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Silk, Robes, and Relations Between Early Chinese Dynasties and Nomads Beyond the Great Wall

  • Xinru Liu
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)

Abstract

Soon after agriculture appeared on the North China plain, the relationship between sedentary agricultural societies and nomads on the steppe became a serious issue in Chinese history Warfare with various nomadic groups was recorded from the times of the Shang (ca. sixteenth to eleventh centuries BCE) and the Zhou (ca. eleventh century to 771 BCE) dynasties. A more diplomatic means in dealing with the nomads, using silk products as an expression of good will, began with the Former Han dynasty. Han rulers sent silk as gifts and dowry for princesses who were married to the nomads, functionally a bribe to prevent invasion of the frontier. At the same time, they also used silks to form alliances with the sedentary societies on the oases of Central Asia against the nomads.

Keywords

Silk Textile Silk Product Nomadic People Northern Dynasty Nomadic Group 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Ban Gu, Hanshu [History of the Former Han Dynasty], chapter 22 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1962), p. 1030.Google Scholar
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    Yuqing Wang, Mianfu Fuzhang zhi Yanjiu [A Study of Regalia] (Taibei: National Museum of History, 1966), p. 101.Google Scholar
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    For illustrations of the ritual apparel in the Han period, see Wang, Mianfu Fuzhang zhi Yanjiu; Yushito Harada, Chinese Dress and Personal Ornaments in the Han and Six Dynasties (Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1937).Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Sima Biao, Yufu Zhi [Carriages and Clothes], included in Fan Ye, Hou-Han Shu [History of the Later Han], Monograph 30 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1973), pp. 3676–77.Google Scholar
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    Xinru Liu, Silk and Religion, an Exploration of Material Life and Thought of People, A.D. 600–1200 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 56.Google Scholar
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    Ban Gu, Hanshu, chapter 94a, p.3755; Li Yanshou, Beishi [History of the Northern Dynasties], chapter 96 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1974), p. 3181.Google Scholar
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    Sima Biao, Bai Guan [Positions and Offices], included in Fan Ye, Hou-Han Shu [History of the Later Han], Monograph 28 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1973), p. 3632.Google Scholar
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    Li Yanshou, Beishi [History of the Northern Dynasties], chapter 96 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1974), p. 3180–182.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Stewart Gordon 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xinru Liu

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