Museum of Chinese History Feudal Society

Ⅲ.The Feudal Society (457 BC to AD 1840)
40. The early stage of the feudal society was in a rival state, which had seven kingdoms (ducal states). This picture shows that the newly-rising landlord class carried out political reforms and consolidated their rule.
41. These were passes issued by the King of the State of Chu in Hubei area, one was used for land traffic and the other for sea travel, like your passports today. They showed the strengthening of the imperial power.
42. These funerary objects, totalling more than 800 pieces, were uncovered in the tomb of a landlord in Henan Province. The technique of making lacquer wares and containers was quite developed. They indicated the strengthening of political and economic power of the land-lord class in the early period of the feudal society.
43. This was uncovered in the tomb of a peasant in Shijiazhuang, Hebei Province. Small peasant economy emerged and iron implements were employed widely. Water conservation projects were built. The famous Dujiangyan irrigation project was designed by Li Bing over 2,000 years ago. It still plays an effective role in farming in Sichuan Province.
44. As currencies in China were not standardized at that time, different shapes of currency were made in various places. Some are in the shape of knives, others look like spades, and still others are round in shape. Some of them are made of gold. Gold is mined in more than20 places in China now.
45. This section deals with the achievements in the fields of ideology and culture during the early period of the feudal society. These were famous philosophical thinkers of the time. Meng Ke was a faithful follower of Confucius. Bian Que was a folk physician who used the method of feeling pulse to diagnose the illness of patients, thus laying the foundation for treating diseases with Chinese medicine. Qu Yuan was a famous poet who wrote a lot of poems eulogizing the motherland and the people.
46. This is the portrait of Qinshihuang, the first Emperor of the Qin Dynasty, who established the first centralized feudal state in the Chinese history.
47. This is a tiger tally used by Qinshihuang for deploying the army. It looks like a small tiger. Half of it was in the hand of the Emperor, and the other half was held by the general in command. The two halves must match when troops were to be deployed. In other words, without the order of the Emperor, nobody was allowed to dispatch the troops. The troops were under the strict control of the Emperor.
48. This part tells us how Qinshihuang standardized the scripts, currency, and weights and measures after he unified China. He connected the various sections of the walls built by the different kingdoms and had the world-famous 6,OOO-kilometre-long Great Wall constructed.
49. These are terra-cotta warriors and horses discovered in Lin-tong near Xi’an in 1974. Altogether more than 6,000 figures were uncovered. They were arranged in military formation. It reflects the political and military development and high artistic talent of the labouring people in the Qin Dynasty.
50. This is a picture of Qinshihuang Mausoleum. According to historical records, 700,000 people were involved in building the tomb.
51. The cruel exploitation of the Qin rulers gave rise to revolt on the part of the people. The first peasant uprising in China broke out in209 BC in Anhui Province. This picture depicts the scene of the uprising at the early stage. The uprising was led by Chen Sheng and WuGuang.
52. The peasant uprising overthrew the Qin Dynasty which lasted for 15 years. In 206 BC, Liu Bang established the Western Han Dynasty.
53. These are part of the over 2,500 pottery figures of infantry and cavalry unearthed in 1965 in Shaanxi Province. These pottery soldiers represented the standing army established in the Western Han Dynasty and the powerful military strength of the time.
54. It is a 2,OOO-year-old mural discovered in the remains of an iron foundry in Hunan Province. It shows that coal was used as fuel for iron-smelting.
55. This is a piece of silk fabrics unearthed at Mawangdui in Changsha, Hunan Province. This long gown was worn by the mummy. It weighs only 49 grammes. The lacquer wares discovered in Mawangdui show that handicrafts technique made much headway at the time.
56. This is a waterwheel made in AD 31* It was used to push the bellows for iron-smelting. In Europe hydraulic bellows were not used until 12th century AD.
57. This is the model of a castle owned by a landlord, which was excavated from a tomb. The landlords maintained private armed forces to protect their manorial estates. This is also an embodiment of the strength of the landlord class.
58. Zhang Heng was an outstanding scientist of the Eastern Han Dynasty. He invented the world’s first seismograph consisting of a bronze urn 1.9 metres in diameter and with a central pendulum, An earth tremor would cause the pendulum to activate a set of levers which release a bronze ball held in the mouth of one of the eight dragons on the surface of the urn. Thus it could indicate when and in what direction the earthquake was taking place.
59. This is a piece of primitive paper dating back to the Western Han Dynasty, discovered in Shaanxi Province. It was made of plant fibre. Paper was invented in the Western Han Dynasty, and was improved and popularized in the Eastern Han Dynasty. Hua Tuo, a famous Han Dynasty physician, was the first to use an aesthesia for operation. Han Dynasty saw high attainments in science and culture.
60. This is the portrait of a famous Chinese historian Sima Qian who wrote the Historical Records.
61. This is the pottery figure of a story-teller unearthed in Sichuan Province. He is so confident and expressive. The figure shows the vividness of sculptural art at the time.
62. In the Western Han Dynasty, a road was built from China’s Central Plain area to West Asia and the road was later known as the Silk Road.
63. These are the silk fabrics and bronze mirrors found along the Silk Road.
64. This section is devoted to the period in which China was reduced to feudal separatist rule. It was called the period of the Three Kingdoms. Cao Cao was a famous statesman and strategist who unified northern China for a time. Zhuge Liang was also a famous strategist and statesman. He adopted a friendly policy towards the minority people in southwest China. Also he paid much ‘attention to the development of agriculture in that area.
65. This is a water mill driven by hydraulic power for processing grain. It is still in use in south China.
66. This is the model of a point-to-the-south chariot which had a mechanism that enabled a pointer to indicate the south, no matter which way the cart turned.
67. This is an odometer. A set of gears engaged with the hub caused the figurine to beat the drum once every 500 metres.
68. Zu Chongzhi was the first in the world to work out the pi to be between 3. 1415926 and 3.1415927. He also made notable contributions to astronomy, the calendar system and mechanical design.
69. These are the carved stone Buddhas from Yungang, Shanxi Province, during the Wei and Tang dynasties. Buddhism was introduced to China in the lst century BC, in the Western Han Dynasty. It originated in ancient India in the 6th century BC. The founder of Buddhism was Sakyamuni.
70. This section is devoted to the Sui Dynasty, which lasted from581 to 618 AD. The founding of the Sui Dynasty marked the end of the feudal separatist rule and China was reunified again. The Grand Canal from Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province to the vicinity of Beijing was built during that period, from 605 to 610. Its total length is 1,794kilometres. It played an important role in developing the economy in the north and the south Part of it is now open to visitors in the south.
71. This is the tomb of a nine-year-old girl unearthed in Shaanxi Province. In the tomb more than one hundred artifacts were discovered. The little girl was one of the royal family members. The relics show that the aristocrats led a life of extravagance.
72. Zhaozhou Bridge, designed and built by Li Chun from 605 to617, has stood the tests of earthquakes, floods and traffic for 1,300years. It is the world’s oldest single-arch stone bridge still in use to-day. To protect this monument, a parallel bridge was built in 1980s. The main arch of the old bridge has a span of 37 metres and the total length of the bridge is 54 metres. The two minor arches at each end. are known as open spandrelled arches.
73. Thirty years later, the Sui Dynasty was overthrown and was succeeded by the Tang Dynasty. Wu Zetian was an outstanding stateswoman who was in power for 50 years. She was the only female Emperor in the history of feudal China. She made some contributions to the development of economy, politics and culture at the time.
74. These are the farm implements used in the Tang Dynasty.
People then knew how to use ploughs. This kind of plough can still be seen in the rural areas in China.
75. A Tang Dynasty granary was uncovered. These are the grains dating back to over one thousand years ago. At that time there were a lot of grains in Luoyang. Agriculture was developed to a certain extent.
76. These are the mirrors, metal articles and tri-colour Tang horses. Such beautiful colours were made from raw materials, such as copper dioxide and other things.
77. Chang’an (today’s Xi’an) was the capital of the Tang Dynasty. According to written history, the city of Chang’an covered an area of 35 square kilometres with a population of one million. It was China’s political, economic and cultural centre in the Tang Dynasty.
78. These are the remains of the palaces. The picture is a representation of the palaces which resemble the three palaces in the front part of the Forbidden City.
79. This is a picture showing the remains of the city gates in Chang’an (today’s Xi’an). In the picture as you can see, there were five gates of Chang’an City at the time.
80. The marriage of the Tang Princess Wencheng to Tibetan Prince Songtsen Gampo promoted the economic and cultural exchanges between the two nationalities.
81. These are the dumplings, cakes unearthed from Xinjiang, which show that the living
Habits of the people there were the same as those in the hinterland.
82. In Xinjiang, cotton and cotton seeds were found. As early as the Tang Dynasty the people there began to cultivate cotton.
83. Monk Jianzhen went to Japan in AD 753 to preach Buddhist teachings which helped promote the cultural exchanges between China and Japan.
84. The famous monk Xuanzang started his journey fromChang’an to study in India and other countries. He spent 17 years in the journeys to the western regions, and brought back with him over 600 books of Buddhist scriptures. He also wrote a book entitled Pilgrimage to the West in the Great Tang Dynasty. The book recorded what he saw and heard on the way. On the basis of this book a Ming Dynasty literati wrote the novel Pilgrimage to the West.
85. This is a stele which recorded the introduction of Christianity into China in the early Tang Dynasty.
86. This is the earliest wood block printing in the world, dating back to 868 AD. Wood block printing was invented in the Sui Dynasty and raised to a higher stage in the Tang Dynasty. Literature and art flourished at the time.
87. They were well-known poets of the Tang Dynasty, the greatest ones being Li Bai and Du Fu.
88. This is the model of a wooden structure still in existence in Shanxi Province. The building is located in Wutai, Shanxi. It is one of the two Tang Dynasty wooden structures still standing.
89. This is a bust of Huang Cao, leader of the peasant uprising at the end of the Tang Dynasty. Led by him the peasant troops broke into Chang’an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty in 880 AD. Two decades later the Tang Dynasty was overthrown.
90. This section is devoted to the period in which Liao, Song, Western Xia and Jin dynasties co-existed from 916 to 1280 AD.
91. Here is the portrait of Zhao Kuangyin who established the Song Dynasty in 960 AD. This is a sketch map showing the capital city of Kaifeng.
92. This picture shows the well-known Marco Polo Bridge built in 1192, in the Jin Dynasty, which made Beijing its capital for the first time in the history of China.
93. These are the porcelain vases and wares produced in Henan, Zhejiang and other provinces. There were five famous kilns which were Guan, Ke, Ru, Ding and Jing, each of these kilns turned out porcelain wares in different designs and colours.
94. This is a Song Dynasty painting Riverside Scene at Qingming Festival. It depicts the economic prosperity in Kaifeng, Henan Province. It is 5 metres in length with more than 500 figures in it.
95. Here you can see the display of gunpowder. According to historical records, people began to use gun powder in the Tang Dynasty for cultural entertainment and cutting into mountains. Towards the end of the Tang Dynasty, gun powder was used in battles. This is the worlds first bronze cannon.
96. In the Yuan Dynasty, rockets were invented and they were able to fly some distance with the help of gun powder.
97. Bi Sheng invented the movable-type printing technique which was an improvement on that of the wood block printing. The modern printing technique is developed on that basis.
98. More than 2,000 years ago, China began to use magnet to show direction. The magnetic needle was made in the Song Dynasty and the mariner’s compass was invented and employed in navigation. There were four famous inventions in China: paper-making, gun powder, compass and movable-type printing.
99. Now we come to a Song Dynasty acupuncture manikin used in teaching. It is hollow inside with many holes indicating the acupuncture points. It was filled with water and the points were covered with wax. If one succeeded in getting at the right points, water would come out through the holes.
100. This is a wooden pagoda, 66.6 metres high, built in 1056, with a history of over 900 years. Not a single nail was used for the construction. It is the highest wooden structure in China still standing in Yingxian County, Shanxi Province. During its renovation in 1977, some Buddhist images and sutras were found in the pagoda.
101. This is a portrait of Kublai Khan, leader of the Mongolian nationality, who unified China in 1279. Beijing was then named Dadu, the capital of the the Yuan Dynasty.
102. This is a map of Beijing at the time. The south city wall ran along the present-day Chang’an Avenue. These were building materials.
103. This picture depicts the shipment of timber under Lugouqiao(Marco Polo) Bridge. The bridge was destroyed by a big flood and rebuilt in 1698.
104. In the Yuan Dynasty, the Venetian traveller Marco Polocame to Beijing in 1275. He lived in China for 17 years. After he went back to Italy he had the book Travels of Marco Polo written.
105. This is a picture of Guo Shoujing who devised a calendar which determined 365. 2425 days to be a year, with an error of only 26 second. Guo Shoujing (1231-1356) played an important role in discovering the water source for Dadu, an old name for Beijing. This eminent scientist also invented many astronomical instruments which were among the most advanced in the world at the time.
106. This is a water clock (clepsydra) which has 4 containers and time is measured by constant flow of water.
107. Cruel exploitation and oppression by Mongolian and Han landlords provoked sustained resistance from people of various nationalities. The flames of revolt swept the country, bringing to an end the rule of the Yuan Dynasty. Finally, Zhu Yuanzhang set up the Ming Dynasty and made Nanjing its capital in 1368. In 1420 when the For-bidden City was completed, Yongle, the third Emperor of the Ming Dynasty, moved the capital back from Nanjing to Beijing.
108. This painting shows Beijing 300 years ago. It describes the economic prosperity of the city in the Ming Dynasty.
109. According to historical records, paintings and abacus appeared in China in the Song Dynasty. The abacus made Dynasty became adequate.
110. At the beginning of the 15th century Zheng He led his fleet to make 7 long voyages, He had been to over 30 countries and regions, as far as the Red Sea and the east coast of Africa. His voyages promoted China’s trade relations with Asian and African countries.
111. This painting depicts China’s earliest struggle waged by the city workers. The contingent of handicraftsmen became stronger as a result of the growth of capitalist rudiments. They rose in arms against the feudal rulers.
112. The gold crown, weighing 800 grammes, and “phoenix” headdress, 2.9 kilos, were found in Dingling in 1958. The “phoenix” headdress was decorated with Kingfisher’s feathers. Eight million taels of silver were spent on the construction of Dingling.
113. The book describes how the people in Henan suffered from floods. They had to eat tree barks and grass roots and fled from famine when the Emperor spent a fabulous amount of money on his tomb.
114. In 1644 when the peasant leader Li Zicheng and his insurgent army broke into Beijing, the last Ming Emperor Chongzhen hanged himself on a locust tree in Coal Hill Park right behind the For-bidden City. The Ming Dynasty collapsed.
115. The Qing Dynasty, established by the Manchus, was the last feudal dynasty in the history of China. Kangxi was an outstanding statesman of the Qing Dynasty. He ruled China for 61 years and played a very important role in unifying and consolidating China.
116. Here is the seal used by the Emperor. These are the seals for the Manchu army.
117. The year of 1624 saw the Dutch colonialists’ aggression of Taiwan. In 1661 the national hero Zheng Chenggong led 25,000 soldiers to recover Taiwan from the Dutch colonialists.
118. This is a cannon used by him. This was a Dutch colonialists’ surrender. It is a painting of Zheng Chenggong presented to the Chinese Government by his 9th generation grandson.
119. Iii mid-17th century, Tzarist Russia, pursuing an expansionist policy along the Heilongjiang River and Wusuli River, occupied large stretch of China’s territory and forced the Qing Government to sign the Nipchu Treaty.
120. These are the imperial writings inscribed on gold panels granted to Dalai Lama by the Qing Court. It reflected the strengthening of the relations between the Central Government and Tibet during the Qing Dynasty.
121. China had 50 minority nationalities in the Qing Dynasty. The history of China has been jointly created by various nationalities. These are the costumes of different minority nationalities. They are much more colourful than those of the Han nationality.
122. These are silk fabrics and porcelain pieces produced during the Qing period. Handicrafts made new progress and the seeds of capitalism grew fast.
123. This painting shows the street west of the Front Gate, Beijing, during the Qing period. It depicts the scene of Emperor Qianlong’s outing. The law stipulated that all the windows and gates along the route had to be tightly shut.
124. These are enamel wares made in the Qing Dynasty. We can see Western designs on some of the enamel wares. This shows the introduction of Western culture into China.
125. In the Qing Dynasty, the main products for export were porcelain, raw silk, silk fabrics and tea. The port of China for export was Amoy (Xiamen).
126. These are tobacco, sunflower, potato, tomato, and others introduced into China from America and Latin America.
127. These are the European commodities: the clock France, the woolen materials from England and the telescope Germany.
128. This is Cao Xueqin who wrote A Dream of Red Mansions

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