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The Han Dynasty

In the history of China there were many dynasties that ruled China for great periods of time but one that surpassed the rest was the Han. Founded in 202 B.C. by Liu Bang the dynasty ruled for over 400 years. During its rule the Han conquered as much land as the great Roman Empire. The Han was formed soon after the fall of the Ch'in dynasty. The Han was formed on a similar model of government as the Ch'in but it was more sensitive to the welfare of the peasants. The government based on Confusion texts soon became very successful and set a standard for chinese government. From the learning of the texts the Han people learned the way of governing the fair and truthful way. The Family Life of the Han people was based on having as many generations living in the same home, which included the father, the mother, the unmarried daughters, and all of the sons and their families. Older people had authority over younger, and males over females. All marriages were arranged, and marrying someone of a lower class was not permitted. The Han also worshiped their ancestors and their entire family life was considered sacred. The food, clothing, shelter made them distinctive from other cultures. Their diet consisted a lot on rice and pig. They like to wear silk because when you use silk, light cloth, and finely woven fibers it is wind resistant. They also were one of the largest producers of cotton. The Han practiced many elaborate forms of art expressing their thoughts, daily lives and the Teachings of Confucius into their work. They used horse hair for their paint brushes because of its sacredness in their culture. The recreation of the Han was found in many ways. Gambling was a favorite amongst the adults in the lower class. The aristocratic higher class focused their attention towards the three perfections poetry, painting, and calligraphy. However, the lower and upper class both participated in Festivals. During a festival, talent could be displayed in handmade lanterns, kites, and cooking. The children enjoyed games similar to Hackey-Sack, Soccer, and jacks. The Han people believed in Confucius and his civilized teachings. They also believed in Buddha. Most of the Han population were religious and the religions varied, though most believed in Confucius. Confucius said "Do not be concerned about others not appreciating you. Be concerned about your not appreciating others." The Han was one of the most religious periods in Chinese history. Confucius also believed in the golden rule which he stressed rulers to abide by. It's version states "Wish for other what you wish for yourself." Confucius believed that parents rule children, men rule women, the educated rule the common and that the emperor rules all. This is not really a religion. Though it is categorized as one, it does not tell how to worship god, but how to be a gentleman. Buddhism is very different and widely known throughout the Asian countries. Buddha was an old wise man who one day felt that he knew all the answers, and wrote them down in the Buddhist bible called the dharma. Buddha was not as popular with the Han as it was with other countries that took it more seriously. The Han were extremely advanced when it came to technology. They invented many devices that are still used today. They invented wheelbarrows, water clocks, sundials, etc. The rich had distinguished ways of transportation. They rode in carriage with oversized wheels and umbrellas on top. They were pulled by the very sacred horse. The Han had a silk trail on which they would trade many goods on. Silk was highly valued and traded for a number of goods. The Han Dynasty had factories that produced a lot of material that was necessary for, war and building. In 220 A.D. the Han dynasty came to an end. The end of the Han came largely as the result of economic woes. Powerful landlords had shifted too much land from the tax rolls, thereby making it unbearable. (the increased burden on the poorer farmers and intense political factionalism at the imperial court) The resulting economic hardships and governmental disintegration led to massive peasant rebellion and the dissolution of the empire. Then commenced 300 years of political fragmentation known as the Period of Disunion (220-589), during which North China was ruled by a series of semi-Sinicized barbarian peoples and the South was settled by Chinese colonial regimes. Through the 400 years of rule the Han dynasty proved to be one of the greatest ancient Chinese dynasties. Even though it came to a sudden halt it will always be respected as a great time of government for the Chinese people.