Chinese History / Dynasties
Chinese history, culture, and the arts, date from the 7th Millennium B.C. with a recorded history of 4000 years. The Chinese refer to itself as the “Middle Kingdom” with a sense of superiority to all others.
Represented by a timeline from the Neolithic Period (ca. 12000 – 2000 B.C) through the early 20th century, control through single rule was the aim of the 12 major dynasties. “Dynasty” defined simply means a succession of rulers from the same family. Some Dynasties were tranquil, others tumultuous. Each successive dynasty added to the arts and culture which was influenced by religions of first, Daoism in the 3rd century BC, Buddhism in the 1st century AD, and finally, Confucius. All attempted to rule the sprawling mass of land and people that was and is China and each dynasty left a unique artistic and cultural imprint.
By the 13th Century Marco Polo traveled the famous Silk Road to China. By the 1600’s, Manchu rule established the last great dynasty, Qing, and a long legacy of trade with Europe began. Trade with the United States followed with a ship dubbed “The Empress of China.” As the Qing Dynasty faded in power, trade with China ended in the early part of the 20th Century and a veil of secrecy not unlike the mists of the Chinese mountains descended on The People’s Republic of China. Today, that veil is lifting.