Nationalities Whose Population Is above 5 Million

Han Nationality

Han people enjoy the largest population among China’s 56 nationalities and this population size also ranks first in the world. At present, the number of Han people has reached about 1.2 billion. Originally known as “Cathay”, Han people used to live in the central part of China; later, it assimilated and integrated with other nationalities and eventually boasts a 5 thousand years’ history of civilization. Since the beginning of Han Dynasty, the name “Han” was adopted to call this nationality. Han nationality has its own spoken and written language, which belong to Chinese-Tibetan language family. Its language falls into 8 categories of dialect, namely, dialect of northern China, dialect of south of the lower reaches of Yangtze River, Hunan dialect, Jiangxi dialect, Hakka dialect, dialect of southern Fujian, dialect of northern Fujian and Cantonese and the common language of these 8 dialects is Mandarin. Chinese letter is one of the most ancient letters in the world; it evolved from inscriptions on bones or tortoise shells of the Shang Dynasty and Nuchen letters and eventually became present-day Chinese characters. There are altogether over 80 thousand Chinese characters, among which about 7000 are commonly used. At present, Chinese has become one of the international languages. The staple food of Han people is grain crop and meat and vegetables are the non-staple foodstuffs. Over the long period of development, Han people have developed the habit of having three meals for each day and rice and flour serve as two major components of their staple food. In addition, other coarse crops, such as corn, sorghum, cereal and potato, are also part of the staple food in different regions of China. Due to various factors, there are varied types of cuisine in the food culture of Han people and when it comes to the Han and other nationalities’ preference of taste of food, people living in different parts of China are often termed as follows: the southern citizens are lovers of sweet food, the northern of salty food, the eastern of hot food and the western of sour food. At present, there are 8 typical cuisines with unique flavors in different parts of China, including Hunan cuisine, Sichuan cuisine, cuisine of northeastern China and Cantonese food. Wine and tea are two major beverages for Han people. Being the place of origin of tea and one of the first developers of brewing technology, China boasts long history of wine and tea culture. Except for wine and tea, some products made of fruits also serve as beverages for people in varied regions and seasons. There are myriads of festivals for Han people and China’s Lunar New Year is the most traditional one. Besides, the Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the first month of lunar calendar, the Tomb-sweeping day on Apr.5th, the Dragon Boat Festival on the 5th day of the fifth lunar month and the Middle Autumn Day on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month are also important festivals. Continue reading Nationalities Whose Population Is above 5 Million

Han Dynasty

Liu Bang, established the Han Empire and settled down in the capital Chang’an.

During the 7-year dominion of Hangaozu, the central regime was further reinforced and the policy “Recuperate and Multiply” was adopted. After Hui’s succession, the empress of Hangaozu gained power. who was one of the rare women rulers in the history of China. Wen succeeded to the throne in 183 BC. Wen, followed by his son, Jing, stuck to the policy of “Recuperate and Multiply”, decreased taxation and promoted the economy of the empire. (The Enlightenment of Wen/Jing) Continue reading Han Dynasty

Ancient China Sex

During this time, female homosexuality was widespread, but male homosexuality was rare. Male homosexuality was
forbidden because it was considered a complete loss of yang essence on the part of both men. Meanwhile, since
women were said to have an unlimited yin essence, there was no loss of yin in female homosexual relations.
Not until the Han dynasty did male homosexuality figures reach the same standard as among other societies.

At first, prostitution was accepted by the Chinese. Men thought that they could gain more yin from prostitutes
than from normal women. They believed that since such women had sex with so many men, that they had acquired more
yang essence from them, thus, they could give a patron more yang essence than he had lost. However, Chinese
medicine began to identify prostitutes with many diseases at an early stage in human history and they began
warning men against them.

Ch’in Dynasty – 221 BC to 24 AD

The Ch’in Dynasty shifted the Taoist culture to a Confucianist culture, which was completely different.
Women were placed in an inferior position to men. All physical contact between men and women was confined
to marriage and their bedroom or a couch. After leaving the bedroom or couch, there was to be no physical
contact between husbands and wives. The sex act in itself was looked upon as a sort of sin by Confucianism.
Sex was only for procreation and to provide a sacred family life.

Men were allowed to see concubines and there was an entire set of Confucianist rules for concubines, such as
grooming rules. A man’s concubine was not allowed to stay in bed after the sex act if his wife was not present
but the concubine had to leave. Even if the concubine was age 50, the man was supposed to have sex with his
concubine every five days. During this time period, there were many sadistic relationship among the Ch’in
dynasty families and many incestous relationships between close kin members of the dynasty.

Later Han Dynasty – 25 AD to 220 AD

With the Han Dynasty came the return of Taoist doctrines, only by this point in time, Taoism was now an
organized religion with its own church and priests. New sexual texts began to surface such as The Handbook
of the Plain Girl
and The Art of the Bedchamber. Both texts referred to a Yellow Emperor, who was attempting
to live a long, healthy life and obtain a form of immortality through sex. Emphasis was placed on breathing
techniques during sex to prolong a man’s orgasm to make a woman orgasm several times to gain her yin essence.

New metaphors and symbolicism evolved in literature to show men and women and their sexuality. The color red
was female, a crucible, the ova, her cinnabar (vulva). The color white became symbolic of men and their semen.
The White Tiger was symbolic of men and the Green Dragon was symbolic of women.

Three Kingdoms & Six Dynasties – 221 AD to 590 AD

During this time frame there were many conflicts between different cultures and the ruling classes during the wars.
There was intermixing between Taoist doctrines, Confucian doctrines and Buddhist doctrines.

Sui Dynasty – 590 AD to 618 AD

Once again, China returned to the Taoist doctrines and new sexual literature and manuals began to flourish.
Such texts included the following:
The Secret Methods of the Plain Girl
Handbook of Sex of the Dark Girl
Recipes of the Plain Girl
Secret Prescriptions for the Bedchamber
Principles of Nurturing
Ishimpo
Secrets of the Jade Chamber

Many of the texts continue the sexual instruction to the Yellow Emperor, trying to tell him how to obtain a long,
immortal healthy life, by having many sexual relations with many women gaining their yin essence without expending
his yang essence, or prolonging his orgasms/ejaculation. All of the texts are very detailed and each has unique sets
of sexual positions with animal-like names for each individual sex position. Sex was seen as a cure-all for every
health ailment that a man had, and different sexual positions were given as prescriptions to cure these ailments.

For Further Readings on Sex in Ancient China:

Dikotter, Frank. (1995) Sex, Culture, and Modernity in China. London: Hurst & Company.
Golden, Paul. (2002) Culture of Sex in Ancient China. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.
Maynes, Mary Jo. (1996) Gender, Kinship, Power: A Comparative & Interdisciplinary History. New York: Routledge.
Ruan, Fangfu. (1991) Sex in China. New York: Plenum Press.
Van Gulik, Robert. (1961) Sexual Life in Ancient China. Netherlands: E. J. Brill.
Wile, Douglas. (1992) Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics Including Women’s Solo Meditation. New York: State University of New York Press.

Dunhuang Caves In China


Dunhuang and the Cave of ManuscriptsDunhuang has 492 caves, with 45,000 square meters of frescos, 2, 415 painted statues and five wooden-structured caves.

The Mogao Grottoes contain priceless paintings, sculptures, some 50,000 Buddhist scriptures, historical documents, textiles, and other relics that first stunned the world in the early 1900s.

Dunhuang is an oasis town in Chinese Central Asia west of Xian, a former capital of China.

To the west of Dunhuang lies the Taklamakan Desert. The silk road coming from the west split to follow the northern and southern borders of the desert where there were many small oases.

Dunhuang was the town where the two branches of the silk road rejoined for the final leg into China’s capital.

The cave-temples near the town of Dunhuang form what is arguably the world’s most extraordinary gallery of Buddhist art: a gallery whose magnificent mural paintings and stucco sculptures were not collected from distant sources but were created in situ over a period of nearly a thousand years. Moreover, one particular cave contained a sealed library whose contents, consisting of written documents, silk paintings and woodblock prints, reflect contacts with every major Buddhist centre of both Central Asia and the Chinese empire.

The town was founded by Emperor Wudi of the Han dynasty in 111 BC as one of the four garrison commanderies which assured Chinese control over the trade routes to the western regions. For several hundred years after the collapse of the Han empire (206 BC-220 AD), the area was subjected to successive waves of invasions, which often caused great upheaval. For example, in 439, conquest of the area by the Northern Wei (386-535) led to a relocation of thirty thousand of its inhabitants to the dynastic capital in Shanxi province.

In 781, during the Tang dynasty (618-906), Dunhuang surrendered to the Tibetans after ten years’ resistance. When Chinese rule was restored in 848, one local family assumed power, to be followed in the tenth century by other powerful clans. Dunhuang was last considered a place of importance when it was under the control of the Western Xia kingdom (990-1227) and the Mongol Yuan dynasty (1271-1368).

From the time of the Han to the end of the Yuan, a most important trade route developed from China to the West, which later became known by the marvelously evocative name, The Silk Road. The ancient traveler leaving China along this road would pass through Dunhuang before braving the many hazards of the journey westwards through East Turkestan (present-day Xinjiang). Dunhuang has a special place in history because of its location close to the parting of the northern and southern routes that skirted the impassable Taklamakan desert.

Silk was traded along this seven thousand kilometre braid of caravan trails from China right across Asia to the eastern Roman empire on the shores of the Mediterranean, and also to south Asia. Persian and Sogdian merchants travelled the whole length, and were such familiar sights in the Chinese capitals Chang’an (present-day Xi’an) and Luoyang that they can frequently be found, for example, portrayed on Tang dynasty figurines.

This route was also used by Buddhist monks from China and Korea traveling west in search of images and scriptures, and by ambassadors and princes from the west making the long journey to China. It was by means of the Silk Road that all manner of exotic imports reached China, as diplomatic gifts or through trade, and mainly in exchange for silks: vessels made of gold and silver and the techniques for working these metals; fine glass; fragrances and spices; exotic animals such as lions and ostriches; new fruits such as grapes; dancers, musicians and their instruments.

After the splendours of the Tang dynasty, however, trade along the Silk Road was severely curtailed, and Dunhuang was left in isolation. Later trade between China and Europe was entirely by sea. By the late nineteenth century, with the decline of Chinese imperial power, the whole of Central Asia, including Dunhuang, was a political void which invited foreign interest from many sides, including Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Japan. This provided the opportunity for the “rediscovery” of ancient cultures and treasures along the trade routes.

It was not just merchandise, technology and culture that passed along the Silk Road. From the early centuries AD, learned monks from the monastic centres of Central Asia imparted their knowledge and interpretations of the scriptures to their Chinese counterparts by way of these trade routes.

Representatives of Zoroastrianism, the ancient Persian dualist religion, and of Nestorianism, an Eastern Christian sect, also reached China and established themselves there.

Founded in the sixth century BC, Buddhism soon began expanding northwards from the foothills of the Himalayas. In the third century BC, under its most influential convert, the Indian emperor Asoka, it was dispersed by missionaries across Central Asia, where it remained dominant for about a thousand years, until invaders in the seventh century AD brought in Islam.

In China itself, Buddhism was introduced probably as early as the first century BC, with communities of Buddhist monks in existence by the first century AD. Learned Buddhist monks became valued as palace advisors, and it was through imperial and aristocratic patronage that Buddhism made its first substantial progress in the empire. Because of its vitally important position on the Silk Road, virtually every stage of this progress is chronicled in the caves at Dunhuang.