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bhchao

What period in Chinese history would you most want to live

Excluding the present, which period in Chinese history excites you the most, and would you most want  

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  1. 1. Excluding the present, which period in Chinese history excites you the most, and would you most want

    • Eastern Han (23AD - 220AD) - Restoration by Liu Xiu, flowering of Han culture, invention of paper and the seismograph
      0
    • Wudi (140 - 86BC) - High Han, expansion and conquests, opening of trade and the Silk Road, contacts with the Roman Empire, cultural brilliance
      1
    • Early years of the Western Han dynasty (206 - 140BC) - ChuHan civil war, reign of Liu Bang, Empress Lu, Wendi, and Jingdi - Economic prosperity, consolidation, appeasement of the Xiongnu, centralization of the government
      0
    • Qin dynasty (221 - 206BC) - Legalist state of Qin Shi Huang, building of the Great Wall, burning of the books, unification of China, burying alive of the scholars
      0
    • Spring and Autumn Period (770 - 476BC) - Age of Confucius
      2
    • Warring States Period (476 - 221BC) - Age of Mencius, Mozi, Xunzi, Shang Yang, constant conflict between states
      0
    • Three Kingdom period (220 - 260AD) - Kingdoms of Wei, Shu, and Wu. Age of Cao Cao, Zhuge Liang, Liu Bei, Sun Quan
      3
    • Sui dynasty (589 - 618AD) - Reunification of China by Sui Yangdi, building of the Grand Canal
      0
    • Tang dynasty, Zhenguan reign (626-649AD) - Taizong, Xuanzang's travels to India, cultural diversity, growth of Buddhism, territorial expansion, religious tolerance
      2
    • Tang dynasty, reigns of Gaozong and Wu Zetian (649 - 705AD) - Prosperity, Buddhism at its height, defeat of Koguryo by Tang and Silla forces
      2
    • Tang dynasty, Kaiyuan period (711 - 756AD) - Peak of cultural brilliance, Age of Du Fu and Li Bai, independence of women
      10
    • Northern Song dynasty (960 - 1127AD): rise of the mercantile class, flourishing of trade and commerce, growth of Neo-Confucianism, peak of civil service exams, use of paper money; invention of printing press in 1040 and moveable type in 1041, tea competit
      3
    • Southern Song dynasty (1127 - 1279AD) - Invention of gunpowder and usage of it against the Mongols. Yue Fei, Hangzhou years
      1
    • Yuan dynasty (1279-1368)
      0
    • Ming dynasty ( 1368 - 1644) - Zheng He's voyages, arriving of the first Europeans and Jesuit missionaries
      2
    • Kangxi reign (1662 - 1723) - Considered by many to be the greatest emperor in Chinese history
      3
    • Yongzheng, Chienlung reign (1723 - 1796) - Peak of Qing prosperity, seeds of decline being sown in the later years of Chienlung's reign
      0
    • Decline of the Qing (1796 - 1911) - Ultra-conservatism, strict adherence to old ways of governing, foreign domination, Sino-Japanese war
      0
    • Chinese Republic (1911-1949) - Sun Yatsen, rise of the KMT, Chiang Kaishek, May 4th movement, civil war, Sino-Japanese war
      4
    • Western Jin (265-316AD)/Eastern Jin (317-420AD) - The Chinese "Middle Ages
      1


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bhchao

Excluding the present time, what period in Chinese history would you most want to live in? This is just for fun and for entertainment purposes. 8)

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confucius

I would like to hold a meeting between Confucius and Confucius, then we would both skip ahead to the Kaiyuan period of the Tang dynasty to engage in philosophical philandering with a couple harems of independent concubines before the foot-binding practice becomes popular for 1000 years.

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Ian_Lee

Apparently you left out the period with most fun.

That is the period between Three Kingdoms and Sui Dynasty: Jin (Eastern only) and the subsequent 4 southern dynasties (the north was in chaos and looked most likely without any fun).

That was the period when the Chinese Great Love Story happened: Liang/Zhu. Every male and female dressed alike with heavy cosmetics and perfumed (that is why Ms. Zhu was never found out as a girl even after three years in school). Most aristocrats did nothing except playing chess and writing poems all the day.

And when the Northern Dynasties meant serious to invade them, somehow those invaders would be defeated by God's will.

And if you were a religious devout, in Liang Dynasty there were 480 Buddhist temples alone in South of Yangtze.

Life looks like dressed-up hippie (I guess those aristocrats would love drugs too if they were available). But life looks fun than most other periods if you belonged to that class.

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bhchao

Originally I tried to add the Jin, but could not add any more poll options. So I took it out. :wall

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geek_frappa

ming dynasty because of the innovation. it might have been fun to live back then talking all day .... asking questions, findings answers... no TV. just books... and personal interaction.

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woodcutter

Are you suggesting chinese history is only 2800 years old?

Heresy!

I want to live in the Xia and have an extremely long lifespan please. :D

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roddy

You should be able to add up to 40 options now. If you have the time.

Can you add 'Last night, when the weather was really nice and I was sitting outside drinking beer'? That's my favourite part of history so far :mrgreen:

Roddy

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bhchao

This is just my opinion, but Northern Song has to be one of the most exciting periods in Chinese history. Even though it was militarily weak, Northern Song produced great innovations in society that have an impact on the world today.

The printing press was first invented in 1040 and the moveable type was invented by Bi Sheng in 1041. It was Johann Guttenberg who later enhanced the printing press during the Reformation in Europe. With these new innovations, printing became widespread, which resulted in a more literate and knowledgable populace. Farmers began to read agricultural publications to learn how to increase their crop yields. The increase in agricultural production helped produce a population explosion during Song times.

In addition to the printing press and the moveable type, the mariner's compass was also invented during the Northern Song. The compass was first invented during the Han dynasty, but it was only used for Taoist purposes. The compass began to be used for seafaring purposes during the Northern Song. It was later introduced to the Arab world and passed on to Europe during this period. Before the introduction of the mariner's compass, sailors in China had to rely on the position of the sun, the moon, and the polestar. The spread of the compass to Europe helped pave the way for ocean travel, and its usage helped lead to the discovery of the New World.

Another innovation was gunpowder. Gunpowder was first used in China for fireworks. Later on, scientific innovators in the Northern Song devised ways to use fireworks for exploding devices for military warfare, such as creating small grenades. The Mongols swept through much of Asia all the way to portions of Eastern Europe. But it took them several decades to finally defeat Southern Song. An important factor in Song being able to hold the Mongols at bay temporarily was the use of gunpowder in cannons. Later on, the Mongols learned how to use cannons by Chinese who taught them how to use it. If the Mongols had not learned the cannon from the Chinese, it is likely that Southern Song would have survived even longer.

Northern Song also saw the first extensive use of paper money, and brokerages between producers and consumers. I would say Northern Song was the first capitalistic society in the world (Feel free to disagree with me). The economy was dictated by market demands, and the dynasty saw the rise of the mercantile class. Prior to the Song, you could make money through landowning. However that was no longer the case in Song times. With the advent of the printing press, Chinese society became more literate, and the increase in education was a helpful factor in promoting an economy based on commerce and trade. Publication of government-issued paper money was first centered in western China and mainly in Sichuan province. It was only during the Southern Song that paper money became more widespread.

Song China was very much like Tokugawa Japan in the 18th century. In both societies, residents in cities became rich being merchants, and both witnessed a flourishing in city culture, as well as a more literate populace. Too bad the Mongols cut short the progress made in China by the Song. It looks like society went downhill and governments became more repressive from the time the Mongols took over, all the way through the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tang was probably the transition from the Chinese "Middle Ages" to modern society, while Song was the first dynasty of the Chinese "modern" period.

Besides a weak military, another negative aspect of the Song was the emergence of foot-binding. Foot-binding arose just before Song during the Five Dynasties period after the fall of the Tang. This practice originated from a tip-toe dancer at court during Five Dynasties trying to make her feet look smaller. Gradually women in the Song court took up this foot-binding fashion, and it was passed on to women of the ruling and middle-class families outside of court. However, foot-binding during the Song was much less severe than the conditions it imposed during Yuan and Ming times. Foot-binding in the Song resembled more like tight high-heel shoes worn by fashionable women to minimize the size of their feet and ease their bodily movement, so to increase sex appeal. It was only during the Yuan and Ming that footbinding became more extreme and mandatory, when yards of cloth were wrapped tightly around the feet of girls starting from age 5 or 6. Chinese women born before Yuan and after Qing are very lucky to escape this. If a woman is tied up like that, how can she have sex?

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Liang Jieming

I agree with bhchao. I choose the Northern Song for the same reasons. They had the best chance to become "modern" if not for the northern invasions.

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Ian_Lee

Here is an interesting article from a Mainland-based forum on which era the writer wishes to live in:

http://blog.qihoo.com/frame/b52784,d49e27,b884_6962.html

(1) Northern Song Dynasty of 11th century

(2) U.S. of 1960s

(3) Yangzhou during the years of poet 杜牧 (mid-late Tang Dynasty)

(4) Athen during the years of Socrates

(5) Arabia during the years of Prophet Mohammed

(6) Eastern Jin amidst thousands of 名士 (hippies+poets+penniless aristocrats)

(7) 宋襄公's kingdom during the Spring and Autumn era

(8 ) Da Vinci's Italy

(9) Paris of 1920s

(10) Today (I assume he means Mainland China)

Why does the writer wishes most to live in Northern Song?

Because the first emperor of Song Mr. Zhao set two rules for his descendants:

(1) Speech of Freedom -- everyone can speak whatever he wants even though it is deemed nonsense;

(2) Never kill any official because they BS.

Amazingly his five-generation descendants really obeyed the rules that older Zhao set up!

Actually that is what I have mentioned in another post:

http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=7483&postcount=12

(It seems those who name Zhao are usually nice guys in politics:roll: )

Anyway, I think that this writer is honest in the first nine choices but for the last choice....Hmmmm.....

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skylee
But Mr. Li dared kill his older brother and younger brother during a coup

I've read your earlier post and found the above interesting, as it reminds me of a line in the recent movie 門徒. Andy Lau says in the film, "你知唔知李世民殺咗幾多兄弟呀?". :mrgreen: Aren't we lucky to have such history.

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rose~

I would choose China in 100 years' time; hopefully having enforced clean air legislation, seen the end of CCP hegemony and with a much smaller gap between rich and poor.

Failing that, I choose the Mongol dynasty.

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Ian_Lee

Actually the writer's 4th preference: Eastern Jin -- is also my choice in an earlier post under this topic: http://www.chinese-forums.com/showpost.php?p=20031&postcount=3

IMO the early ROC period (before the war with Japan) was also intellectually stimulating. Everytime I watch the Titus/Bulova video commercials with Chow Yun Fat &/or Andy Lau under the Black & White video background of ROC years, somehow I just wish I had lived in those years.

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bhchao
Because the first emperor of Song Mr. Zhao set two rules for his descendants:

(1) Speech of Freedom -- everyone can speak whatever he wants even though it is deemed nonsense;

(2) Never kill any official because they BS.

The worst thing the Song emperors usually did to dissenters was sending them to exile. Su Shi got sent to Hainan for his fierce opposition to the court. The court welcomed him back after several years in Hainan, but too bad he died on his return trip.

If he had lived during Ming, I doubt the Ming emperors would be as generous. Yongle executed the scholar Fang Xiaoru for not supporting his rule, and executed his entire family, as well as all the civil service candidates whom Fang administered tests to.

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xianu

If I had super chick powers bestowed upon me for the sake of avenging my father's, brother's or husband's death, I would choose either transition between Western and Eastern Jin from about 280-320 or High Tang in Chang'an to live in. Other than that, all the really exciting and interesting periods in Chinese history seem to me to be exciting and interesting because they were so violent, and unless I had some sort of magical powers, I don't think I would have any fun. Or I would die a violent and tragic death, that I would hopefully be able to immortalize with a beautiful epic yongshi kind of poem.

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FuzhouBen

China has a fascinating history, but I would love to be able to go in the future 20 years to see what China will be like then. The United States (my home) has changed a lot in the past few generations, but this change is so small compared to the change China has seen. My girlfriend is Chinese, and in many ways she has grown up similar to me. However, when I think about my grandmother's life and her grandmother's life, the difference is huge. China has changed so much in the past 100 years, that it is hard to say what the future will bring. I think I have a pretty good picture of what the United States will be like in the next 20 years, but with China you never know. I have lived here only 3 years, and the change has already been enormous.

Ben

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chenpv

What a frustrating mistake I have made... Sincerely, I meant to choose Tang Dynasty...:(

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bhchao

Tang dynasty was one of those rare periods where the judicial code was liberalized to the point where capital punishment was eliminated except for treason, murder, robbery and army desertion. (Zhenguan reign)

Capital punishment was abolished completely during Kaiyuan.

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学习英语者

I like Western Han (BC 202 -AD 8 ) best,Western Han defeate the hun who would invade Europe in the fourth and fifth centuries and consolidate the Great Wall,it induce the hun to break up.the hun migrate to west world in this age.

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