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Han Prosperity and Foreign Decline in China.   [Copy link] 中文

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This post was edited by expatter at 2012-6-28 18:45

Han Prosperity and Foreign Decline in China.


From the beginning of the Han Dynasty China always showed great prosperity and technological advancement apart from when internal disunity disrupted the harmony of society. Through all the Han controlled periods of Chinese history there were advances in many areas including technology, the arts and medicine. The only time when this seemed to slow significantly was when outsiders or foreigners occupied China and coincidentally led to stagnation. The first real period of this was the occupation of China by the Mongols in the Yuan Dynasty where innovation declined. This was followed by the Han Ming Dynasty where great works commenced and trade flourished along with innovation and exploration. The Qing Dynasty Manchurians turned China’sprosperity inwards and were also in turn exploited by Europeans leading to the demise of dynasty. With foreigners deeply entrenched in China the period of the Republic of China 1912 – 1949 oversaw a further decline in China’s fortunes. In1949 the Han finally rid themselves of the foreign influences and after a rickety start China has became a major leading nation in the world once again.  It would seem that when the Han have the helm in China then the country prospers, but when there is internal disunity or foreign control then China traditionally declines.






206 BC - 220 AD

The Han Dynasty was an age of economic prosperity and saw asignificant growth of the money economy (coinage) first established during theZhou Dynasty (c. 1050–256 BCE). From the reign of Emperor Wu onward, theChinese court officially sponsored Confucianism in education and courtpolitics, synthesized with the cosmology of later scholars such as DongZhongshu. This policy endured until the fall of the Qing Dynasty in 1911 CE.Science and technology during the Han period saw significant advances,including papermaking, the nautical steering rudder, the use of negativenumbers in mathematics, the raised-relief map, the hydraulic-powered armillarysphere for astronomy, and a


220 - 280 AD

The Three Kingdoms period was one of the bloodiest inChinese history. Technology advanced significantly during this period. Shuchancellor Zhuge Liang invented the wooden ox, suggested to be an early form ofthe wheelbarrow, and improved on the repeating crossbow. Wei mechanicalengineer Ma Jun is considered by many to be the equal of his predecessor ZhangHeng. He invented a hydraulic-powered, mechanical puppet theatre designed forEmperor Ming of Wei, square-pallet chain pumps for irrigation of gardens inLuoyang, and the ingenious design of the South Pointing Chariot, a non-magneticdirectional compass operated by differential gears.   


265 – 420

Jin Dynasty

The Sima clan was initially subordinate to the Wei dynasty,but the clan's influence and power grew greatly after the incident at Gaopingtombs in 249.

Sima Rui founded the Eastern Jin at Jiankang in 317, withits territory stretching across most of today's southern China. The combinationof the Eastern Jin and Sixteen Kingdoms period is sometimes called the EasternJin Sixteen Kingdoms (ch: 東晉十六國). During this period, huge numbers of peoplemoved south from the central plain, stimulating the development of Southern China.


420 – 589

The Southern and Northern Dynasties (Chinese: 南北朝; pinyin:Nánběicháo) was a period in the history of China that lasted from 420 to 589AD. Though an age of civil war and political chaos, it was also a time offlourishing arts and culture, advancement in technology, and the spreading ofMahayana Buddhism and Daoism. The period saw large-scale migration of HanChinese people to the lands south of the Yangtze River.

During this period the process of sinicization acceleratedamong the non-Chinese arrivals in the north and among the aboriginal people inthe south. This process was also accompanied by the increasing popularity ofBuddhism (introduced into China in the 1st century AD) in both north and southChina, along with Daoism gaining influence from the outline of Buddhistscriptures (with two essential Daoist canons written during this period).Although multiple story towers such as guard towers and residential apartmentsexisted in previous periods,[1] during this period the distinct Chinese pagodatower (for storing Buddhist scriptures) evolved from the stupa, the latteroriginating from Buddhist traditions of protecting sutras in ancient India.

There were notable technological advances during thisperiod. With the invention of the stirrup during the earlier Western JinDynasty, heavy cavalry became standard in combat. Advances in medicine,astronomy, mathematics, and cartography are also noted by historians. Thefamous Chinese mathematician and astronomer Zu Chongzhi (429–500 AD) belonged tothis age, an intellectual and social product of the elite culture shaped anddeveloped in southern China during this period of time.


581 – 618

Sui Dynasty

This dynasty has often been compared to the earlier QinDynasty in tenor and in the ruthlessness of its accomplishments. The Suidynasty's early demise was attributed to the government's tyrannical demands onthe people, who bore the crushing burden of taxes and compulsory labor. Theseresources were overstrained by the completion of the Grand Canal, a monumentalengineering feat,[2] and in the undertaking of other construction projects,including the reconstruction of the Great Wall. Weakened by costly anddisastrous military campaigns against Goguryeo (in modern day Korea) whichended with the defeat of Sui in the early seventh century, the dynastydisintegrated through a combination of popular revolts, disloyalty, andassassination.




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618 – 907
Tang Dynasty
The Tang Dynasty was largely a period of progress and stability, except during the An Shi Rebellion and the decline of central authority in the latter half of the dynasty. Like the previous Sui Dynasty, the Tang Dynasty maintained a civil service system by drafting officials through standardized examinations and recommendations to office.

Chinese culture flourished and further matured during the Tang era; it is considered the greatest age for Chinese poetry.[7] 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, and Zhou Fang. There was a rich variety of historical literature compiled by scholars, as well as encyclopedias and geographical works.

There were many notable innovations during the Tang, including the development of woodblock printing. Buddhism became a major influence in Chinese culture, with native Chinese sects gaining prominence. However, Buddhism would later be persecuted by the state and decline in influence. Although the dynasty and central government were in decline by the 9th century, art and culture continued to flourish. The weakened central government largely withdrew from managing the economy, though the country's mercantile affairs stayed intact and commercial trade continued to thrive regardless.

907 – 960
Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (simplified Chinese: 五代十国; traditional Chinese: 五代十國; pinyin: Wǔdài Shíguó) was between 907–960/979 AD and an era of political upheaval in China, between the fall of the Tang Dynasty and the founding of the Song Dynasty. During this period, five dynasties quickly succeeded one another in the north, and more than 12 independent states were established, mainly in the south. However, only ten are traditionally listed, hence the era's name, "Ten Kingdoms." Some historians, such as Bo Yang, count 11, including Yan and Qi, but not Northern Han, viewing it as simply a continuation of Later Han. This era also led to the founding of the Liao Dynasty.

960 – 1279
Song Dynasty
The population of China doubled in size during the 10th and 11th centuries. This growth came through expanded rice cultivation in central and southern China, the use of early-ripening rice from southeast and southern Asia, and the production of abundant food surpluses.[4][5] The Northern Song census recorded a population of roughly 50 million, much like the Han and Tang dynasties.

Social life during the Song was vibrant; social elites gathered to view and trade precious artworks, the populace intermingled at public festivals and private clubs, and cities had lively entertainment quarters. The spread of literature and knowledge was enhanced by the earlier invention of woodblock printing and the 11th-century invention of movable type printing. Pre-modern technology, science, philosophy, mathematics, engineering, and other intellectual pursuits flourished over the course of the Song. Philosophers such as Cheng Yi and Zhu Xi reinvigorated Confucianism with new commentary, infused with Buddhist ideals, and emphasized a new organization of classic texts that brought out the core doctrine of Neo-Confucianism. Although the institution of the civil service examinations had existed since the Sui Dynasty, it became much more prominent in the Song period. This became a leading factor in the shift of an aristocratic elite to a bureaucratic elite.

1271 – 1368
The Yuan Dynasty
The Yuan Dynasty (1271–1368) was the first time that non-native Chinese people ruled all of China. In historiography of Mongolia, it is generally considered to be the continuation of the Mongol Empire.[32] Despite the traditional historiography as well as the official views of China (including the government of the Ming Dynasty which overthrew the Yuan Dynasty), there also exist orthodox Chinese scholars and Confucian elites who did not consider Yuan Dynasty as a legitimate dynasty of China, but a period of foreign or colonial domination. The latter argue that Han Chinese were treated as second-class citizens, and the China Proper stagnated economically and scientifically; in addition, Chinese technologies such as gunpowder and the compass spread to Europe under the Yuan. But there are also other views.


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1368  - 1644
The Ming Dynasty
Compared to the flourishing of science and technology in the Song Dynasty, the Ming Dynasty perhaps saw fewer advancements in science and technology compared to the pace of discovery in the Western world. In fact, key advances in Chinese science in the late Ming were spurred by contact with Europe. In 1626 Johann Adam Schall von Bell wrote the first Chinese treatise on the telescope, the Yuanjingshuo (Far Seeing Optic Glass); in 1634 the last Ming emperor Chongzhen acquired the telescope of the late Johann Schreck (1576–1630).[153] The heliocentric model of the solar system was rejected by the Catholic missionaries in China, but Johannes Kepler and Galileo Galilei's ideas slowly trickled into China starting with the Polish Jesuit Michael Boym (1612–59) in 1627, Adam Schall von Bell's treatise in 1640, and finally Joseph Edkins, Alex Wylie, and John Fryer in the 19th century.[154] Catholic Jesuits in China would promote Copernican theory at court, yet at the same time embrace the Ptolemaic system in their writing; it was not until 1865 that Catholic missionaries in China sponsored the heliocentric model as their Protestant peers did.[155] Although Shen Kuo (1031–95) and Guo Shoujing (1231–316) had laid the basis for trigonometry in China, another important work in Chinese trigonometry would not be published again until 1607 with the efforts of Xu Guangqi and Matteo Ricci.[156] Ironically, some inventions which had their origins in ancient China were reintroduced to China from Europe during the late Ming; for example, the field mill.[157]

Map of the known world by Zheng He: India at the top, Ceylon at the upper right and East Africa along the bottom.
The Chinese calendar was in need of reform since it inadequately measured the solar year at 365 ¼ days, giving an error of 10 min and 14 sec a year or roughly a full day every 128 years.[158] Although the Ming had adopted Guo Shoujing's Shoushi calendar of 1281, which was just as accurate as the Gregorian Calendar, the Ming Directorate of Astronomy failed to periodically readjust it; this was perhaps due to their lack of expertise since their offices had become hereditary in the Ming and the Statutes of the Ming prohibited private involvement in astronomy.[159] A sixth-generation descendant of Emperor Hongxi, the "Prince" Zhu Zaiyu (1536–611), submitted a proposal to fix the calendar in 1595, but the ultra-conservative astronomical commission rejected it.[158][159] This was the same Zhu Zaiyu who discovered the system of tuning known as equal temperament, a discovery made simultaneously by Simon Stevin (1548–1620) in Europe.[160] In addition to publishing his works on music, he was able to publish his findings on the calendar in 1597.[159] A year earlier, the memorial of Xing Yunlu suggesting a calendar improvement was rejected by the Supervisor of the Astronomical Bureau due to the law banning private practice of astronomy; Xing would later serve with Xu Guangqi in reforming the calendar (Chinese: 崇禎暦書) in 1629 according to Western standards.[159]


A 24 point compass chart employed by Zheng He during his explorations.
When the Ming founder Hongwu came upon the mechanical devices housed in the Yuan Dynasty's palace at Khanbaliq— such as fountains with balls dancing on their jets, self-operating tiger automata, dragon-headed devices that spouted mists of perfume, and mechanical clocks in the tradition of Yi Xing (683–727) and Su Song (1020–101)—he associated all of them with the decadence of Mongol rule and had them destroyed.[161] This was described in full length by the Divisional Director of the Ministry of Works, Xiao Xun, who also carefully preserved details on the architecture and layout of the Yuan Dynasty palace. Chinese records— namely the Yuan Shi (Chinese: 元史)—describe the 'five-wheeled sand clock', a mechanism pioneered by Zhan Xiyuan (fl. 1360–80) which featured the scoop wheel of Su Song's earlier astronomical clock and a stationary dial face over which a pointer circulated, similar to European models of the time.[164] This sand-driven wheel clock was improved upon by Zhou Shuxue (fl. 1530–58) who added a fourth large gear wheel, changed gear ratios, and widened the orifice for collecting sand grains since he criticized the earlier model for clogging up too often.[165]


The Chinese were intrigued with European technology, but so were visiting Europeans of Chinese technology. In 1584, Abraham Ortelius (1527–1598) featured in his atlas Theatrum Orbis Terrarum the peculiar Chinese innovation of mounting masts and sails onto carriages, just like Chinese ships.[166] Gonzales de Mendoza also mentioned this a year later— noting even the designs of them on Chinese silken robes —while Gerardus Mercator (1512–94) featured them in his atlas, John Milton (1608–74) in one of his famous poems, and Andreas Everardus van Braam Houckgeest (1739–801) in the writings of his travel diary in China.[167]


Bodhisattva Manjusri in Blanc-de-Chine, by He Chaozong, 17th century; Song Yingxing devoted an entire section of his book to the ceramics industry in the making of porcelain items like this.[168]
The encyclopedist Song Yingxing (1587–1666) documented a wide array of technologies, metallurgic and industrial processes in his Tiangong Kaiwu (Chinese: 天工開物) encyclopedia of 1637. This includes mechanical and hydraulic powered devices for agriculture and irrigation,[169] nautical technology such as vessel types and snorkeling gear for pearl divers,[170][171][172] the annual processes of sericulture and weaving with the loom,[173] metallurgic processes such as the crucible technique and quenching,[174] manufacturing processes such as for roasting iron pyrite in converting sulphide to oxide in sulfur used in gunpowder compositions— illustrating how ore was piled up with coal briquettes in an earthen furnace with a still-head that sent over sulfur as vapor that would solidify and crystallize[175] —and the use of gunpowder weapons such as a naval mine ignited by use of a rip-cord and steel flint wheel.[176]
Focusing on agriculture in his Nongzheng Quanshu, the agronomist Xu Guangqi (1562–1633) took an interest in irrigation, fertilizers, famine relief, economic and textile crops, and empirical observation of the elements that gave insight into early understandings of chemistry.[177]
There were many advances and new designs in gunpowder weapons during the beginning of the dynasty, but by the mid to late Ming the Chinese began to frequently employ European-style artillery and firearms.[178] The Huolongjing, compiled by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji sometime before the latter's death on May 16, 1375 (with a preface added by Jiao in 1412),[179] featured many types of cutting-edge gunpowder weaponry for the time. This includes hollow, gunpowder-filled exploding cannonballs,[180] land mines that used a complex trigger mechanism of falling weights, pins, and a steel wheellock to ignite the train of fuses,[181] naval mines,[182] fin-mounted winged rockets for aerodynamic control,[183] multistage rockets propelled by booster rockets before igniting a swarm of smaller rockets issuing forth from the end of the missile (shaped like a dragon's head),[184] and hand cannons that had up to ten barrels.[185]

Li Shizhen (1518–93)— one of the most renowned pharmacologists and physicians in Chinese history —belonged to the late Ming period. In 1587, he completed the first draft of his Bencao Gangmu, which detailed the usage of over 1,800 medicinal drugs. Although it purportedly was invented by a Daoist hermit from Mount Emei in the late 10th century, the process of inoculation for smallpox patients was in widespread use in China by the reign of the Longqing Emperor (ruled 1567–72), long before it was applied anywhere else.[186] In regards to oral hygiene, the ancient Egyptians had a primitive toothbrush of a twig frayed at the end, but the Chinese were the first to invent the modern bristle toothbrush in 1498, although it used stiff pig hair.[187]

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1641 – 1911
The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912 with a brief, abortive restoration in 1917. It was preceded by the Ming Dynasty and followed by the Republic of China.

In 1644, the Ming capital Beijing was sacked by a peasant revolt led by Li Zicheng, a former minor Ming official who became the leader of the peasant revolt, who then proclaimed the Shun dynasty. The last Ming ruler, the Chongzhen Emperor, committed suicide when the city fell. When Li Zicheng moved against Ming general Wu Sangui, the latter made an alliance with the Manchus and opened the Shanhai Pass to the Manchurian army. Under Prince Dorgon, they seized control of Beijing and overthrew Li Zicheng's short-lived Shun Dynasty. Complete pacification of China was accomplished around 1683 under the Kangxi Emperor.

Over the course of its reign, the Qing became highly integrated with Chinese culture. The imperial examinations continued and Han civil servants administered the empire alongside Manchu ones. The Qing reached its height under the Qianlong Emperor in the eighteenth century, expanding beyond China's prior and later boundaries. Imperial corruption exemplified by the minister Heshen and a series of rebellions, natural disasters, and defeats in wars against European powers gravely weakened the Qing during the nineteenth century. "Unequal Treaties" provided for extraterritoriality and removed large areas of treaty ports from Chinese sovereignty. The government attempts to modernize during the Self-Strengthening Movement in the late 19th century yielded little lasting results. Losing the First Sino-Japanese War of 1894–1895 was a watershed for the Qing government and the result demonstrated that reform had modernized Japan significantly since the Meiji Restoration in 1867, especially as compared with the Self-Strengthening Movement in China.

The 1911 Wuchang Uprising of the New Army ended with the overthrow of the Empress Dowager Longyu and the infant Puyi on February 12, 1912. Despite the declaration of the Republic of China, the generals would continue to fight amongst themselves for the next several decades during the Warlord Era. Puyi was briefly restored to power in Beijing by Zhang Xun in July 1917, and in Manchukuo by the Japanese between 1932 – 1945.

1912 – 1949
The Republic of China
Western controlled areas and ciivil war.

1949 -2012

People's Republic of China

China is now one of the most successful countries in the world and by coincidence is not under occupation, and once again run by its Han ethnicity.





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Post time 2012-6-28 18:54:04 |Display all floors
you missed that bit about millions dying under Mao
(beast ex machina)

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Post time 2012-6-28 18:54:42 |Display all floors
but then, a one sentence statement about history since 1949 says it all
(beast ex machina)

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lebeast Post time: 2012-6-28 18:54
but then, a one sentence statement about history since 1949 says it all

That is because the thread is about innovation and technology development  .......

If you wish to rehash that Mao topic why do so .........

Especially if you still have the clothes from that time  .........

And you are uber nostalgic  ..........   


Be nice if out of all people here you would at least read first beast  .........   



What the world needs is more geniuses with humility, there are so few of us left  -   Oscar Levant

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