Xi Shi, One of the Four Beauties in Ancient China

Xi Shi was said to have lived during the end of Spring and Autumn Period in Zhuji(诸暨),the capital of the ancient State of Yue.She was said to be “so beautiful as to make swimming fish sink”.There also goes a saying ”Beauty lies in the lover’s eyes”In chiese,we can say Xi Shi lies in the lover’s eyes.

King Goujian of Yue was once imprisoned after a defeat in a war by King Fuchai of Wu.The state of Yue later became a tribulatory to Wu.Secretly planning his revenge,Goujian’s minister Wen Zhong suggested training beautiful women and offering them to Fuchai as a tribute.His other minister,Fan Li,found Xi Shi and Zheng Dan,and gifted them to Fuchai.

One day when she went to a stream to wash clothes and the fish in the water saw her and fell down from the surface of the water after being astonished by her beauty. This is the legend, but the fact is Xi Shi was sent to the State of Wu to seduce the ruler for her own state. Finally, the ruler of the State of Wu was defeated by the State of Yue.

Bewitched by the beauty of Xi Shi,Fuchai forgot all about his state affairs, on their instigation,and killed his best advisor,the great general Wu Zixu.In 473 BC Goujian launched his strike and put the Wu army to full rout.King Fuchai lamented that he should have listened to Wu Zixu,and then committed suicide.

There is another well-known figure of unknown origin,probably fictional and parodical,named Dong Shi (东施).The “Dong” in her name means “east” contrasting to Xi Shi’s “Xi”,which means “west”.Apart from her name,she is said to be the exact opposite of Xi Shi in being extremely ugly and,in modern depictions,fat.This in turn has created the saying “Dong Shi imitates a frown”,meaning to attempt imitating another work only to show up one’s own weaknesses.

Weaponry of Stone Age, the Earliest Weapons in China

In the Stone Age, conflicts between rival clans used sharp tools for production and hunting. Thus, the development of basic weapons has begun. The first weapons used were probably bows or spears, as they were easy to use in hunting. In archaeological research, a tomb was found with its skeleton pierced by an arrow, illustrating the shift from tools to weapons.

At that time, the stone axe was a very popular tool and one of the earliest weapons. Over thousands of years of evolution, it became thinner, sharper and harder, culminating in a tomahawk or throwing axe. It is not only a popular weapon, but also a status symbol. A jade tomahawk found in the tomb of a nobleman proves that in the early days of the era, artisans were already making ritual weapons — carved on its upper horn — an immortal mounted tiger, with birds at its lower.

The Stone Age is so named because it was a time of technological development and all tools were made of stone. With the progress of The Times and society, the development level of stone tools has been improved. Therefore, according to the shape and complexity of these tools, the Stone Age was divided into three phases — paleolithic, mesolithic and neolithic.

People of the Stone Age were able to make textiles and pottery, and developed agriculture and animal husbandry, which allowed them to continue to live in one place.

Paleolithic refers to the stage of human cultural development marked by the use of chipped stone tools. This period is a long time from 2.5 million to 10,000 years ago before the present era. It is generally divided into early, middle and late, roughly equivalent to the existence of three human species – homo habilis, homo erectus, early homo sapiens and late homo sapiens.

During this period, people made simple tools, mainly for hunting and gathering. Stone weapons are made of different stones. For example, basalt and sandstone are made into abrasives. Flint and flint are used as sharp weapons or tools. Bones, wood, antlers, and shells were also widely used as tools or weapons. Clay is made into pottery.

The Peking man found in zhoukoudian, Beijing, is just such a neolithic man. They use stone weapons and sticks to hunt wild animals, live mainly in caves and gather fruit for their stomachs. People knew how to use fire, as can be seen from the ashes, charred bones and marks left on the stones. Except for Peking man, lantian man, yuanmou man and upper cave man all lived in this period.

Weaponry of Iron Age, Iron Cannon, Iron Armour and Warships

Although in the western zhou dynasty (11th century bc-771 BC), weapons made of natural siderite, the earliest known iron wares in the world, were made. With improved craftsmanship, iron weapons became ubiquitous in the late warring states period, extending into the qin dynasty (221bc-206bc) and the han dynasty (206bc-220bc). However, because iron weapons have little external processing, they are corroded when unearthed, making them more difficult to study and providing less insight than Bronze Age iron weapons, which were protected by a thin oxide layer.

Cannons, or stone cannons, appeared in the late eastern han dynasty (25-220) and flourished during The Three Kingdoms period (220-280). When the enemy came, the garrison would put cannons on the gate. Turning to the lever, it threw the big stone parabolic over the wall and defeated the invaders. This is still reflected in Chinese chess – pieces representing cannons still follow the rule of attacking another piece only if there is a third in the middle.

With the rise of cavalry in the western han dynasty, there appeared a kind of rectangular shield that soldiers could hold with one hand. During the song dynasty (960-1279), it was tied to the left forearm of the cavalry and became round. Until the southern and northern dynasties (386-589), the long hexagon prevailed, with the shield facing vertically inward like a leaf. In battle, it can be held by hand or propped up on the ground with a stick.

During the western han dynasty, iron armor replaced leather armor and evolved into fine scales and plates. Scale armor displays a high level of technical know-how, with a set consisting of more than 2200 components. During The Three Kingdoms period, chainmail became popular to protect people from arrows. By the Ming dynasty, chainmail was gradually changing from heavy to light, but it could still withstand the blows of spears.

With the development of iron armour, not only soldiers but also horses were wearing iron armour. As a result, the halberd, used chiefly for stings and hooks, lost its place on the battlefield. The spear evolved into a spear, used only by cavalry and capable of penetrating.

The han dynasty was a critical period for the development of Chinese warships, large and small. The OARS of the western han and the rudders of the eastern han were brilliant achievements. Scull, a precursor to the modern propeller, improved efficiency by changing the way it jerks from side to side, front to back. The steering wheel provided the oar with the flexibility of its route, paving the way for European exploration. During the jin dynasty (265-420), large – scale warships stood out. It is recorded that there was a ship at that time. It had a large hull, 180 meters long, and could hold more than 2,000 people. At the top was a fixed wooden city, and the horse could gallop through four gates. During the sui dynasty (581-618), a very large ship more than 30 meters high was built, which could hold 800 people. Before the southern song dynasty, almost all armies used warships. Examples recorded are the 110 m tower, skirting board and wheel paddle.

Wang Zhaojun, One of the Four Beauties in Ancient China

Wang Zhaojun was said to be “so beautiful as to make flying geese fall”. Wang Zhaojun is perhaps the best known of China’s “political brides”. she entered the imperial harem during the reign of Emperor Yuan of Western Han (48-33 BC). The emperor chose companions from his vast harem of maidens by looking at their portraits. As a result of this practice, it had become the custom for palace ladies to offer large bribes to court artists to ensure that they painted a flattering likeness. Wang Zhaojun, however, was confident in her natural beauty and refused to pay money to court painter. As a result, she seemed to be the ugliest of all the palace ladies from her portrait, and thus never received the emperor’s favour.

When the Xiongnu chieftain came to ChangAn, he told Emperor Yuan: “I wish to take a Han beauty as my empress”. To cement relations with this barbarous nation, Emperor Yuan agreed to the request. However,the emperor was unwilling to pick out a real beauty,and ordered to select an ordinary woman in the harem for the chieftain. When the unflattering portrait of Wang Zhaojun was sent to the emperor, he merely glanced at it and nodded his approval.

Her life became the story of “Zhaojun Departs the Frontier” (昭君出塞). Peace was maintained for over 60 years between China and the Xiongnu. However, China eventually lost touch with her and her descendants.

Since the 3rd century the story of Zhaojun had been elaborated upon and she had been touted as a tragic heroine. The Communist government of the People’s Republic of China uses her as a symbol of the integration of Han Chinese and ethnic minorities of China. Zhaojun Tomb still exists today in Inner Mongolia.

Dragon Boat Races, the Most Typical Tradition of Chinese Dragon Boat Festival

Dragon boat racing is one of the most typical traditions of the Chinese Dragon Boat Festival, which falls on the fifth day of the fifth lunar month. Activities are widely held in the south and northeast of China, where rivers and lakes are densely distributed. The festival has a history of more than 2,000 years, dating back to the boat race held during the warring states period (475-221 BC) to save the ancient Chinese poet qu yuan. Today, it has become a popular water sport around the world, gradually spreading to southeast Asian countries such as Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia.

The traditional dragon boat, long and narrow, is a water craft made of teak with paddles on both sides. About 20-30 yards long and 1-2 yards wide, the prow and stern are decorated with dragon heads and tails. The body of the ship is carved or painted with traditional auspicious patterns, such as waves, clouds or animals, in bright colors such as red, blue, green, black and gold. In addition to decorations, there were pennants and drums to guide the rowers. Ships vary in design and size from region to region. Nowadays, dragon-boat racing has become a worldwide water race. The shape, materials and decorations of dragon-boat racing have changed greatly.

In the history of more than 2,000 years, the dragon boat race has gone through three stages: ceremony, commemoration and competition.

The dragon is a fictional animal that has all the advantages of other animals. The ancient Chinese regarded themselves as the descendants of the dragon and regarded the dragon as a totem. Therefore, people build boats in the image of dragons and hold competitions. It is usually used for totem worship or other festive occasions, such as sowing and harvesting seasons.

Around 278 BC, qu yuan, the great patriotic statesman of the state of chu, saw his country destroyed and committed suicide by drowning himself in a river with stones. People raced to row boats to retrieve his body, and performances became a fixture of the Dragon Boat Festival.

Around the 1970s, the competition became a competitive water sport with worldwide fame and was introduced to international sporting events.

Diao Chan, One of the Four Beauties in Ancient China

Diao Chan, One of the Four Beauties in Ancient China

Diao Chan (c. third century, Three Kingdoms period), said to have “a face that would make the full moon hide behind the clouds”.Diao Chan is a singer of Wang Yun in the Eastern Han Dynasty,and she has beautiful appearance.When Eastern Han Dynasty manipulated by the traitor Dong Zhuo, she pray to God for helping her master Wang Yun. Wang Yun secretly promised Diao Chan to Lv Bu,but then to Dong Zhuo.Lv Bu was very young and handsome at that time,andDong Zhuo was an old hand at trickery and deception person. In order to win over Lv Bu, Dong Zhuo recognized Lv Bu as a son.However,they are all lecherous. Since then, Diao Chan began to drive a wedge between Lv Bu and Dong Zhuo.

Lv Bu was very angry since Dong Zhuo married Diao Chao. One day, Lv Bu entered into Dong Zhuo’s house secretly and invited Diao Chan to meet. Diao Chan cry to Lv Bu for what Dong Zhuo did. When Dong Zhuo returned home and caught Lv Bu,he was very angry and grabbed spear to kill Lv Bu.Fortunately, Lv Bu escaped from death.Since then,there was suspicion and even downright hatred between them.After that,Wang Yun sucessfully persuaded Lv Bu to kill Dong Zhuo.

It should be noted that no historical accounts mention a person named Diao Chan. Moreover, “Diao” is not a common Chinese last name.
In “romance of The Three Kingdoms”, sable cicada is due to ten often wait on the chaos, refuge out of the palace, for the king permitted to take as a singer. The sable cicada sees the eastern han dynasty is manipulated by the treacherous courtier dong zhuo, in the month under the incense pray to heaven, wish to worry for the master. It happened to be seen by wang yun. Then, wang yun accepts sable cicada for adoptive daughter, set a chain of beautiful person plan, the relation that separates dong zhuo and foster son lv bu. Wang yun first betrogged diao chan to lu bu secretly, and then offered her to dong zhuo to be his concubine. Sable cicada married dong zhuo after lv bu ambiguous affection, deal between father and son two people.

In the 19th “cao cao fought in heavy combat in xiapis city, and lu bu died in the white gate tower”, lu bu was besieged by cao cao’s army, but diao cicada refused to break out of the siege by her husband alone, saying that they would “live together if they live together, and if they die, they will stay together until they die”. Lv bu was deeply moved and gave up Chen gong’s clever plan. He only made merry with sable cicada every day, ignoring the war at the front. He was finally captured and killed.

Da Tuoluo, Top-Spinning, a Popular Street Game for Children

This game of basically whipping the top has a long history in almost all different populations, especially children. In 1926, a top was dug up to prove that the game existed 4,000 years ago! The whip is used to rotate the top and can be pottery, stone, wood or bamboo. Although the tops worn by children are small and often brightly colored, the tops worn during the games are quite different. The official racing coat usually weighs about 0.45 kg and the whip is at least 2 meters long. As you can guess, it’s hard to deal with them.

Gyro was once a popular street game for children around the world. The whip rope is wound around the top, which is placed on a smooth surface, perhaps even ice. The whip was pulled back to make the top spin. It keeps spinning, gaining momentum with the help of the whip. In China, this simple pastime has evolved into a competitive sport. The rules of competition differ in many ways. In one of the games, commonly known as “gyrobattle,” two players collide their gyros, causing the opponent’s to fall — and the player who keeps spinning wins. One variation is to spin the top over an obstacle, a feat that requires great skill and concentration; Also, the player with the longest spin is the winner.

The top half of the shape is round and sharp below. It used to be made of wood, but now it is made of plastic or iron. When playing with the rope around, pull the rope, so that the upright rotation. Or by the spring of a spring. Traditional ancient gyro is roughly made of wood or iron inverted cone, play is split with a whip. A gyroscope that has been launched by a modern launcher. Of course, there are also some “hand twist tops” that are very popular. The top is a familiar toy for teenagers. All over the world. China is the home of gyro. Stone gyros have been excavated from neolithic sites in xia county, Shanxi Province, China. Visible, gyro in our country at least four, five thousand years of history.

Bahe, Tug-of-War, a Traditional Land Based Game

Tug-of-war is a traditional land-based game in which almost all ethnic groups take an active part. In the past, it was usually held between Lantern Festival and two neighboring villages. Rope used to be made of bamboo, but from the tang dynasty (618-907), people began to use hemp rope instead. The main rope usually has a few branches and involves as many people as possible. Sometimes hundreds of branches are tied to the main rope, and the competition can be very exciting as players pull and pull with the encouragement of drums.

Today, tug-of-war is popular at school sports events and corporate social events. The game provides an interesting highlight and causes quite good natural entertainment. However, the winning team relied not only on strength but also on cooperation.

River activities were not only popular among the people in the tang dynasty, but also held in the imperial palace. One of them was held during a qingming festival during the reign of emperor zhongzong of the tang dynasty (705-710) at the liyuan football stadium. At that time, “seven chancellor two husband for east friends, three chancellor five generals for west friends. Friends in the east, friends in the west to win the uneven, please re – determination. If we don’t change, we’ll lose.” As a result, the servant shot wei juyuan, little teacher tang hejing because of old age, with the rope and fall, for a long time can not climb up. Zhongzong in the side watching the battle, see form laugh, busy life around quickly help up.

At the end of the qing dynasty, tug-of-war from the west was introduced into China and included in school physical education and extracurricular sports. Since then, the tug-of-war in ancient China has gradually disappeared.

Ancient Football in China, Cuju in Ancient China

Ancient football (cuju) this is the ancient Chinese football, cuju is the oldest football game in the world. According to historical records, it appeared in the shang dynasty (16th century bc-11th century BC), and its equipment was a stone ball promoted by the army to build a strong physique among soldiers. During the han dynasty (206bc-220), it became more popular and was written into military science at the time. There are no fewer than 25 versions of the game. It is said that liu bang, the first emperor of this dynasty, was proud of his father, who was good at playing ancient football — cuju. In the southern song dynasty (1127-1279), the earliest football clubs or associations were founded and named “yuan she”. At that time, there appeared many literary works with the theme of cuju, which proved the prosperity of cuju. It was popular in all levels of society, folk or court, city or frontier. It is made up of adults and children, men and women. Although women in feudal times were inferior and excluded from many outside occasions, the playground seemed to be an exception, where they could be seen in public.

However, its decline may be due to the traditional concepts of peace and charity. Although cuju was originally a competitive game, people, especially the ruling class, tried to change its nature and make it a recreational activity.

Today, this sport has been included in the sixth national minority traditional sports games.

It is similar to football today. According to historical records, cuju was popular among Chinese people as early as the warring states period, and it became a way for soldiers to practice from the han dynasty. Cuju organizations and cuju artists appeared in the song dynasty, and cuju on ice became popular in the qing dynasty. Therefore, it can be said that cuju is a wonderful work of sports in ancient China.

Four Great Inventions, Paper Making, Gunpowder, Printing Technique and Compass

China held the world’s leading position in many fields in the study of nature, from the 1st century to the 15th century, with the four great inventions having the greatest global significance.

Paper Making, Gunpowder, Printing Technique and Compass – the four great inventions of ancient China are the significant contributions of the Chinese nation to world civilization.

Printing Technique

With the inventions of paper and ink, stamper gradually became popular during the Jin Dynasty, which was the early form of Carved Type Printing. Block Printing first appeared in the Tang Dynasty. The text was first written on a piece of thin paper, then glued face down onto a wooden plate. The characters were carved out to make a wood-block printing plate, which was used to print the text. Wood-block printing took a long time as a new block had to be carved for every page in a book.

Yet, Block Printing had its drawbacks —— all the boards became useless after the printing was done and a single mistake in carving could ruin the whole block. The frontispiece of the world’s oldest surviving book, the Diamond Sutra printed in the year 868, was discovered at Dun Huang Cave, along the Silk Road. The book, in the form of a roll, is the earliest woodcut illustration in a printed book.

Block Printing was a costly and time-consuming process, for each carved block could only be used for a specific page of a particular book, besides, a single mistake in carving could ruin the whole block. However movable type changed all of that.

In the Song Dynasty, a man named Bi Sheng carved individual characters on identical pieces of fine clay. Each piece of movable type had on it one Chinese character which was carved in relief on a small block of moistened clay. After the block had been hardened by fire, the type became hard and durable and could be used wherever required. The pieces of movable type could be glued to an iron plate and easily detached from the plate. Each piece of character could be assembled to print a page and then broken up and redistributed as needed. When the printing was finished, the pieces were put away for future use.


The invention of gunpowder had a close relationship with the advanced ancient workmanship of smelting industry. People began to know a lot of chemistry knowledge about the nature of different mineral materials during the process of smelting operation. With the knowledge, ancient necromancers tried to seek the elixir of immortality from certain kinds of ore sand fuel. Although they failed to get what they were looking for, they discovered that an explosive mixture could be produced by combining sulfur, charcoal, and saltpeter (potassium nitrate). This mixture finally led to the invention of gunpowder although its exact date of invention still remains unknown.

Many historical materials indicate that gunpowder first appeared before the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From 300 to 650AD several recipes were written about inflammable mixtures. Some historians date the invention of gunpowder at 850AD when a Taoist book warned of three specific elixir formulas as too dangerous to experiment.

The military applications of gunpowder began in the Tang Dynasty. Explosive bombs filled with gunpowder and fired from catapults were used in wars. During the Song and Yuan dynasties (960-1368), the military applications of gunpowder became common and some other weapons like “fire cannon”, “rocket”, “missile” and “fireball” were introduced.

Paper Making

China was the first nation who invented paper. The earliest form of paper first appeared in the Western Han Dynasty, but the paper was generally very thick, coarse and uneven in their texture, made from pounded and disintegrated hemp fibers. The paper unearthed in a Han tomb in Gansu Province is by far the earliest existing ancient paper, tracing back to the early Western Han Dynasty.

In the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220), a court official named Cai Lun made a new kind of paper from bark, hemp, rags, fishnet, wheat stalks and other materials. It was relatively cheap, light, thin, durable and more suitable for brush writing.

The art of paper-making spread east to Korea and Japan at the beginning of the seventh century (the end of the Sui Dynasty and the beginning of the Tang Dynasty). In the eighth century, along with the Silk Road, the Arab countries began to learn how to make paper. It took about 400 years for paper to traverse the Arab world to Europe. In the 14th century many paper mills were established in Italy, from where the workmanship of paper-making spread to the European countries such as Germany. The Italians vigorously produced the material and exported large amounts of it, dominating the European market for many years. In the 16th century, the art of paper-making appeared in Russia and Holland, and it spread to Britain in the 17th century.

Before paper was invented, Qin Shihuang, the first emperor in Chinese history, had to go over 120 kilos of official documents written on bamboo or wooden strips. With the invention of paper, the popularization of knowledge has turned into reality. The invention of paper is an epoch-making event in human history.


Early in the Spring and Autumn Period, while mining ores and melting copper and iron, Chinese people chanced upon a natural magnetite that attracted iron and pointed fixedly north. In the Warring States Period, after constant improvement the round compass came into being. Referred to as a “South-pointer”, the spoon- or ladle-shaped  compasses of magnetic lodestone, and the plate is of Bronze. The circular center represents Heaven, and the square plate represents Earth. The handle of the spoon points south. The spoon is a symbolic representation of the Great Bear. The plate bears Chinese characters which denote the eight main directions of north, north-east, east, etc. This type of compass has been scientifically tested and found to work tolerably well.

By the time of the Tang dynasty and the beginning of the Northern Song Dynasty, Chinese scholars had devised a way to magnetize iron needles, by rubbing them with magnetite, and then suspending them in water. They also observed that needles cooled from red heat and held in the north-south orientation would become magnetic. These more refined needle compasses could then be floated in water, placed upon a pointed shaft or suspended from a silk thread, etc. Consequently, they were much more useful for navigation purposes since they were much more portable.

During the Song Dynasty (960-1279) many trading ships were then able to sail as far as Saudi Arabia without getting lost. The compass was introduced to the Arab world and Europe during the Northern Song Dynasty. The spread of the compass to Europe opened the oceans of the world to travel and led to the discovery of the New World.