Clay warrior head from Terracotta Army, Lintong, Shaanxi Province
Han Dynasty clay minature warior, Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Xian


The Qin Dynasty and the Han Dynasty ruled China for over 400 years between 221 BC and 220 AD with a short interregnum (or another dynasty's rule) in between them. However, the legacy they left was far greater than these years would suggest.

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The people of China owe their name and identification to both dynasties. On the one hand the Qin (pronounced Ch'in) left their name to be used to identify the country of China, and, on the other hand, the Han left their name to be used to identify the majority group of people of China who, even to this day, call themselves the Han People.
Too often when we research or read about Ancient China it is the story of the Emperors and some of their officials. Whilst this is important, the aim of this website is to tell you, not just about the Emperors but, more importantly, to tell you about how the rest of the Chinese people lived in this period.
However, the task is not easy, for very little evidence of the common people remains today. Therefore, as historians, we have to use other ways of finding such as looking at the books left behind, the artefacts, the tombs and even place names.
What is still missing from the record is detailed evidence of women's roles. Very little is known about high ranking women for they were generally locked away unless they became a powerful Dowager Empress or ruled alongside their husbands or became a noted historian, philosopher or scholar (which were very few and far between).
For the remainder of the society they lived alongside, and were treated the same as, their menfolk and so we get women conscripts working on the building of the Great Wall, women working in the fields and women running merchant houses behind the scenes.
On this website you have the opportunity to explore, not just the great Emperors of these dynasties but, more importantly, how the rest of the people in China lived through what remains of the empires.
You will be able to do this by reading the stories and looking at the images on the site.
Use the links on the left hand side to explore the site.
Qiao Family Courtyard House near Taiyuan, Shaanxi Province