Vestiges of China’s Early Empires

August 8, 2010

 David Frum writes about China’s Early Empires referring to Belknap’s six-volume history of Imperial China. Frum says, “There is no Chinese equivalent of the Parthenon or the Roman Forum, no Pantheon or Coliseum.  For all its overpowering continuity, China does not preserve physical remains of the past… Lewis offhandedly mentions at one point that there remains not a single surviving house or palace from Han China. There are not even ruins,” which is wrong.

I recently wrote a three-part series about Han Dynasty tombs discovered in Xuzhou, which was the location of the capital of the Han Dynasty. The tombs, which had not been destroyed or looted, are now tourist attractions. A museum was built to house artifacts that were discovered. One tomb has a living room and a bedroom before the coffin chamber.  Since the tomb was built inside a hollowed-out mountain and made of rock, it survived more than two millennia with evidence of how the Han Dynasty lived then.

In fact, I’ve toured the Ming tombs, seen the graves of heroes from the Song Dynasty near the West Lake in Hangzhou, south of Shanghai.  Also, let’s not forget that the Grand Canal, which was started five centuries before the birth of Christ and is still in use today.

In fact, the Nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 with much of China’s imperial treasures.

Then, if you visit Tibet, there’s the Potala Palace, which was first built in 637 AD and is still lived in. Although much of ancient China has vanished, there are still vestiges that equal or surpass what the Roman and Greek civilizations left behind.

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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The Han Dynasty (3/3)

August 4, 2010

In one king’s tomb, there is a dining room and living room before reaching the inner-most chambers where the king’s casket was discovered. The casket is decorated on the outside with more than one-thousand jade pieces from Xianjiang, which is in the far northwest of China and was part of the Han Empire.

The king’s body was still intact and was dressed in a gold-threaded jade suit. Small pieces of jade were stitched together with solid gold threads/wires.  These suits were made for the highest-ranking Han nobles. The kings even took music with them into the afterlife along with terra-cotta dancers.

A tour of Xuzhou shows that the citizens are proud of their heritage.  It was during the Han Dynasty that the Silk Road and trade with the West was started.

Return to Part 2 of the Han Dynasty

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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The Han Dynasty (1/3)

August 3, 2010

In this three-part series you will take a tour of Xuzhou, which was the capital of the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 219 AD) and is situated between modern day Shanghai and Beijing. In the third century BC, The Roman Empire was at its peak. At the same time, China’s Han Dynasty was more powerful than Rome.

Xuzhou in northern Jiangsu province is one of China’s best showcases of the art and historical relics of the Han Dynasty. At its height, the Han Dynasty stretched from the Pacific Ocean to Central Asia and as far south as Vietnam. Its culture had a great influence on Central and Southeast Asia. 

In the center of Xuzhou on top of a mountain stands the famous horse-training terrace where the first Han emperor trained his troops. At age 23, Emperor Gaozu (202 – 195 BC), then known by his common name Liu Bang, fought the Qin and defeated China’s first dynasty.

To honor the first emperor of the Han dynasty, China rebuilt his palace in Xuzhou with many ancient Han stone sculptures displayed.

See The First Emperor: The Man Who Made China

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of the concubine saga, My Splendid Concubine & Our Hart. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. 

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