China- the story behind the rise of a people’s superpower
China takes its name from it’s formidable and magnanimous QIN pronounced ‘Chin’ dynasty in the 21st century B.C (221-206 before the Christian Era.) It’s story is a mirror in time – spanning twenty-one hundred years in both directions. Hence, China is ancient with history of a structured society going back more than 5000 years.
What in recent history came to be known as Cathy, eventually China, inhabiting the most number of people in present day – started out as a smattering of small city states – each guarding it’s territories jealously from the other, and from persistent clear and present danger of a northern invasion, by the Mongols and the Manchus. Chinese Art, it’s architecture, and it’s approach to life is defined by the fear of the Outside, the Other, the Different.
The Great Wall is a glaring example of ‘terror’ of the outsider.
The construction of such a massive and marvellous structure, continued over many hundreds of years, reveals the anxiety of a people, the anxiety originated in the world outside of their reach, and an attempt to keep that outside and the outsider out.
The QIN dynasty gave prosperity to a unified country, and consolidated the construction of the Great wall joining the north and southern sections. Yin Zheng was that charismatic first ruler of China who consolidated the warring states and proclaimed himself The FIRST EMPEROR, SHI HUANG DI.
He standerdized the script, weight and measures. He also began to construct/join the different sections of walls into The Great Wall. He is most profoundly known for his TERRA COTTA ARMY, that stands to this day and is a major tourist attraction.
The Terra Cotta Army is an incredible example of “funeray art” widely practised by many ancient civilisations. Just as the Pharaohs were buried with full regalia and stores to keep him well-fed and catered to in the after-life, the terra cotta warriors, a replica of the existing army of the first emperor, was made to honor and guard him in his eternal life. The warrior statues are life size. Their sheer number and the audacity of the King himself in ordering such a construction reveals the sense of fear that pervades the Chiense culture, the fear of invasion from the north.
The Great Wall was first constructed in the warring states period before the QIN came to power. It is the largest man made edifice of the ancient era still existing and was constructed over many centuries spanning many reigns.