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Thread for History of Ancient China up until the end of the Chinese Empire
Discuss History, Mythology, Archeology, Socio-Economics, Politics and Culture of Ancient China. This includes Tibet, Korea and Mongolia.
Leftypedia >>3780 requires an article on Ancient China, all that is covered is the current People's Republic

Important Topics
>Mythology and Legends and their Modern Cultural Impacts
A society that arose at the beginning of human civilization, China's culture is enormous and diverse. Legends and mythology of China such as Fa Mulan and Journey to the West are just prominent examples of legends that influenced others across the globe. Recommend and discuss literature or myths on this.

>Eastern Philosophy, Culture and Religion

The East, especially China developed several unique religions and philosophies utterly separate from the primarily Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian philosophies of Western and Central Europe as well as the Middle East. The 3 primary Chinese philosophies are Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism. Discuss the merits of these.

>Military Conflicts and Everyday Life in Ancient China

Society in China developed on its own and so it had much different ways of life. China is also known for having massive conflicts, some of the first to have millions of men fight at a time. China is known for it's generals such as author of "The Art of War"* Sun Tzu, Han Xing and CaoCao.

>Colonial China

In the 19th Century, China, having stagnated under the Manchu or Quing invaders, lagged behind and lost the Opium Wars, being forced to open up to British, German, Russian and Japanese colonialism of such cities and territories like Beijing, Manchuria and Hong Kong.
- Бутаков Александр Михайлович; барон Тизенгаузен Александр Евгеньевич, Опиумные войны. Обзор войн европейцев против Китая в 1840—1842, 1856—1858, 1859 и 1860 годах http://militera.lib.ru/h/butakov_tizengauz/index.html

Recommended book for basic overview - Harold M. Tanner, China: A History Volume 1 (2009)


>Eastern Philosophy, Culture and Religion
- Li Zehou’s “History of Classical Chinese Thought” is from from a Marxist (albeit also vaguely small-n nationalist) perspective and people may find it useful: https://b-ok.cc/book/5576067/51bb02
- Karyn Lai’s “Introduction to Chinese Philosophy,” while not Marxist, is accessible and interesting: https://b-ok.cc/book/730929/dc0ae1
The social context of these matters but is interesting and not at all Strange and Inscrutable to westerners really - Western philosophical revivals also tended to happen in the midst of periods of interminable interstate wars etc.
- http://www.sino-platonic.org/complete/spp211_confucius_laozi.pdf which clarifies differences between Taoism and Confucianism
It requires the readers to know about the Huangdi-Shennong era, Yao-Shun-Yu era, Shang-Zhou era, Qin-Han era, basic knowledge on classical books of ancient China, etc. All of these knowledge, while common to Chinese scholars, is not easily accessible to Western scholars. Therefore, it's impossible to understand eastern philosophies separated from their social context, especially many of them were social philosophies.


Is the terracotta army fake?
> The highest point has without doubt been reached by the Chinese bureaucracy's laughable fake of the great statues of the industrial army of the First Emperor, which so many visiting statesmen have been taken to admire in situ. Since one could mock them so cruelly, this thus proves that in all the masses of their advisors, there was not a single individual who knew the history of art, in China or anywhere else.
Is Debord right to claim that the terracotta army is a fake?
More from Debord:
> Nothing has better shown at which point taste and knowledge have both disappeared, along with the senses of the improbable and the ridiculous, than the clumsy archeological-cultural imposture of this century, which (it seems) people still laugh at and which its principal dupes prefer to believe has been forgotten without any other explanation. Around 1980, one was ecstatic about an army of statues of thousands of soldiers and horses, a little larger than life-size, that the Chinese claimed to have discovered in 1974 and that were supposed to have been buried with Emperor Tsin Che Hoang Ti [Qin Shinuangdi] twenty-two centuries ago.[12] Hundreds of newspapers and dozens of publishers swallowed the bait and the line, and – guaranteed, moreover, by the enthusiasm of the aforementioned Valery Giscard – this treasure was displayed in many great cities of Europe. Inevitably, subaltern doubts about whether these traveling marvels were the originals, as had been affirmed by the neo-Maoist government, or copies, as it was forced to admit later on. Here, the formula of Feuerbach, which already said that his times preferred the copy to the original, was quite surpassed by progress, since these were copies of originals that had never existed. With a single glance at the first photos of the "excavation," one could only laugh at the imprudence of the Chinese bureaucrats, who so shamelessly took foreigners to be cretins. But still more extravagant than all of these absolute improbabilities was the fact – easily discernible from the images of the soldiers' heads (all of which were strongly similar) – that nowhere and at no moment in the history of the world were such figures produced in molded forms, that is, not before the first third of our century (in fact, they were fabricated in the last years of Mao's reign to be an abundant and miraculous discovery that compensated for all that had been destroyed during the insanity of the pseudo-"cultural revolution"). To compose the poor, basic forms of these gigantic marionettes, one needed to already have the die-casting capabilities of the factories of the early 20th century; the paintings of [Paul] Gauguin, which had relatively recently traced a new artistic figure of the exotic in Western art; and, finally and especially, Stalinist and Nazi statuary – which were the same things – , which had existed since the 1930s.

Apparently there's some other French guys who agrees: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Terracotta_Army/Archive_1#The_statues_are_a_fake


The China History podcast is another good source covering a very large range of topics. There are over 1 decade of episodes to listen through.


https://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Первая_опиумная_война m
Russian sources on the Opium Wars are pretty good


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>3 primary Chinese philosophies are Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism
Also Legalism is important. Unfortunately people tend to lump Confucianism under Legalism and tout that Legalism is the overarching influence of Chinese culture. This is of course untrue:
China's intellectual traditions can't be compressed into a single ideology; i.e, there's Confucian, Taoist, Buddhist, and Legalist elements throughout the culture. Narrowing it down to Legalism (the legacy of Qin Shihuang, Shang Yang, and Han Feizi) is reductionist. Assuming that Confucianism is merely a veneer for State Legalism is denying actual actions by Chinese officials throughout the ages. The infamous coffin protests against Zhu Yuanzhang is something that could never have happened in a pure Legalist state. I'd argue that Confucianism has greater primacy than Legalism in traditional Chinese culture. Legalism perhaps best described how the state functioned, but Confucianism was the ideological superstructure of both the state and the population.
A fairly good article on the matter - https://www.e-ir.info/2018/07/03/confucianism-or-legalism-a-grand-debate-on-human-nature-and-economic-thought/


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Read this excerpt recently on the PRC general but the thread cycled before I could come back and reread the contents, can anyone confirm and flesh out the following?
>Han Gaozu was actually captured by the Xiongnu Confederacy, but used the most underhanded tactics to get out. The Han Dynasty actually had to pay tribute to the Xiongnu Confederacy for a number of years, all the while liberalizing their economy from Qin Command Economy under the influence of Taoism. At a certain point, however, Han Wudi took power and opted for a military solution against the Xiongnu. This worked to a substantial extent, destroying the Xiongnu Confederacy, but also left the Han state bankrupt in the process.
>The two points of interest are the liberalization, which allowed the Han Dynasty to bulk up its economic power, as well as the eventual result of Han Wudi's anti-Xiongnu campaigns. Liberalization in modern China has managed to massively strengthen the economy, and Xi's tilt back toward Communist solidarity and state control of the economy resembles Han Wudi gearing up for the anti-Xiongnu campaigns.


Is there an epic or mythos that is necessary to fully understand Chinese philosophy and historiography, much like the Homeric epics are pretty much required to understand ancient Greece and Rome?
I was thinking about Journey to the West as a good starter, as I believe it takes place on the silk road.


>white people didn't build it so it's fake/aliens
uyghur the same people built the great wall
I think a bunch of statues is pretty plausible


Three Kingdoms.
It's classic Chinese literature covering the period of the same name.
It was made into a TV show you can watch for free on youtube (for now).
About 100 episodes about 45 minutes each.


>About 100 episodes about 45 minutes each
holy tits, well okay then, maybe ill check out the books…
>Romance of the Three Kingdoms is acclaimed as one of the Four Great Classical Novels of Chinese literature; it has a total of 800,000 words and nearly a thousand dramatic characters (mostly historical) in 120 chapters

I will never finish all these damn books ;—;
I guess if the TV show is mostly faithful to the original, it will have to do


File: 1634100215233.pdf (334.97 KB, 211x300, 9-1-2.pdf)

Yes, I was going to mention Three Kingdoms, also The Investiture of the Gods is important.
The role of Jiang Ziya for example is quite interesting in regards to the 9 tailed fox spirit/demon Daji (Tamamo no Mae in Japan) and it is she that is claimed to have started the practise of female footbinding in China as a plot to disguise her fox-like feet by forcing other women to wear the same shoes.

I'd add also China's Four Great Folktales: Legend of the White Snake, Lady Meng Jiang, Butterfly Lovers, and The Cowherd and the Weaver Girl (Niulang Zhinü).
https://web.archive.org/web/20141006103301/http://www.eastasia.ntu.edu.tw/chinese/data/9-1/9-1-2/9-1-2.pdf (pdf 1)

Yeah getting through the entire thing is hard, (I've not done it either) and frankly finding good translations is hard too.

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