Ch'in Dynasty Architecture - Ancient China Architecture
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Ch'in Dynasty Architecture

Great Wall of China
The Great Wall of China

The emperors of the very short Ch'in Dynasty, about 200 BC, united China under their rule. To show how powerful they were, the Ch'in emperors ordered many roads and irrigation canals all over their empire.

To keep China safe from invasions from Central Asia, the Ch'in emperors also built the Great Wall of China. Probably local kings had already built many small pieces of the wall in places that needed extra defences, so the Ch'in emperor could show that he had united the empire by building more walls to tie all these short walls together.

Lishan Mausoleum
Lishan Mausoleum

The Ch'in emperors also built (or began to build) a big palace for themselves, the Epang Palace, and a big tomb, the Lishan Mausoleum. The Epang Palace is supposed to have been very big, and laid out a lot like the later Forbidden City of the Ming Dynasty. But there are hardly any traces of it left anymore, if it was ever built at all. The Lishan Mausoleum is like the pyramids of Egypt, a big hollow hill. Inside the hill, the emperor had hundreds of clay statues buried, to be his soldiers and his slaves in the afterlife.

Ch'in Dynasty History
Ch'in Dynasty Art
Han Dynasty architecture

Bibliography and further reading about ancient Chinese architecture:

Ch'in Dynasty History
Ch'in Dynasty Art
Han Dynasty architecture
More about Chinese Architecture
Ancient China


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Karen Carr is Associate Professor Emerita, Department of History, Portland State University. She holds a doctorate in Classical Art and Archaeology from the University of Michigan. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter, or buy her book, Vandals to Visigoths.
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