Garden of Perfect Brightness: The Yuanmingyuan as Imperial Paradise, 1700-1860

The Kangxi emperor created a villa with gardens to the northwest of Beijing which was named the Garden of Joyful Spring. In order to create a private retreat near the Forbidden City but away from its formality, the Kangxi emperor created a villa with gardens to the northwest of Beijing which was named the Garden[…]

The Garden of Perfect Brightness: China’s Three Great Qing Emperors

The Yuanmingyuan was a paradise on earth for the Qing emperors. Introduction The Garden of Perfect Brightness—Yuanmingyuan (圓明園)—is the name of one of China’s most iconic monuments and tourist destinations. Its importance, more to Chinese than to foreign visitors, lies in the fact that it was an imperial palace and garden that was almost completely[…]

China’s Early Modern Commodities Trade

The search for a commodity that the Chinese wanted to buy led the British to develop opium plantations in Bengal. Luxury exports from Canton—fine porcelain, furniture, lacquer, paintings, and figurines—attracted the most attention as art objects but were not the primary goods of trade. The original China trade was a simple bulk exchange of commodities.[…]

China’s Trade with the West in the Early Modern World

From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries until the mid-19th century. Introduction From early times China engaged in extensive trade relations with other countries, and until the mid 19th century Chinese officials directed by the imperial court in[…]

Empress Wu Zetien: Bloodthirsty Ruler or Bad Press?

“She killed her sister, butchered her elder brothers, murdered the ruler, poisoned her mother,” the chronicles say. But is the empress unfairly maligned? By Mike Dash Most nations of note have had at least one great female leader. Not the United States, of course, but one thinks readily enough of Hatshepsut of ancient Egypt, Russia’s[…]

A History of China from the Mongolian Interlude to the Republican Revolution (1279-1912)

The late Qing (Manchu) dynasty to the fall of Imperial China. Mongolian Interlude By the mid-thirteenth century, the Mongols had subjugated north China, Korea, and the Muslim kingdoms of Central Asia and had twice penetrated Europe. With the resources of his vast empire, Kublai Khan (1215-94), a grandson of Genghis Khan (1167?-1227) and the supreme[…]

An Overview of Prehistoric to Medieval China

The development of Chinese culture as it is still known today, via the Hundred Schools of Thought, pre-Imperialism and the formation of a unified China. Prehistory During the long Paleolithic period, bands of predatory hunter-gatherers lived in what is now China. Homo erectus, an extinct species closely related to modern humans, or Homo sapiens, appeared[…]

The Origin and Development of the Dragon in Ancient Chinese Mythology

Unlike the Western dragon of Europe that is representative of evil, the many eastern versions of the dragon are powerful spiritual symbol. Edited by Matthew A. McIntosh / 12.07.2018Public HistorianBrewminate Editor-in-Chief Introduction The Chinese dragon (spelled Long,Loong, or Lung in transliteration), is a Chinese mythical creature that also appears in other East Asian cultures, and thus is also sometimes called the Oriental (or Eastern)[…]