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Ancient China

The History of China, as documented in ancient writings, dates back some 3,300 years. The records of the Shang Dynasty (1767-1123 B.C) well documented on animal bones and tortoise shells give an insight into the meticulousness of a Chinese mind. The Chou dynasty (1122-221 BC) saw Confucius develop the Code of Conduct which was to overlook the Chinese thought for the next 25 years. The “Celstial Empire” or the Ch’in empire (221 BC) left two lasting legacies: the name China and the basic structure of an empire. These times also saw the building of the 1500 miles long, 15 to 50 feet high, 15-25 feet wide - Ten Thousand Li Wall, better know as The Great Wall of China.

The Ch'in empire disintegrated rapidly after the death of the first emperor. The legitimate heir was killed and Liu Pang emerged as the victor in 202 BC, thereby establishing the Han Dynasty. An imperial University was set up for the study of Confucian classes which had 30,000 students enrolled by the end of Han Dynasty. Two of the great Chinese inventions, paper and porcelain, date from Han times. Buddhist influence in art, especially in sculpture, was strong during the T'ang period. Fine examples of Buddhist sculpture are preserved in rock temples, such as those at Yongang and Longmen in northwest China.

The Sung period (960-1279) was noted for landscape painting, which in time came to be considered the highest form of classical art. In 1271 Kublai Khan, the fifth "great khan" and grandson of Genghis Khan, declared himself emperor of China and named the dynasty Yuan, meaning "beginning," to signify that this was the beginning of a long era of Mongol rule. The Chinese despised the Mongols for refusing to adapt to Chinese culture. His Yuan dynasty hadn't broken the 100 year mark before it was replaced by, the Ming.  In Manchuria the Manchu had organized a Chinese-style state and strengthened their forces under a unique form of military organization called the banner system. The last Ming emperor had hanged himself, ending the "Brilliant" dynasty. The Manchu were invited into China by the Ming general Wu San-kuei to eliminate the rebels. After driving the rebels from the capital, the Manchu stayed and established a new dynasty, the Ch'ing.

By the time Europeans were showing up in large numbers in the 19th Century. Germany, England, America, and others – eight nations in all pretty much had their way with China for decades. Chi’ng’s rule lasted 267 years, compared with 89 years for the Yuan. The long and illustrious reign of the emperor Ch'ien-lung was marred by the first of many serious rebellions in the Ch'ing era, the White Lotus Rebellion from 1796 to 1804. It was not put down for ten years, and China entered the 19th century rocked by revolt. 

19th Century

China in the 19th century was overwhelmed by internal turmoil. When the British discovered the value of the opium trade in 1773, they determined to benefit. The Chinese paid the British for the opium, and the British in turn used the money as part payment for goods bought from the Chinese. Official Chinese resistance to opium resulted in two trade wars in which Great Britain, France, the United States, and Russia gained significant commercial privileges. These conflicts were the first Opium War from 1839 to 1842 between China and Britain and the second Opium War (1856-60) fought by China against Britain and France.

Late 19th Century

A big name in revolutionary China is Sun Yat-sen, who is now revered as the father of modern China by Nationalists and Communists alike. After forming a secret revolutionary society and plotting an unsuccessful uprising in Canton in 1894, Sun began a long period of exile outside China. He gained wide recognition as a revolutionary leader in 1896, when his arrest in the Chinese legation in London and subsequent rescue were reported sensationally in newspaper articles.

In 1905, in Japan, he brought together several revolutionary groups and formed the Revolutionary Alliance Society. Its program consisted of the now famous Three People's Principles: nationalism, freeing all China from foreign control; democracy, overthrowing the Manchu and introducing a democratic political system; and people's livelihood. Although Sun himself could not live in China, members of the alliance infiltrated many social organizations there. The revolutionary spirit that had been developed by Sun became especially high among students' and soldiers' groups.

The failure of the Boxer Rebellion to eject the West and the humiliation of the Chinese by the terms of the Peace of Peking generated more support for nationalist revolutionaries. In 1911 the Ch'ing Dynasty collapsed. Revolutionaries led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen then took over the Chinese government, ending more than 2,000 years of monarchy.

The Republic of China  (1912-1949)

Early in March 1912, Sun Yat-sen resigned from the presidency and, as promised, Yuan Shih-kai was elected his successor at Nanjing. Inaugurated in March 1912 in Beijing, the base of his power, Yuan established a republican system of government with a premier, a cabinet, a draft constitution, and a plan for parliamentary elections early in 1913. The Kuomintang (KMT, National People's party), the successor to Sun Yat-sen's organization, was formed in order to prepare for the election. Sun died of cancer in Peking on March 12, 1925. Sun's tomb in Nanking is now a national shrine.  

The People's Republic of China 

On Oct. 1, 1949, Mao Zedong announced the establishment of the People's Republic of China. The CCP hailed its takeover of China as a people's victory over and liberation from imperial domination (especially that of the United States) and the oppressive KMT regime. The Red Army was renamed the People's Liberation Army. By the time Communists established the people’s Republic of China in 1949 and things started to stabilize, they were extremely popular as they were less corrupt than almost any government or army in the history of china, and the land reforms they had been carrying out for last two decades were fair and successful. 

Third Generation of Leaders

The pragmatist Deng Xiaoping won the succession on power struggle after the death of Mao. Once in charge, he emerged as a capitalist, and as it just so happened that economic liberalization was about the only option left for the Communist Party to retain legitimacy and power, everything worked out fine in the end for the Party.

In March 1998, Jiang was re-elected President during the 9th National People's Congress. Premier Li Peng was constitutionally required to step down from that post. He was elected to the chairmanship of the National People's Congress. Zhu Rongji was selected to replace Li as Premier.

China is firmly committed to economic reform and opening to the outside world. The Chinese leadership has identified reform of state industries as a government priority. Government strategies for achieving that goal include large-scale privatization of unprofitable state-owned enterprises. The leadership has also downsized the government bureaucracy.

Welcome to China, where looking through the layers of time, we get the glimpse of the civilization beginning on this land. A great nation who’s mighty Great Wall can be viewed from space.


 

Chinese Dynasties The Great Wall of China
The Forbidden City The Terracotta Army

Dragon & Phoenix ~ Silk Embroidery
Silk Embroidery
Gold Leaf Painted ~ 10 Inch Turnip Vase
Gold Leaf Lacquer
Pair of 10 Inch Closionne Vases
Cloisonne
Pair of Brass Foo Dogs
Brass & Bronze
Inside Painted Boxes

 
 

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