The Han dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms period. Spanning over four centuries, the Han period is considered a golden age in Chinese history. To this day, China's majority ethnic group refers to themselves as the "Han Chinese" and the Chinese script is referred to as "Han characters", it was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han, interrupted by the Xin dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang. This interregnum separates the Han dynasty into two periods: the Western Han or Former Han and the Eastern Han or Later Han; the emperor was at the pinnacle of Han society. He presided over the Han government but shared power with both the nobility and appointed ministers who came from the scholarly gentry class; the Han Empire was divided into areas directly controlled by the central government using an innovation inherited from the Qin known as commanderies, a number of semi-autonomous kingdoms.
These kingdoms lost all vestiges of their independence following the Rebellion of the Seven States. From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, the Chinese court sponsored Confucianism in education and court politics, synthesized with the cosmology of scholars such as Dong Zhongshu; this policy endured until the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911 AD. The Han dynasty saw an age of economic prosperity and witnessed a significant growth of the money economy first established during the Zhou dynasty; the coinage issued by the central government mint in 119 BC remained the standard coinage of China until the Tang dynasty. The period saw a number of limited institutional innovations. To finance its military campaigns and the settlement of newly conquered frontier territories, the Han government nationalized the private salt and iron industries in 117 BC, but these government monopolies were repealed during the Eastern Han dynasty. Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances, including the process of papermaking, the nautical steering ship rudder, the use of negative numbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillary sphere for astronomy, a seismometer employing an inverted pendulum that could be used to discern the cardinal direction of distant earthquakes.
The Xiongnu, a nomadic steppe confederation, defeated the Han in 200 BC and forced the Han to submit as a de facto inferior and vassal partner, but continued their military raids on the Han borders. Emperor Wu launched several military campaigns against them; the ultimate Han victory in these wars forced the Xiongnu to accept vassal status as Han tributaries. These campaigns expanded Han sovereignty into the Tarim Basin of Central Asia, divided the Xiongnu into two separate confederations, helped establish the vast trade network known as the Silk Road, which reached as far as the Mediterranean world; the territories north of Han's borders were overrun by the nomadic Xianbei confederation. Emperor Wu launched successful military expeditions in the south, annexing Nanyue in 111 BC and Dian in 109 BC, in the Korean Peninsula where the Xuantu and Lelang Commanderies were established in 108 BC. After 92 AD, the palace eunuchs involved themselves in court politics, engaging in violent power struggles between the various consort clans of the empresses and empresses dowager, causing the Han's ultimate downfall.
Imperial authority was seriously challenged by large Daoist religious societies which instigated the Yellow Turban Rebellion and the Five Pecks of Rice Rebellion. Following the death of Emperor Ling, the palace eunuchs suffered wholesale massacre by military officers, allowing members of the aristocracy and military governors to become warlords and divide the empire; when Cao Pi, King of Wei, usurped the throne from Emperor Xian, the Han dynasty ceased to exist. According to the Records of the Grand Historian, after the collapse of the Qin dynasty the hegemon Xiang Yu appointed Liu Bang as prince of the small fief of Hanzhong, named after its location on the Han River. Following Liu Bang's victory in the Chu–Han Contention, the resulting Han dynasty was named after the Hanzhong fief. China's first imperial dynasty was the Qin dynasty; the Qin unified the Chinese Warring States by conquest, but their empire became unstable after the death of the first emperor Qin Shi Huang. Within four years, the dynasty's authority had collapsed in the face of rebellion.
Two former rebel leaders, Xiang Yu of Chu and Liu Bang of Han, engaged in a war to decide who would become hegemon of China, which had fissured into 18 kingdoms, each claiming allegiance to either Xiang Yu or Liu Bang. Although Xiang Yu proved to be a capable commander, Liu Bang defeated him at Battle of Gaixia, in modern-day Anhui. Liu Bang assumed the title "emperor" at the urging of his followers and is known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu. Chang'an was chosen as the new capital of the reunified empire under Han. At the beginning of the Western Han known as the Former Han dynasty, thirteen centrally controlled commanderies—including the capital region—existed in the western third of the empire, while the eastern two-thirds were divided into ten semi-autonomous kingdoms. To placate his prominent commanders from the war with Chu, Emperor Gaozu enfeoffed some of them as kings. By 157 BC, the Han court h
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda, is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an, Shaanxi province, China. It was built in 652 during the Tang dynasty and had five stories; the structure was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian, its exterior brick facade was renovated during the Ming dynasty. One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of the Buddha that were brought to China from India by the Buddhist translator and traveler Xuanzang. Today, the interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben; the original pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of Tang standing at a height of 60 m. This construction of rammed earth with a stone exterior facade collapsed five decades later; the ruling Empress Wu Zetian had the pagoda rebuilt and added five new stories by the year 704. A massive earthquake in 1556 damaged the pagoda and reduced it by three stories, to its current height of seven stories.
The structure leans perceptibly to the west. Its related structure, the 8th century Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an, only suffered minor damage in the 1556 earthquake; the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was extensively repaired during the Ming dynasty and renovated again in 1964. The pagoda stands at a height of 64 m tall and from the top it offers views over the city of Xi'an; the tower sits inside the Daci'en Temple complex. The Daci'en Temple was built in 648 to honor the queen at that time; the temple complex is open to the public and it receives millions of tourists each year. It can be accessed from the Da Yan Ta station of line 3 of the Xi'an Metro. One entrance is located at the northeast corner of the north plaza. A new entrance has opened during the end of 2017 This site was added to the World Heritage List on June 22, 2014. Benn, Charles. China's Golden Age: Everyday Life in the Tang Dynasty. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Ingles, O. G. "Impressions of a Civil Engineer in China," The Australian Journal of Chinese Affairs: 141–150.
Heng Chye Kiang.. Cities of Aristocrats and Bureaucrats: The Development of Medieval Chinese Cityscapes. Singapore: Singapore University Press. ISBN 9971-69-223-6. Watson, William.. The Arts of China to A. D. 900. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-08284-3. TravelChina
Xi'an is the capital of Shaanxi Province, China. A sub-provincial city on the Guanzhong Plain in northwestern China, it is one of the oldest cities in China, the oldest of the Four Great Ancient Capitals, having held the position under several of the most important dynasties in Chinese history, including Western Zhou, Western Han and Tang. Xi'an is the starting point of the Silk Road and home to the Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Since the 1990s, as part of the economic revival of inland China for the central and northwest regions, the city of Xi'an has re-emerged as an important cultural and educational centre of the central-northwest region, with facilities for research and development, national security and space exploration. Xi'an holds sub-provincial status, administering 9 districts and 4 counties; as of 2018 Xi'an has a population of 12,005,600, the Xi'an–Xianyang metropolitan area a population of 12.9 million. It is the most populous city in Northwest China, as well as one of the three most populous cities in Western China, the other two are Chongqing and Chengdu.
In 2012, it megalopolises, in China. "Xi'an" is the atonal pinyin romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation of its name 西安, which means "Western Peace". The name was adopted in 1369 under the early Ming dynasty. Jesuit missionaries recorded its name as "Si-ngan" or "Si-ngan-fou" from its status as the seat of a prefecture; this form still appears in the Latin name of the Catholic diocese of Xi'an, archidioecesis Singanensis. The name was romanized as "Hsi-an" by Wade & Giles and as "Sianfu" or "Sian" by the Qing imperial post office, both of which were common until the general adoption of pinyin; the area of present-day Xi'an has been the site of several important former Chinese cities. The capital of the Western Zhou were the twin cities of Feng and Hao, known collectively as Fenghao, located on opposite banks of the Feng River at its confluence with the southern bank of the Wei in the western suburbs of present-day Xi'an; the Qin capital Xianyang was erected north of the Wei during the Warring States period and was succeeded by the Western Han capital of Chang'an, meaning "Perpetual Peace", located south of the Wei and covered the central area of present-day Xi'an.
During the Eastern Han, Chang'an was known as Xijing or the "Western Capital", relative to its position to the main capital at Luoyang. Under the Sui, its name became Daxing in AD 581. Under the Tang, the name reverted to Chang'an in 618. Under the Mongolian Yuan dynasty, it held a succession of names: Fengyuan and Jingzhao; the Ming name "Xi'an" was changed back to Xijing between 1930 and 1943. Xi'an does not have a accepted one-character abbreviation as many other Chinese cities do, its license plates are marked with 陕A, based on the name of its province. Xi'an has a culturally significant history; the Lantian Man was discovered in 1963 in Lantian County, 50 km southeast of Xi'an, dates back to at least 500,000 years before the present time. A 6,500-year-old Neolithic village, was discovered in 1953 on the eastern outskirts of the city proper, which contains the remains of several well organized Neolithic settlements carbon dated to 5600–6700 years ago; the site is now home to the Xi'an Banpo Museum, built in 1957 to preserve the archaeological collection.
Xi'an became a cultural and political centre of China in the 11th century BC with the founding of the Zhou dynasty. The capital of Zhou was established in the twin settlements of Fengjing and Haojing, together known as Fenghao, located southwest of contemporary Xi'an; the settlement was known as Zhōngzhōu to indicate its role as the capital of the vassal states. In 770 BC, the capital was moved to Luoyang due to political unrest. Following the Warring States period, China was unified under the Qin dynasty for the first time, with the capital located at Xianyang, just northwest of modern Xi'an; the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang ordered the construction of the Terracotta Army and his mausoleum just to the east of Xi'an immediately after his ascension to the throne. In 202 BC, the founding emperor Liu Bang of the Han dynasty established his capital in Chang'an County; this is traditionally regarded as the founding date of Chang'an. Two years Liu Bang built Weiyang Palace north of modern Xi'an.
Weiyang Palace was the largest palace built on Earth, covering 4.8 square kilometres, 6.7 times the size of the current Forbidden City and 11 times the size of the Vatican City. The original Xi'an city wall took 4 years to finish. Upon completion, the wall measured 25.7 km in length and 12 to 16 m in thickness at the base, enclosing an area of 36 km2. In the year 190, amidst uprisings and rebellions just prior to the Three Kingdoms Period, a powerful warlord named Dong Zhuo moved the court from Luoyang to Chang'an in a bid to avoid a coalition of other powerful warlords against him. Following several hundred years of unrest, the Sui dynasty united China again in 582; the emperor of Sui ordered a new capital to be built southeast of the Han capital, called Daxing. It consisted of three sections: the Imperial City, the palace section, the civilian section, with a total
The Tang dynasty or the Tang Empire was an imperial dynasty of China spanning the 7th to 10th centuries. It was followed by the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Historians regard the Tang as a high point in Chinese civilization, a golden age of cosmopolitan culture. Tang territory, acquired through the military campaigns of its early rulers, rivaled that of the Han dynasty; the Tang capital at Chang'an was the most populous city in the world in its day. The Lǐ family founded the dynasty, seizing power during the collapse of the Sui Empire; the dynasty was interrupted when Empress Wu Zetian seized the throne, proclaiming the Second Zhou dynasty and becoming the only Chinese empress regnant. In two censuses of the 7th and 8th centuries, the Tang records estimated the population by number of registered households at about 50 million people, yet when the central government was breaking down and unable to compile an accurate census of the population in the 9th century, it is estimated that the population had grown by to about 80 million people.
With its large population base, the dynasty was able to raise professional and conscripted armies of hundreds of thousands of troops to contend with nomadic powers in dominating Inner Asia and the lucrative trade-routes along the Silk Road. Various kingdoms and states paid tribute to the Tang court, while the Tang conquered or subdued several regions which it indirectly controlled through a protectorate system. Besides political hegemony, the Tang exerted a powerful cultural influence over neighboring East Asian states such as those in Japan and Korea; the Tang dynasty was a period of progress and stability in the first half of the dynasty's rule, until the An Lushan Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui dynasty, the Tang dynasty maintained a civil-service system by recruiting scholar-officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office; the rise of regional military governors known as jiedushi during the 9th century undermined this civil order.
Chinese culture further matured during the Tang era. Two of China's most famous poets, Li Bai and Du Fu, belonged to this age, as did many famous painters such as Han Gan, Zhang Xuan, Zhou Fang. Scholars of this period compiled a rich variety of historical literature, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works; the adoption of the title Tängri Qaghan by the Tang Emperor Taizong in addition to his title as emperor was eastern Asia's first "simultaneous kingship". Many notable innovations occurred including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, in the 840s the Emperor Wuzong of Tang enacted policies to persecute Buddhism, which subsequently declined in influence. Although the dynasty and central government had gone into decline by the 9th century and culture continued to flourish; the weakened central government withdrew from managing the economy, but the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.
However, agrarian rebellions in the latter half of the 9th century resulted in damaging atrocities such as the Guangzhou massacre of 878–879. The Li family belonged to the northwest military aristocracy prevalent during the Sui dynasty and claimed to be paternally descended from the Daoist founder, Laozi the Han dynasty General Li Guang and Western Liang ruler Li Gao; this family was known as the Longxi Li lineage. The Tang Emperors had Xianbei maternal ancestry, from Emperor Gaozu of Tang's Xianbei mother, Duchess Dugu. Li Yuan was Duke of Tang and governor of Taiyuan, modern Shanxi, during the Sui dynasty's collapse, caused in part by the Sui failure to conquer the northern part of the Korean peninsula during the Goguryeo–Sui War, he had prestige and military experience, was a first cousin of Emperor Yang of Sui. Li Yuan rose in rebellion in 617, along with his son and his militant daughter Princess Pingyang, who raised and commanded her own troops. In winter 617, Li Yuan occupied Chang'an, relegated Emperor Yang to the position of Taishang Huang or retired emperor, acted as regent to the puppet child-emperor, Yang You.
On the news of Emperor Yang's murder by General Yuwen Huaji on June 18, 618, Li Yuan declared himself the emperor of a new dynasty, the Tang. Li Yuan, known as Emperor Gaozu of Tang, ruled until 626, when he was forcefully deposed by his son Li Shimin, the Prince of Qin. Li Shimin had commanded troops since the age of 18, had prowess with bow and arrow and lance and was known for his effective cavalry charges. Fighting a numerically superior army, he defeated Dou Jiande at Luoyang in the Battle of Hulao on May 28, 621. In a violent elimination of royal family due to fear of assassination, Li Shimin ambushed and killed two of his brothers, Li Yuanji and Crown prince Li Jiancheng, in the Xuanwu Gate Incident on July 2, 626. Shortly thereafter, his father abdicated in his favor and Li Shimin ascended the throne, he is conventionally known by his temple name Taizong. Although killing two brothers and deposing his father contradicted the Confucian value of filial piety, Taizong showed himself to be a capable leader who listened to the advice of the wisest members of his council.
In 628, Emperor Taizong held a Buddhist memorial service for the casualties of war, in 629 he ha
Shaanxi is a province of the People's Republic of China. Part of the Northwest China region, it lies in central China, bordering the provinces of Shanxi, Hubei, Sichuan, Gansu and Inner Mongolia, it covers an area of over 205,000 km2 with about 37 million people. Xi'an – which includes the sites of the former Chinese capitals Fenghao and Chang'an – is the provincial capital. Xianyang, which served as the Qin dynasty capital, is located nearby; the other prefecture-level cities into which the province is divided are Ankang, Hanzhong, Tongchuan, Yan'an and Yulin. Shaanxi comprises the Wei Valley and much of the surrounding fertile Loess Plateau, stretching from the Qin Mountains and Shannan in the south to the Ordos Desert in the north. Along with areas of adjacent Shanxi and Henan provinces, it formed the cradle of Chinese civilization, with its Guanzhong region sheltering the capitals of the Zhou, Jin and Tang dynasties in addition to the Qin, it does not include the full territory of the Yellow River's Ordos Loop, with the Great Wall of China separating it from the grasslands and deserts of Inner Mongolia.
The name "Shaanxi" is an irregular romanization of the Mandarin pronunciation of the Chinese name 陕西, meaning " West of the Shan Pass". This pass in Henan, now part of Sanmenxia's Shanzhou District, was considered to be the place where the Yellow River left the Loess Plateau and entered the North China Plain; because the Mandarin pronunciation of Shaanxi and its eastern neighbor Shanxi differs only in tone, their spelling in pinyin romanization differs only by tone marks. The People's Republic of China therefore adopted the special official spelling "Shaanxi"; the first syllable is derived from Gwoyeu Romatzyh romanization, which reflects the tones of the words' vowels in their spelling. The second syllable—which would be shi in Gwoyeu Romatzyh—is instead given its usual pinyin spelling xi; when tone marks are noted, it is spelled Shǎnxī rather than Shǎanxī or Shaǎnxī. Before the adoption of pinyin, Shaanxi was romanized as Shensi in the Chinese postal romanization scheme. Shaanxi is considered one of the cradles of Chinese civilization.
Thirteen feudal dynasties established their capitals in the province during a span of more than 1,100 years, from the Zhou dynasty to the Tang dynasty. The province's principal city and current capital, Xi'an, is one of the four great ancient capitals of China and is the eastern terminus of the Silk Road, which leads to Europe, the Arabian Peninsula and Africa. Under the Han dynasty, the Northern Silk Road was expanded to advance exploration and military purposes to the west; this Northern Silk Road is the northernmost of the Silk Roads and is about 2,600 kilometres in length. It connected the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an to the west over the Wushao Ling Pass to Wuwei and emerging in Kashgar before linking to ancient Parthia. Under the Ming dynasty, Shaanxi was incorporated into Gansu but was again separated in the Qing dynasty. One of the most devastating earthquakes in history occurred near Hua Shan, in south-eastern part of Shaanxi Province on January 23, 1556, killing an estimated 830,000 people.
The end of the short-lived Jiangxi Soviet signalled the beginning of the Long March by Mao Zedong and the Chinese Communists to the Shaanxi Soviet at Yan'an. The Lantian Man site, with hominin fossils of one million years ago, was found in Lantian County in northwestern Shaanxi province, near the city of Xi'an. Scientists classify Lantian Man as a subspecies of Homo erectus; the fossils are displayed at Xi'an, China. The geography of the area is described as being part of the Ordos Desert in the north along the border with Inner Mongolia, the Loess Plateau in the central part of the province, the Qin Mountains running east to west in the south central part, subtropical climate south of the Qinling. In between the Loess Plateau and the Qinling lies the Wei River Valley, or Guanzhong, a cradle of early Chinese civilization. Going clockwise, Shaanxi borders Shanxi, Hubei, Sichuan, Gansu and Inner Mongolia. In terms of number of bordering provincial-level divisions, Shaanxi ties Inner Mongolia. Due to its large span in latitude, Shaanxi has a variety of climates.
Under the Köppen climate classification, the northern parts, including the Loess Plateau, have either a cold arid or cold semi-arid, with cold and dry winters, dry springs and autumns, hot summers. The area known as Guanzhong is semi-arid, though there are a few areas with a humid subtropical climate, with cool to cold winters, hot, humid summers that see early-season heatwaves; the southern portion is much more humid and lies in the humid subtropical zone, with more temperate winters and long, humid summers. Annual mean temperature is between 8 to 16 °C, with January temperatures ranging from −11 to 3.5 °C and July temperatures ranging from 21 to 28 °C. Besides the provincial capital of Xi'an, other cities include: Baoji, Lintong, Xianyang, Yan'an and Ankang. Shaanxi consists of ten prefecture-level divisions: all prefecture-level cities: The ten prefecture-level divisions of Shaanxi are subdivided into 107 county-level divisions; the politics of Shaanxi is structured in a triple party-government system like all other governing institutions in mainland China.
Chinese architecture demonstrates an architectural style that developed over millennia in China, before spreading out to influence architecture all throughout East Asia. Since the solidification of the style in the early imperial period, the structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details. Starting with the Tang dynasty, Chinese architecture has had a major influence on the architectural styles of Japan and Mongolia, a varying amount of influence on the architectural styles of Southeast and South Asia including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Vietnam and The Philippines. Chinese architecture is typified by various features. Chinese architecture traditionally classifies structures according to type, ranging from pagodas to palaces. In part because of an emphasis on the use of wood, a perishable material, due to a de-emphasis on major monumental structures built of less-organic but more durable materials, much of the historical knowledge of Chinese architecture derives from surviving miniature models in ceramic and published planning diagrams and specifications.
Some of the architecture of China shows the influence of other types or styles from outside of China, such as the influences on mosque structures originating in the Middle East. Although displaying certain unifying aspects, rather than being homogeneous, Chinese architecture has many types of variation based on status or affiliation, such as dependence on whether the structures were constructed for emperors, commoners, or used for religious purposes. Other variations in Chinese architecture are shown in the varying styles associated with different geographic regions and in ethnic architectural design; the architecture of China is as old as Chinese civilization. From every source of information—literary, exemplary—there is strong evidence testifying to the fact that the Chinese have always enjoyed an indigenous system of construction that has retained its principal characteristics from prehistoric times to the present day. Over the vast area from Chinese Turkistan to Japan, from Manchuria to the northern half of French Indochina, the same system of construction is prevalent.
That this system of construction could perpetuate itself for more than four thousand years over such a vast territory and still remain a living architecture, retaining its principal characteristics in spite of repeated foreign invasions—military and spiritual—is a phenomenon comparable only to the continuity of the civilization of which it is an integral part. Throughout the 20th century, Chinese architects have attempted to combine traditional Chinese designs into modern architecture, with great success. Moreover, the pressure for urban development throughout contemporary China required higher speed of construction and higher floor area ratio, which means that in the great cities the demand for traditional Chinese buildings, which are less than 3 levels, has declined in favor of modern architecture. However, the traditional skills of Chinese architecture, including major and minor carpentry and stonemasonry, are still applied to the construction of vernacular architecture in the vast rural area in China.
Chinese architechture included great wall of China Chinese civilizational cultures developed in the plains along the numerous rivers that emptied into the Bohai and Hongzhow bays. The most prominent of these rivers, the Yellow and the Yangtze, hosted a complex fabric of villages; the climate was warmer and more humid than today, allowing for millet to be grown in the north and rice in the south. There was, however, no single "origin" of the Chinese civilization. Instead, there was a gradual multinuclear development between the years 4000 and 2000 BC - fom village communities to what anthropologists call cultures to small but well-organized states. 2 of the more important cultures were the Hongshan culture to the north of Bohai Bay in Inner Mongolia and Hebai Province and the contemporaneous Yangshao culture in Henan Province. Between the 2, developing was the Longshan culture in the central and lower Yellow River valley; these combined areas gave rise to thousands of small states and proto-states by 3000 BC.
Some continued to share a common ritual center that linked the communities to a single symbolic order, but others developed along more independent lines. All was not peaceful, the emergence of walled cities during this time is a clear indication that the political landscape was much in flux; the Hongshan culture of Inner Mongolia was scattered over a large area but had a single, common ritual center that consisted of at least 14 burial mounds and altars over several hill ridges. It dates from around 3500 BC but could have been founded earlier. Although there is no evidence of village settlements nearby, its size is much larger than one clan or village could support. In other words, though rituals would have been performed here for the elites, the large area implies that audiences for the ritual would have encompassed all the villages of the Hongshan culture; as a sacred landscape, the center might have attracted supplicants from further afield. A important feature in Chinese architecture is its emphasis on articulation and bilateral symmetry, which signifies balance.
Bilateral symmetry and the articulation of buildings are