Ranking the Han dynasty with P.E.R.S.I.A

Politics

Like most Chinese dynasties, the emperor was in control of the entire government, and outranked everyone else.

Liu Bang: The Han dynasty's emperor.
"During the reign of Emperor Wu, Liu Che who ruled from 141 - 87 BC, the Han Dynasty Porcelain Jugs of Western Han Dynasty Porcelain Jugs of Western Han Dynasty achieved its most powerful and prosperous period" (Travel guide China)

The Han dynasty was one of the first unified, Chinese dynasties. The first emperor, Liu Bang, Emperor Gaozu initiated many effective measures by recruiting people for his government based on their ability, not birth or wealth, and drawing lessons from the collapse of the Qin and former dynasties. The economy recovered very quickly with able people in the government and with policies based on Lui Bang's reforms. The arts were encouraged by Gaozu and flourished. After Gaozu's death, his son Liu Ying succeeded to the throne although power was held by his mother Queen Lv Zhi. After 16 years of reign by Lv Zhi, Liu Heng (Emperor Wen) and Liu Qi (Emperor Jing) became the emperors in succession. They both reduced the people's tax burdens as Emperor Gaozu had done and encouraged the people to farm and be thrifty in life. Due to their effective measures, the people lived in stability and the nation's wealth and power were enhanced greatly. So far politics are at the bottom of the list due to it's lack of difference, when comparing other dynasties since each dynasty, Qin to Ming has a single ruler, known as the emperor.

Economics

Chinese coins, used as ancient China's currency
"The Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) of ancient China experienced contrasting periods of economic prosperity and decline. ... The Han economy was defined by significant population growth, increasing urbanization, unprecedented growth of industry and trade, and government experimentation with nationalization". (Wikipedia)

In agriculture, water conservation and irrigation projects were built and greatly expanded production. Cattle, and iron farm tools were used at large to plough the land, and planting skills were also improved greatly, thus helping the economy. My ranking of this would be bellow government because like many Chinese civilizations, and ancient civilizations in general, agriculture wasn't an innovation created by China.

Religion

Confucius
"The Han dynasty is oftentimes regarded as one of the most successful of all the Chinese dynasties. The practices and traditions during this dynasty helped set the tone for the imperial rule that governed China for over 2000 years. Like all the other dynasties, religion played a great role in shaping the rule of those in power" (Totally History).

The religious legacy of the 400 year Han era was the development of Confucianism and Daoism, and the acceptance of Mahayana Buddhism. During the Western Han era, the religion of Daoism developed that became China's major indigenous religion.

Social

Map of Silk Road
"The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction through regions of the Asian continent connecting the East and West from China to the Mediterranean Sea". (Wikipedia)

the Silk Road gets its name from the lucrative trade in Chinese silk carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded Central Asian sections of the trade routes around 114 BCE, largely through missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial fleet, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.

Art

Chinese Scuplture
"The Han dynasty is notable for its concentration on organized ceramic production. Mass-produced functional vessels, some stamped with place names and government offices, suggest that a true nationwide industry had come into existence and that some ceramic workshops were already state controlled. Molds aided tremendously in the manufacture of identical vessels, but the most important technical innovation was the development of lead glazing. These low-fired glazes were colored with copper to produce green, or iron to create yellow or brown. The toxicity of lead however meant that these new glazes were best suited to mortuary pottery rather than daily use". (Art of Asia)

Poetry, literature, and philosophy flourished during the reign of Emperor Wudi (141–86 B.C.). The monumental Shiji (Historical Records) written by Sima Qian (145–80 B.C.) set the standard for later government-sponsored histories. Among many other things, it recorded information about the various peoples, invariably described as “barbarian,” who lived on the empire’s borders. Wudi also established Confucianism as the basis for correct official and individual conduct and for the educational curriculum. The reliance of the bureaucracy on members of a highly educated class grounded in Confucian writings and other classics defined China’s statecraft for many centuries. Soft-bodied lead-glazed wares were manufactured largely in central China, the coastal region of southern China continued the production of high-fired stoneware incorporating a wood or ash glaze with a yellow-green color range that can be considered an early form of celadon. The expanded Han repertoire also included painted grey ware, which often imitated lacquer ware, burnished black ware, and stamped and incised decoration both glazed and unglazed.

"Han ceramic tomb figurines, architectural models, farmyard animals, and horses made specifically for the tomb (ming-ch'i) are justifiably famous". (Art of Asia)

Ranking?

In the end I feel the most important and best part of the Han dynasty is it's government or politics. Since the Han dynasty was able to unify China after the down fall of the Qin dynasty when China needed it most. There ability to step in and provide a secure government when it was needed, is what makes them strong. And it is the same with there social relations, since they were able to utilize the silk road in order to better their economy, which by far made China stronger as a whole.

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Ian Mendez
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