Portal:History of Imperial China

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History of Imperial China

The history of Imperial China spans from the beginning of the Qin dynasty in 221 BC to the end of the Qing dynasty and the formation of the Republic of China in 1912 AD.

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Ming dynasty (1368-1644) musketeers in drill formation.

The Huolongjing (Wade–Giles: Huo Lung Ching; Traditional Chinese: 火龍經, rendered by its translator into English as Fire Drake Manual but correctly meaning Fire Dragon Manual) is a 14th century military treatise that was compiled and edited by Jiao Yu and Liu Ji of the early Ming dynasty (1368–1644 AD) in China. It outlined the use of various 'fire–weapons' involving the use of gunpowder.

The Huolongjing provided info for various gunpowder compositions, including 'magic gunpowder', 'poison gunpowder', or 'blinding and burning gunpowder'. It had descriptions of the Chinese hollow cast iron grenade bomb, shrapnel bombs, and bombs with poisonious concoctions. The book had descriptions of the 10th century Chinese fire arrow, a simple wooden arrow with a spherical soft casing attached to the arrow and filled with gunpowder, ignited by a fuse so that it was propelled forward (and provided a light explosion upon impact). However, the book explained how this simple 'fire arrow' evolved into the metal-tube launched rocket. The book provided descriptions of various rocket launchers that launched tons of rockets at a time, the advent of the two-stage rocket having a booster rocket igniting a swarm of smaller ones that were shot from the mouth of a missile shaped like a dragon, and even fin–mounted winged rockets. (read more...)

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Zhou Tong GR.svg
Zhou Tong (Chinese: 周同 and 周侗; pinyin: Zhōu Tóng; d. late 1121 CE) was the archery teacher and second military arts tutor of famous Song dynasty general Yue Fei. Originally a local hero from Henan, he was hired to continue Yue Fei's military training in archery after the boy had rapidly mastered spearplay under his first teacher. In addition to the future general, Zhou accepted other children from Yue's village as archery pupils. During his tutelage, Zhou taught the children all of his skills and even rewarded Yue with his two favorite bows because he was his best pupil. After Zhou's death, Yue would regularly visit his tomb and perform unorthodox sacrifices that far surpassed that done for even beloved tutors. Yue later taught what he had learned from Zhou to his soldiers and they were successful in battle.

With the publishing of Yue Fei's fictional 17th-18th century biography, The Story of Yue Fei, a new distinct fictional Zhou Tong emerged, which differed greatly from his historical persona. Not only was he now from Shaanxi; but he was Yue's adopted father, a learned scholar with knowledge of the eighteen weapons of war, and his personal name was spelled with a different, yet related, Chinese character. The novel's author portrayed him as an elderly widower and military arts tutor who counted Lin Chong and Lu Junyi, two of the 108 outlaws on which the Water Margin is based, among his former pupils. A later republican era folktale by noted Yangzhou storyteller Wang Shaotang not only added Wu Song to this list, but represented Zhou as knight-errant with supreme swordsmanship. (read more...)

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