Schapiro, after a chapter analysing the carved capitals at Moissac, says: "in the tympanum of the south portal the sculpture of Moissac becomes monumental, it is placed above the level of the eye, is so large as to dominate the entire entrance. It is a gigantic semi-circular relief...", size is the dominant part of what he means by the word, Schapiro's further comments suggest that a lack of "excess of virtuousity" does not form part of what he intends to convey. Nonetheless, parts of the Murray's concept are included in his meaning, although "simple in conception and execution" hardly seems to apply; the term'Monumental Sculptures' has acquired various meanings over the years, but these different meanings have not caused much difficulty in classification, as the various interpretations incorporate the changing nature of sculptures through temporal and spacial landscapes in this category.
The term may be used differently for different periods in history, with breaks occurring around the Renaissance and the early 20th century. The ancient and medieval sculpture size is taken as the criterion for definition, although smaller architectural sculptures can be addressed by the term. In the Early Modern period a specific funerary function may have been meant, but the meaning of size was once again adopted while referring to contemporary sculpture. In archeology and art history the appearance, sometimes disappearance, of monumental sculpture in a culture, is regarded as of great significance, though tracing the emergence is complicated by the presumed existence of sculpture in wood and other perishable materials of which no record remains; the ability to summon the resources to create monumental sculpture, by transporting very heavy materials and arranging for the payment of what are regarded as full-time sculptors, is considered a mark of a advanced culture in terms of social organization.
In Ancient Egypt, the Great Sphinx of Giza dates to the 3rd millennium BC and may be older than the Pyramids of Egypt. Recent unexpected discoveries of Ancient Chinese bronze age figures at Sanxingdui, some more than twice human size, have disturbed many ideas held about early Chinese civilization, since only much smaller bronzes were known; some undoubtedly advanced cultures, such as the Indus Valley civilization, appear to have had no monumental sculpture at all, though producing sophisticated figurines and seals. The Mississippian culture seems to have progressing towards its use, with small stone figures, when it collapsed. Other cultures, such as Ancient Egypt and the Easter Island culture, seem to have devoted enormous resources to large-scale monumental sculpture from a early stage. There may be a number of reasons; the most
Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China is a series of fortifications made of stone, tamped earth and other materials built along an east-to-west line across the historical northern borders of China to protect the Chinese states and empires against the raids and invasions of the various nomadic groups of the Eurasian Steppe with an eye to expansion. Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC. Little of that wall remains. On, many successive dynasties have repaired and newly built multiple stretches of border walls; the most well-known of the walls were built during the Ming dynasty. Apart from defense, other purposes of the Great Wall have included border controls, allowing the imposition of duties on goods transported along the Silk Road, regulation or encouragement of trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, the defensive characteristics of the Great Wall were enhanced by the construction of watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations, signaling capabilities through the means of smoke or fire, the fact that the path of the Great Wall served as a transportation corridor.
The frontier walls built by different dynasties have multiple courses. Collectively, they stretch from Dandong in the east to Lop Lake in the west, from present-day Sino-Russian border in the north to Qinghai in the south. A comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has concluded that the walls built by the Ming dynasty measure 8,850 km; this is made up of 6,259 km sections of actual wall, 359 km of trenches and 2,232 km of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. Another archaeological survey found that the entire wall with all of its branches measures out to be 21,196 km. Today, the Great Wall is recognized as one of the most impressive architectural feats in history; the collection of fortifications known as the Great Wall of China has had a number of different names in both Chinese and English. In Chinese histories, the term "Long Rampart" appears in Sima Qian's Records of the Grand Historian, where it referred both to the separate great walls built between and north of the Warring States and to the more unified construction of the First Emperor.
The Chinese character 城, meaning city or fortress, is a phono-semantic compound of the "earth" radical 土 and phonetic 成, whose Old Chinese pronunciation has been reconstructed as *deŋ. It referred to the rampart which surrounded traditional Chinese cities and was used by extension for these walls around their respective states; the longer Chinese name "Ten-Thousand Mile Long Wall" came from Sima Qian's description of it in the Records, though he did not name the walls as such. The AD 493 Book of Song quotes the frontier general Tan Daoji referring to "the long wall of 10,000 miles", closer to the modern name, but the name features in pre-modern times otherwise; the traditional Chinese mile was an irregular distance, intended to show the length of a standard village and varied with terrain but was standardized at distances around a third of an English mile. Since China's metrication in 1930, it has been equivalent to 500 metres or 1,600 feet, which would make the wall's name describe a distance of 5,000 km.
However, this use of "ten-thousand" is figurative in a similar manner to the Greek and English myriad and means "innumerable" or "immeasurable". Because of the wall's association with the First Emperor's supposed tyranny, the Chinese dynasties after Qin avoided referring to their own additions to the wall by the name "Long Wall". Instead, various terms were used in medieval records, including "frontier", "rampart", "barrier", "the outer fortresses", "the border wall". Poetic and informal names for the wall included "the Purple Frontier" and "the Earth Dragon". Only during the Qing period did "Long Wall" become the catch-all term to refer to the many border walls regardless of their location or dynastic origin, equivalent to the English "Great Wall"; the current English name evolved from accounts of "the Chinese wall" from early modern European travelers. By the 19th century, "The Great Wall of China" had become standard in English and French, although other European languages such as German continue to refer to it as "the Chinese wall."
The Chinese were familiar with the techniques of wall-building by the time of the Spring and Autumn period between the 8th and 5th centuries BC. During this time and the subsequent Warring States period, the states of Qin, Zhao, Qi, Zhongshan all constructed extensive fortifications to defend their own borders. Built to withstand the attack of small arms such as swords and spears, these walls were made by stamping earth and gravel between board frames. King Zheng of Qin conquered the last of his opponents and unified China as the First Emperor of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC. Intending to impose centralized rule and prevent the resurgence of feudal lords, he ordered the destruction of the sections of the walls that divided his empire among the former states. To position the empire against the Xiongnu people from the north, however, he ordered the building of new walls to connect the remaining fortifications along the empire's northern frontier. "Build and move on" was a central guiding principle in