Introduction of China for Non-Needhamists of Euro-americans

Chinese Cultural History according to their costumes

See beautiful images of Fantasy China.

Efendi is a real scholar of historian, and each of us has own unique perspective and favorite theme.

Efendi taught me good links of Ancient Chinese costumes:

Below is my personal excerpt of characteristic of each RW dynasties.

Chinese History is in a sense battle of North Nomads and absorbs its influence.

Han Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (206 B.C.-A.D. 220) noted for unifying and expanding its national territory and for promoting literature and the arts. It's classic Age almost all of Unified Chinese was founded. After long Warring States Period and War between Han and Chu, basic chinese culture of Confucianism and centralized Imperial Court almost all began from that age. [Pants were used from Warring States Period by cavalry warriors, as indecent costume of Nomad since that day. (Similar to toga waring roman feeling to pants?)]

Already in Legendary Age, Chinese knew silkworm raising. Paper was invented at this dynasty (by an inventive Eunuch) and magnetic force was discovered.

I have some good images of costume of this age from my Chinese Character Dictionary:

Tang Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (618-907) that was known for its wealth and its encouragement of the arts and literature. Though it had suffered much of North Nomad influence (and brutal rule) since the Three Kingdoms age, the Center of the World (ie: China) absorbed it and made it its own as if they had been there from beginning, nothing was changed. (It is common practical propaganda of China since that age.) Half of mandarian bureaucrats were selected by exams, there was many contacts with foreign culture like Japan embassies. Noble culture reached its peak absorbing foreign influence. [But notorious women foot-binding also began from that age.]

"Chinaware" or porcelain was invented in Tang Dynasty with the custom of tea drinking. (

Palace of Tang Dynasty: This CG is a diagram of restoring image of Palace in Tang Dynasty Capital.

Sung Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (960-1279). Under its rule China achieved one of its highest levels of culture and prosperity. Though external strength was weak and suffered for huge amount of tribute to nomads for civilians strongly controlled army and generals in the lesson of the downfall of Tang Dynasty, under its rule, commoner's culture and urban civilization flourished and reached its peak for wealthy land and economy. Philosophy and Technology were encouraged. Almost all of bureaucrats were selected by exams. [Furniture chair was used from that age, Chinese didn't use it before for it is nomad custom, and they had sat over floor directly.]

Gunpowder, Compass and letterpress printing were already turned into practical using. Bills were used to cancel the lack of convertible precious metals. Driving rudder of ship was also used practically. (It was invented in China for their ship are all flat-bottomed, see below about development of ship and navigation.)

Yuan (Mongolian) Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (1271-1368) established by the Mongolian ruler Kublai Khan at Peking (Beijing). It was superseded by the Ming dynasty. Though they destroyed noble culture of China with their "brutal" nomad rule and Islamic Influence, Commoner's culture rather thrived for indifference of rulers to it. "Journey to the West" and many other good but "coarse" literatures.

Gunpowder was frequently used in this dynasty.

Ming Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (1368-1644) noted for its flourishing foreign trade, achievements in scholarship, and development of the arts, especially in porcelain, textiles, and painting. Though the name means "Dynasty of Brightness" and successful external conquest by sea, it is in fact a "Dynasty of Darkness", oppressive and half-crazy emperors soaked his throne with blood, even though they insisted that they recovered Chinese Tradition after the nomad rule of Yuan Dynasty. Dogmatic Confucianism damaged commoner's culture, science and technology.

Qing (Manchurian) Dynasty
A Chinese dynasty (1644-1912) during which increasing Western influence and trade led to the Opium War (1839-1842) with Britain and the Boxer Rebellion (1898-1900). The dynasty, China's last, was overthrown by nationalist revolutionaries. Early Days of this Dynasty, they forced subjects to barbarian hairpieces [pigtail] hairstyle. [I dislike it.]

[Though as a minority, manchurians supported Confucianism and traditional culture of China sarcastically on the contrary to Ming Dynasty, I dislike their history for they could not defend the Center of the World well from the White Savages and Pirates. (Sorry for calling your ancestor by this deregatory term...but it is common feeling to foreign conquerors and oppressors.)]

*Maybe you might oppose my idea for "underestimation" of Ming and Qing culture, like Gibbon's underestimation of feudal europe and Byzantine Empire.....surely, I am no teacher of chinese history, I wrote merely a one propaganda, I think it is inevitable if you want to write short, but not monotonous introduction....if you want to know "fact", please research by yourself.

Relationship between Chinese and Japanese, in Chinese Characters

Efendi taught me that language always changes and never stop this process, and in Japan, many of Old pronunciation remained to each Chinese Characters, such characteristic is maybe difficult to explain here to phonogram people.....Some classical european linguists insist the superiority of phonogram to ideogram, and time change process from latter to former is inevitable for each cultures, (maybe you might recall egyptian hierogryph and Demotic...)

I hesitate to agree with their opinion wholeheartedly though eastern asia could not resist the trend of World promoting speeding up, but I think ideogram is in a opposite sense, superior for keeping the meaning of each records and ambiguous relationship between phonetic language and writing....often ignored by Europeans knowing only alphabets. So ideogram is more suitable for More slow paced age like Ancient Time.

Anyway, each of Chinese Characters can be pronunciated differently in Japanese according to the time that pronunciation was used in the age of China, [in Old setting of Genertela Boxed Set, names of Kralorela places and personalities are much similar to Modern RW Mandarin (Beijing Dialect),  so Efendi wants to apply Chinese Characters according to it, but that makes sometimes applied characters are often unusual for place names, and sometimes. weird. ([the portion should be ignored by non-gloranthaphiles.])

The difference of Europe and Far East in Ships (Translation of Excerpt from Efendi's Essay)

26 / Oct / 2003 Revised According to comments of Joerg Baumgartner and Efendi

Partitions and Hull Strength

 Though China and Japan have long tradition of shipmaking, they never invent keel by themselves. So their warships never launched ram attack, and Far East shipbuilding went different course of development. Chinese didn't try to improve the strength of hull, but rather they made many sealed up rooms inside of it, converted it into many partitions and tried to make ships difficult to sink. Recalling of Titanic sinking in 1911 that didn't have perfect partitions, it seems that the direction of concept for developing between Europe and Far East is utterly different.

 Broadly divided, there were three types of Chinese Warships, Fighter, Charger and War Canoe. Fighter and Charger type of  Warships are loaded with footsoldiers and archers to attack during the approach of gunwales and melee. Charger is smaller than Fighter Warship and more speedy. War Canoe is for landing. Chinese Warships without necessity of ram attack tend to have high height from waterline to gunwales, so large Fighter Warships cannot move with rowing, and almost immobile without wind.

Chinese Naval Battles were mainly fought over the Yangzi River. In 1127, when Manchurian Jin Dynasty conquered North China and Sung Dynasty fled to South, Yangzi river turned to the forefront between Sung (Native) Dynasty and the "barbarians" (half-nomad, half-farmer). At that time, Sung Chinese attached outer wheels moved with foot stamping to Fighters and improved the weakness of Fighters (it was induced from potter's wheel (Efendi)). In 1161, Sung defeated Great Army of Jin Dynasty in naval battle.

Outer Wheel is not Chinese unique invention. In Oldest Record, Roman Consul Appius Claudius ordered to make outer wheeled (motive power was that of human hand) ships in 263 BC. Leonaldo Da Vinch also designed Outer Wheel Ship moved with footstamping. But practical use was only available for chinese with already high technology. But more about outer wheel itself, it is very fragile and merely a substitutional and slow power when sailing is possible.

Another Far East unique invention of rowing boat is turtle-shell ships that was used by the Korean admiral Lee Sunsin when Japan invaded to Korea in 1592-1598 (Hideyoshi Toyotomi), it was modeled with real turtle shell and covered with steel boards defending against gun bullets [already Japan induced many matchlock guns in Warring States Period]. It lack sails and moved with only rowing. Perhaps this turtle ships was first armored warship in the world, and Japanese navy could not prevent the turtleshell ships from destroying supply fleet ships of theirs.

History of Sail in China (Square Sail and Lateen Rigging, Flat Bottom and Keel)
Chinese Ships are flat bottomed without keels, so have light drafts. Light draft ships is not stable and cannot be with high masts. So Chinese made their ships large enough to hold many masts improving propulsive power. On the contrary, Western ship with keel cannot have deep draft for it would be stranded but with light draft, it might be overturned like the case that Maryrose immediately sank after launching from Portsmouth in 1545.

In this sense, chinese ships can be enlarged in proper to need. For example, Baochuans of Eunuch Admiral Zheng He had nine masts with the length of 140 meters and width of 58 meters in the record [even if there might be exaggeration for Ming mandarins later destroyed the record for their doctrine, quite large.] And Marco Paolo also hinted the existence of large ships in Yuan Dynasty with 300 sailors and 6 masts. (Perhaps it was the standard scale of trading ships at that age.) But Chinese ships didn't have wave resistance and moved along coastlines. And chinese didn't invent Lateen riggings and their ship could not sail when the wind direction was not fair. And chinese baochuans were quite slow even though it is quite safe and capable for containing large amount of cargoes, don't need facility of ports for landing.

In 15th Century, closed mountainous area of Southeast China sent excessive population out oversea Southeast Asia, later they became first "oversea Chinese". There they watched dhaw type ships of Muslim merchants and induced their lateen riggings to their flat bottomed ships. The new-type ship invented by "oversea Chinese" is known as "Junks" today. Junks had excellent circular drive ability and it sailed freely the complicated waterarea of Southeastern Asia. From the early 17th century, while Redsealed (Officially Authorized) tradeships between Japan and Southeastern Asia made round trips, shipyard of Nagasaki built junks for the trade route to there.

The difference in Law and Jurisdiction

Joseph Needham: Science in Traditional China, A Comparative Perspective (1981)
Joseph Needham: Clerks and Craftsmen in China and the East, Lectures and Addresses on the History of Science and Technology (1970)

Edward W Said: Orientalism (1995)
Andre Gunder Frank: ReOrient, Global Economy in the Asian Age (1998)

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