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Astronomy in Ancient China

By |2018-05-24T11:54:19-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Science|

Chinese astronomy: A Chinese star chart possibly dating from the 600s AD, during the T'ang Dynasty The Chinese zodiac Chinese scholars began by thinking of the stars, the sun, and the moon as gods. Like the scientists of Mesopotamia, they thought they could use the movements of the stars to predict the future. [...]

What is the I Ching? Ancient Chinese religion

By |2018-04-18T09:54:15-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Nobody knows for sure who wrote the I Ching, or when. But most scholars think somebody wrote the I Ching around 800 BC, during the last years of the Western Zhou Dynasty in China. That makes the I Ching the oldest piece of writing in China other than the oracle bones. Like the earlier oracle [...]

Chinese Gods – Mythology – Chinese religion – Ancient China

By |2018-09-19T13:06:23-07:00June 7th, 2017|China, Religion|

Chinese gods: A Song Dynasty statue of Guanyin (ca. 1100s AD) When did Chinese religion start? People prayed to many different gods in ancient China. Some of these gods have been worshipped since the Shang Dynasty (about 2000 BC). Some have probably been around even longer, since the Stone Age. Other Chinese gods [...]

Zhou Dynasty China – Ancient Chinese History

By |2018-09-19T08:24:46-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, History|

A Zhou Dynasty bronze tripod Chariots in Zhou Dynasty China The Zhou conquered the Shang Dynasty about 1100 BC (the traditional date is 1122 BC). The Zhou said that the reason they were able to conquer the Shang was that Heaven was on their side. According to Chinese stories, backed up in some [...]

Swimming in Ancient China – Chinese Games

By |2018-04-16T12:35:53-07:00June 6th, 2017|China, Games|

Zhou Dynasty swimmers (Sichuan bronze vessel, ca. 750 BC) The very first people to arrive in China from Africa about 50,000 BC probably already knew how to swim. People in China were certainly swimming by the time of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty, about 750 BC, because the Book of Odes has a proverb [...]

Early Chinese Architecture – Shang to Ming – Palaces and pagodas

By |2018-04-18T09:54:16-07:00June 5th, 2017|Architecture, China|

Early Chinese architecture - A typical Chinese house Chinese houses Most people in ancient China could not afford to live in fancy houses. They lived in small houses made of mudbrick, with only one room and a dirt floor, or in larger compounds with a lot of people living in them. This was [...]

Zhou Dynasty Architecture – Ancient China

By |2018-04-18T09:54:12-07:00June 4th, 2017|Architecture, China|

A fancy roof tile from the Zhou Dynasty By the time of the Zhou Dynasty, about 1100 BC, there seem to have been a lot of big palaces and shrines to people's ancestors. But nothing much is left of any of them for us to look at now. We know from stories and [...]

Sogdians and the Silk Road – Central Asia

By |2017-05-31T17:15:44-07:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, History|

Gold coin from Sogdiana in the Hellenistic period Then in 328 or 327 BC the Macedonian conqueror Alexander conquered the Sogdians. Alexander got as far as the Jaxartes river (Syr Darya in Tajikistan), where he built a city (modern Khujand) and left some of his Greek and Macedonian soldiers and some of the Greek [...]

Sogdians – History of Central Asia

By |2017-05-31T16:56:34-07:00May 31st, 2017|Central Asia, History|

A horse-drawn chariot from the Oxus Treasure (British Museum, thanks to Mary Harrsch) The Sogdians came to Sogdiana (parts of modern Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) probably about 1500 BC. They were part of the wave of Indo-European migration to the south-east. Many people left Georgia and Armenia about that time and moved to Iran and northern [...]