1. Education
Figure of a Squatting Drummer. Eastern Han Dynasty (A.D. 25-220) Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Figure of a Squatting Drummer. Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Paul Gill
Definition: The ancient Chinese Han Dynasty was divided into two periods, the earlier, Western Han Dynasty, from 206 B.C. - A.D. 8/9, and the later, Eastern Han Dynasty, from 25-220. It was founded by Liu Bang (Emperor Gao) who moderated the excesses of the Qin.

Emperor Gao maintained the centralized government of his predecessors, and started an enduring bureaucracy based on intellect rather than aristocratic birth. This was in line with the switch from Taoism to Confucianism (under Emperor Wu [140-87 B.C.] who established the Silk Road). By the end of the Western Han, there were 3000 scholars enrolled in the academy for the imperial bureaucracy. The Han established the capital at Chang'an (today's Xi'an) as a part of the Silk Road, through the Gansu corridor.

The empire of the Han extended into Mongolia, Vietnam, and Korea, and the population of China increased to 50,000,000.

China's greatest historian, Sima Qian, lived during this period. Hou Hanshu (History of the Later Han) records a Roman embassy from Emperor Antoninus Pius to the Chinese Emperor Huan.

Also Known As: Qian Han is another name for Western Han and Hou Han is another name for Eastern Han.
Examples:
During the Han Dynasty objects were incorporated into tombs for entertainment in the afterlife.

Also see Asian History at About.com's Why Did Han China Collapse?

Sources:
Sarah Milledge Nelson, Brian M. Fagan, Adam Kessler, Julie M. Segraves "China" The Oxford Companion to Archaeology. Brian M. Fagan, ed., Oxford University Press 1996.
Wikipedia Han Dynasty and [formerly at < www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/early_imperial_china/han.html> Minnesota State University Han Dynasty ]

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.