Monday, March 06, 2006

Daily Life in Ancient China

Daily Life in Ancient China - This site geared towards children which describes itself as, "Learn about Taoism with Winnie-the-Pooh. Explore daily life in 4 Chinese Dynasties. Read things written in BC times. Take a quick look at 11,000 years of ancient Chinese history."

The page is a bit crowded and hard to follow at times. However, the content is nice and it gives a good summary of ancient China.

From the site:

The ancient Chinese invented paper, gunpowder, matches, the compass, a seismograph to measure earthquakes, the umbrella, and more! They created incredible philosophies, gorgeous art, and great legends. Even their money was neat. Coins had a hole in their center. There were not any banks, so people stored and kept their coins by running a string through the center. A thousand coins strung together was called a string of money. Ancient China is a fascinating mix of extreme extravagance and extreme poverty.

A great example of the extravagance some emperors enjoyed can easily be shown by the outrageous lifestyle of Hu the Tiger. This emperor lived during the "Age of Division". He reminds me Jaba the Hut in Star Wars! Hu the Tiger was so fat that it took 20 men to carry his litter to the royal hunt. He had a revolving couch built, so men could spin it around, to allow him to shoot in any direction. Hu the Tiger had an all girl orchestra with 500 members. He had battalions of female soldiers who wore sable furs and gold rings and carried bows and arrows painted yellow. He had a bathhouse, air-conditioned with a creative system of running water. He was a riot!

Ancient China covers 11,000 years of history! Fortunately, it's divided into big blocks of time. Still, it can be frustrating sometimes because different people refer to the same blocks of time by different names. That's not very helpful. For example, someone might say "in Shang times" or "in Han times", or they might say "in the Bronze Age" or "in the Age of Division". They might say in the Chou Dynasty (when the Chou family ruled) or in the Zhou Dynasty (when the Zhou family ruled). But, the Chou and Zhou Dynasties were the same dynasty, only spelled differently. You can see why this might be confusing!

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