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Han China: Literature, Art, Philosophy and Education


        To be a successful empire, an empire must have patronized learning - literature, art and philosophy.  During the Han dynasty, historians made two great works: Shih Chih (Records of the Historians), Lives of Famous Women and The History of the Former [western] Han dynasty, whose records still exist today. Literature in the ancient Han consisted almost only of historical records.  (World History)

        Philosophy in ancient Han was mainly made of Confucianism, and Confucianism was the state belief.  The reason that the previously popular Legalism was not used was because they were associated with the hated Qin dynasty.  Taoism was popular, and drugs and potions were sought that would prolong life; alchemy was researched.

        This picture shows what Taoists  perceived could be eternal life, a series of triangles, and this was probably believed because of the dizziness after drinking a potion.

        Finally, Han dynasty art was very detailed.  Below is shown a Han warrior, one who would probably have defended the emperor or the Great Wall from Xiong Nu invaders.

Below can be seen a Han dynasty jar

Education in Han China was, because of Confucian beliefs, a good and important thing to have in China. "One of the Han emperors (Emperor Wudi), around 100 A.D., agreed with Confucius that education was the key to good government."  (Daily Life in Ancient China)  He began a system which gave an education publicly to boys, and they were taught by confucian teachers.  Confucius teachings were so greatly honored that schools were set up in every providence.  One major school was the Grand School, and it was located in the capital.  When this school's teachings began, 50 students were allowed to learn at this school; however, 100 years later, the school taught over 30,000 students. (Daily Life in Ancient China)


"Chinese Culture." 2 Jun 1999. 12 Mar 2003.
"Chinese History." A universal guide for China studies from China knowledge. 11 Mar 2003.
"Daily Life in Ancient China." 23 Oct 2002. 12 Mar 2003.
"Tantra." 16 June 2001. 12 Mar 2003.
World History. Before 1600: THe Development of Early Civilization. USA: Wadsworth, 2002.