Chapter Summary and Key Concepts

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, students should be able to:

  • understand the variety of environments, climates, and topography found in East, Central and Southeast Asia, and the impact of these conditions on the development of complex societies
  • explain how recent archaeological discoveries have overturned or changed our understanding of Asian prehistory and history
  • describe the role of elite control of religion in the rise of Asian states
  • characterize the differing natures of various state polities that developed in Asia
  • characterize the various dynasties and dynastic eras within Asian societies, and what roles they played in the rise and fall of states in the region
  • understand the tensions between rulers and regional aristocrats/nobles in some Asian states, and how this operated in terms of cycles of continuity, and change
  • describe the interactions between the larger regions of Asia: South, Central, East, and Southeast Asia, and how they impacted each other’s trajectories
  • discuss the role of religious ideologies, such as Confucianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism, on the organization and control of states
  • discuss the role of women in the rulership of some Asian states
  • explain how warfare within and between states changed the political landscape of Asia
  • describe the role of “bureaucrats” and other officials in the development and maintenance of the state
  • discuss the ability of rulers to control labor, and its significance for state development in Asia
  • characterize the role of individual rulers/dynasties, versus social, political, and economic processes, versus ordinary people in the unfolding of state development in Asia.

Chapter Summary


Research in China has traditionally concentrated on the Yellow River valley, but new insights into early Chinese civilization come from research in the Yangzi Valley. Complex societies had early beginnings in several regions, and include the Daxi culture, the Liangzhu culture, and the Hongshan culture.

Defensive walls, rich burials, metallurgy, military artifacts, and craft specialization in jade and ceramics characterize Longshan culture, and during the late 3rd millennium bc, Longshan centers and cemeteries display hierarchical social structure on the brink of state formation.

The Xia Dynasty

The Xia Dynasty (c. 1700–1500 bc), the first dynasty of China, is known from both literature and archaeology, especially at the city of Erlitou. The third and fourth phases reveal marked changes: two palaces, ritual bronze vessels, and elite burials, including bronzes vessels, dagger-axes, battle-axes, knives, and ceremonial yazhang blades, and ritually important jade cong cylinders. Early written characters appear on pottery, and an animal scapula was used for divination.

The Shang Dynasty

In the late 19th century, an inscribed turtle shell led to the discovery of Anyang, the last capital of the Shang Dynasty (c. 1500–1045 bc). More sites and over 100,000 oracle bones have since been discovered. Divinations concerned war, hunting, rainfall, agriculture, and the royal family’s health.

The Changjiang Culture

The newly recognized Changjiang culture indicates that Yangzi Valley peoples rivaled the Shang in social complexity. Sanxingdui, a walled city, contained ritual pits, yielding ceremonial jade yazhang blades and ge daggers, and hundreds of bronzes, jades, and gold artifacts. These may relate to burials of the kings of Shu, a state mentioned in the Shang archives. The tradition of casting gigantic bronze items is unique to the rulers of Sanxingdui.

The Western Zhou Dynasty

The Shang Dynasty ended with Zhou conquest in 1045 bc. The Zhou Dynasty is well-documented textually and archaeologically. During the Western Zhou (1045–771 bc), the capital was at Zongzhou. It was later sacked and the capital moved east to Luoyang, initiating the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–221 bc).

The Eastern Zhou Dynasty

The Eastern Zhou Dynasty is divided into the Spring and Autumn Annals period (770–481 bc), and the Warring States period (481–221 bc), named for historic texts. Luoyang kings were weak, thus regional states, the “Five Hegemonies” developed. Factionalism and rivalry erupted during the Warring States period. Archaeology now provides important data about Eastern Zhou.

Advanced iron weapon and armor technology spread during the Warring States period, changing military strategy and intensifying warfare, causing the annihilation of states and ruling dynasties. Agricultural advances fed large permanent armies. The Eastern Zhou dynasty eventually gave way to the state of Qin, under Qin Shi Huangdi, in 221 bc.

The Qin Dynasty

In 221 bc Qin Shi Huangdi became the First Emperor of China. He was a great reformer, creating 36 provinces, or “commanderies” under appointed governors with military and administrative power. Uniform small seal script (xiaozhuan) writing was adopted, weights, measures, and currency were standardized, and a uniform legal system was enforced, all consolidating imperial power.

A huge labor force built roads and a canal system, while 300,000 men built the Great Wall in northern China to repel invading Xiongnu steppe horsemen. Over 600,000 worked on the Emperor’s tomb. Mass uprooting and resettlements were undertaken to strengthen defenses and increase agricultural production. Court intrigue and rebellions troubled his heirs, bringing the Qin Dynasty to an early end.

The Han Dynasty

The Han Dynasty, divided into Western Han and the later Eastern Han, initiated changes that are still part of China’s heritage. The earlier capital lay at Chang’an, then later at Luoyang. Han administrators attempted to alleviate farmers’ hardships and improve productivity, leading to demographic increase and a population concentration in the central plains. Farmers were urged to settle in northern border regions as a bulwark against incursions, and rewarded with land, housing, medical care, and tax concessions. Immortality beliefs fuelled mortuary rituals involving elaborate tombs to supply needs in the afterlife. The Han era was relatively peaceful and prosperous after a long period of strife.


In 108 bc, the Han occupied northern Korea and founded four provinces; one, Lelang, lasted four centuries. Local elites were provincial administrators using Chinese titles. This provoked the rise of indigenous states, three of which – Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla – belong to the Three Kingdoms period (57 bc –ad 668).

Great Silla

Korean unification in ad 668 is marked by the Great (or Unified) Silla period, until ad 918 when Koryo conquered Silla. During the 8th century ad, Tang China was its greatest influence, and the capital, Kumsong, modelled on Chinese Chang’an, contained over a million people. Buddhist temples and statues of granite are ubiquitous.


The Yamato kingdom was ruled by okimi, or great kings, whose burial mounds were known as kofun. Archaeology, and two early historic accounts, the Nihongi and Kojiki, illuminate the era. Kofun resemble contemporary tombs in Korea. Huge examples in the Nara basin may belong to early Yamato kings.

Korea brought literacy to Japan during the second Ojin dynasty. The political center moved to Saki, where large kofun are located. By ad 400 the power base moved onto the Osaka plains near the Inland Sea. In the 5th century ad Yamato controlled military power and practiced diplomacy with Korean states.

The shift from ritual to militaristic items once led to a theory of invasion by mounted foreigners, but this is not supported archaeologically. The alternative hypothesis is that the second Yamato dynasty developed from the first, changed its political center to harness the power of local clans during increasing political contact with Korean counterparts.

The Asuka Enlightenment

China, reunited in ad 589 under the Sui Dynasty, influenced and received tribute from Yamato and the three Korean states. Through Confucian obedience, all subjects were registered in an efficient taxation system. Yamato officials adopted similar ideas during the Asuka Enlightenment (after the new court capital, Asuka). Chinese-style script, Sui-style palace capitals, and Buddhism of the Chinese style were now adopted. Struggles over the succession and enthronement of Empress Suiko created religious rifts.

The Transition from Yamato to Nara

The defeat of Yamato’s Korean ally, Paekche, by Tang China and Silla led to fort construction, increased central military control, and a new, more easily defended capital built at Otsu. Emperors Tenji (reigned 668–671) and Tenmu (673­686) legitimized their authority through construction of Tang-style palace-capitals.

New edicts outlined the legal basis of imperial rule: the divine origins of the royal dynasty. In 702, the Taiho Code was issued: laws that institutionalized the aristocratically-based Fujiwara regime. Succession was not restricted to males. The empress was succeeded by her sister Genme, who moved the capital to nearby Heijo-kyo, which seamlessly established the Nara state.


The Silk Road spread languages, cultigens, stylistic motifs, bronzeworking, and the horse-drawn chariot into China. When the Han expanded westward, trade flourished on routes along the Taklamakan Desert, across the steppes to Ferghana and the Syr Darya Valley in Central Asia and toward the Caspian Sea and Mediterranean lands. Many states developed through control of this trade, combined with irrigation agriculture and exploitation of natural resources. Khotan and Shanshan are notable.


When the Eastern Han dynasty fell and the Three Kingdoms (ad 220–280) rose, an alternative, maritime route to the West was sought. Thus, the Chinese came into contact with Southeast Asian kings who commanded palaces, cities, cultivation, taxation, and writing.

Angkor, Cambodia

Angkor is a complex of cities, temples, and reservoirs located north of the Great Lake in Cambodia. Sanskrit and Khmer inscriptions indicate that its occupants were ancestral to modern Cambodians.

Several temples predating the foundation of Angkor by Jayavarman II in ad 802 indicate continuity. Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument known, was constructed by Suryavarman II (reigned 1113–1150) and displays many sculptural depictions of court life, warfare, and religious themes.

The Arakan Coast, Burma

The Arakan coast of western Burma (Myanmar) lay along Asian maritime routes of the early centuries ad and facilitated the Buddhist missions sent to Southeast Asia by the Mauryan emperor Asoka. Two major cities spanned the 5th to the 8th centuries ad.

The Pyu of Burma

The Pyu or Tircul people of Burma were first mentioned as the Piao in Chang Chu’s mid-4th century ad Chinese text, and described as “civilized.” Archaeology reveals that the Pyu state developed between 200 bc and ad 900.

The Dvaravati of Thailand

Dvaravati flourished in the Chao Phraya River valley in Thailand from ad 400 to 900, coming under the influence and control of Angkor. Archaeologists have investigated large, moated cities and the foundations of religious buildings with Buddhist figures and symbols.

The Cham of Vietnam

The Cham occupied coastal Vietnam and spoke an Austronesian language. This territory is divided into coastal enclaves, backed by the Truong Son cordillera. Champa was likely never a unified state, but a group of kingdoms.

Box Features

Key Discovery: The Origins Of Chinese Writing

Key Discovery: Southern Rivals to Shang Culture

Key Discovery: Confucianism

Key Discovery: The Origins of Chinese Metallurgy

Key Site: Zhengzhou: A Shang Capital

Key Site: Sanxingdui

Key Site: Tonglushan: A Copper-mining Site

Key Site: Mawangdui

Key Site: Khao Sam Kaeo and the Origins of Southeast Asian Indianized States

Key Site: Angkor: Capital City of the Khmer

Key words and terms

Geography, environment


  • Yellow and Yangzi river valleys
  • Huan River
  • Wei Valley
  • Han expansion of borders: Jade Gate (far west Gansu Province); the Tarim basin; Red River basin in Vietnam; the Korean peninsula


  • Yalu River valley
  • Taedong River
  • Naktong River


  • Inland Sea
  • Honshu, Kyushu, and Shikoku islands
  • Nara basin
  • Osaka plain
  • Tsushima Strait

Central Asia

  • Tarim basin
  • Taklamakan Desert
  • Ferghana
  • Syr Darya Valley
  • Caspian Sea
  • Kunlun Range
  • Kuruk Darya River
  • Lop Nur lake

Southeast Asia

  • Great Lake (Tonle Sap)
  • the Arakan coast of western Burma (Myanmar)
  • Kaladan River
  • Bay of Bengal
  • Tarechaung River
  • Rann Chuang River
  • Irrawaddy River
  • Chao Phraya River
  • coastal plains of Vietnam
  • Hai Van Pass
  • Mekong Delta
  • Cape Dinh
  • Cape Nay
  • Quy Nhon


  • Tocharian
  • Khotanese Middle Iranian Saka; Indian Brahmi script
  • Kharoshthi
  • Sanskrit
  • Khmer
  • Mon
  • Austronesian
  • Sino-Tibetan
  • Cham

People (ancient)


  • Sima Qian (c. 145–86 bc)
  • Ban Biao (ad 3–54) and his son Ban Gu
  • Wu Ding (died 1189 bc)
  • Fu Hao, consort of Wu Ding
  • Tiger Warrior infantry
  • Xinghou Zhi
  • King Yi Jiu/King Ping (died 721 bc)
  • Xi, archivist and lawyer
  • Confucius (551–479 bc)
  • Marquis of Zeng (died 433 bc)
  • Qin Shi Huangdi (“august emperor of Qin”), First Emperor of China (died 210 bc)
  • Er Shi Huangdi (“second august emperor”) (died 207 bc)
  • Wang Mang (ruled ad 9–23)
  • Emperor Wudi (140–87 bc)
  • Zhao Zuo
  • Zhao Guo
  • Emperor Zhengdi (33–7 bc)
  • Emperor Guang Wudi (reigned ad 25–75)
  • Emperor Jingdi (156–141 bc)
  • Li Cang, the Marquis of Dai
  • Prince Liu Sheng
  • Emperor Wendi
  • Western Jin emperor Wudi (ad 265–289)
  • Emperor Lingdi (ad 168–189)
  • Fa Xi’an
  • Chang Chu
  • Jia Dan (ad 730–805)


  • Dong Shou (died ad 357)
  • King Muryong (died ad 523)
  • Queen Sondok


  • Sujin (“he who ruled first”)
  • Ojin (reigned ad 346 and 395)
  • King Yuryaku (reigned ad 457–479)
  • Keitai (ascended ad 507)
  • Emperor Bidatsu (died ad 585)
  • Soga no Imako
  • Yomei
  • Sushun
  • Empress Suiko (reigned ad 592–628)
  • Prince Shotoku (died ad 622)
  • Prince Yamashiro,
  • Emperor Jomei
  • Empress Kogyokui (reigned ad 642–645)
  • Iruka
  • Emperor Kotoku (reigned ad 645–654)
  • Emperor Tenji (reigned ad 668–671)
  • Emperor Tenmu (reigned ad 673–686)
  • Empress Jito (reigned ad 686–707)
  • Empress Genmei (reigned ad 707–715)

Central Asia

  • King Vijaya Sambhava (Khotan)
  • King Vijaya Jaya (Khotan)
  • King Amgvaka (Shanshan) (reigned ad 255–258 to 293–296)

Southeast Asia

  • Jayavarman II (Angkor)
  • Indravarman (ad 877–889) (Angkor)
  • Yashovarman (Angkor)
  • Jayavarman IV (Angkor)
  • Rajendravarman II (reigned 944–968) (Angkor)
  • Kavindrarimathana
  • Jayavarman V (Angkor)
  • Suryavarman I (reigned 1002–1050) (Angkor)
  • Udayadityavarman (Angkor)
  • Suryavarman II (reigned 1113–1150) (Angkor)
  • Jayavarman VII (reigned 1181–1219) (Angkor)
  • King Anandacandra (Arakan)
  • King Dvan Candra (ruled ad 370–425) (Arakan)
  • King Anawratha of Pagan (Pyu)
  • Sri Harshavarman (Dvaravati)
  • Pruthiveenadravarman (Dvaravati)
  • Bhavavarman (Dvaravati)
  • King Jaya Harivarmadeva (Champa)
  • Fan-Wen (Champa)
  • Fan-Fo (from ad 349) (Champa)
  • Fan-Hua (ad 399–413) (Champa).
  • King Bhadravarman (Champa)



  • Shi Ji (“Records of the Grand Historian”)
  • Han Shu (“History of the Former Han”)
  • Bamboo Annals
  • Spring and Autumn Annals
  • Hou Han Shu (“History of the Later Han”)


  • The Nihongi and Kojiki

Central Asia

  • Li Yul annals

Dynasties, states, cultures


  • Daxi culture (c. 4000 bc)
  • Liangzhu culture (c. 3300–2250 bc)
  • Hongshan culture (c. 4700–2900 bc)
  • Longshan culture
  • Lower Xiajiadian culture
  • Andronovo culture (steppes)
  • Bactria (Afghanistan)
  • Xia Dynasty (c. 1700–1500 bc)
  • Shang Dynasty (c. 1500–1045 bc)
  • Changjiang culture
  • State of Shu
  • State of Chu
  • Zhou Dynasty,
  • Western Zhou Dynasty (1045–771 bc)
  • Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770–221 bc)
  • State of Jin
  • State of Wei
  • State of Yan
  • Period of the Spring and Autumn Annals (770–481 bc)
  • The Five Hegemonies
  • The Hua Xia states
  • Warring States period (481–221 bc)
  • States of Qi, Chu, Yan, Han, Zhao, Wei, and Qin (the Ten Thousand Chariot states)
  • States of Lu, Wu, Yue, and Shu
  • State of Zhang
  • States of Han, Wei, and Zhao created from Jin
  • State of Qin defeats Eastern Zhou, 221 bc
  • Xiongnu, steppe horsemen
  • Han Dynasty (206 bc – ad 220)
  • Western Han Dynasty
  • Han interregnum (ad 9–23): Xin, or “New,” Dynasty
  • Eastern Han Dynasty (ended ad 220)
  • The Three Kingdoms (ad 220–280).
  • Sui Dynasty (ad 589–618) (China reunited)
  • Tang Dynasty (ad 618–906)
  • Ming Dynasty (ad 1368–1644)


  • Four Chinese ruled provinces, longest lived: Lelang, defeated by Koguryo in ad 313
  • Three indigenous states: Koguryo, Paekche, and Silla
  • Three Kingdoms period (57 bc– ad 668)
  • Kaya: confederation of city-states (early 1st millennium)
  • Great (or Unified) Silla (ad 668–918)
  • Koryo state (established ad 918)


  • Kingdom of Yamato (3rd century ad – ad 715)
  • Sujin Dynasty
  • Ojin Dynasty
  • The Nara state (established ad 707)

Central Asia, Western Asia, South Asia

  • Khotan (Chinese, Yutian)
  • Shanshan
  • Gandhara
  • Sogdiana
  • Bactria
  • Kushan empire
  • Krorän kingdom

Southeast Asia

  • Funan
  • Chenla
  • Angkor
  • dynasty of Mahidharapura (from about 1080)
  • the Arakan State
  • the Pyu or Tircul people of Burma
  • the Dvaravati state (400–900)
  • the Cham people, Champa
  • Panduranga, Vijaya, Amaravati polities
  • state of Linyi (Champa, known as Huanwang after ad 757)

Deities, religions


  • Di, four and five aspects of Di
  • Confucianism
  • Earth Queen and the Grand Unity
  • Mount Dai
  • Dian (Heaven)
  • Han quest for immortality
  • soul (hun), body (bo)
  • Buddhism


  • Paekche: adopted Buddhism in ad 384
  • Silla: indigenous shamanistic religious practices
  • Buddhism took hold in early 5th century ad


  • kami (deity or spirit) of Mount Miwa
  • Buddhism (impacted by Daoism, Confucianism, and geomancy)

Southeast Asia

  • Shiva, Vishnu, Hindu gods
  • Buddhism



  • Chengtoushan
  • Longnan
  • Sidun
  • Fanshan
  • Yaoshan
  • Niuheliang
  • Chengzi
  • Taosi
  • Chengziyai
  • Dinggong
  • Jingyanggang
  • Fengxia
  • Chijiayingzi
  • Sifendi
  • Dadianzi
  • Xiajiadian
  • Erlitou
  • Anyang
  • Zhengzhou
  • Xi’ang
  • Sanxingdui
  • Xin’gan
  • Wucheng
  • Zongzhou
  • Luoyang
  • Tianma Qucun i
  • Xincun
  • Fangshan
  • Zhuangbai
  • Fengchu
  • Luoyang
  • Zheng Han
  • Linzi
  • Xiadu
  • Lintong
  • Chang’an
  • Luoyang
  • the Jade Gate
  • Shizhaishan
  • Xi’an
  • Mawangdui
  • Mancheng


  • Ipsongni
  • Jian
  • Pyongyang
  • Fushun
  • Chinpari
  • Anak
  • Paekchonni
  • Pokchondong
  • Taesongdong
  • Chisandong
  • Mongchon
  • Isong Sansong
  • Pungnamni
  • Karakdong
  • Naju
  • Kongju
  • Kyongju
  • Panwol-song
  • Choyangdong
  • Kujongdong
  • Panwolsong
  • Pusan
  • Kumsong
  • Kaesong


  • Mount Miwa
  • Saki
  • Furuichi
  • Mozu
  • Inariyama
  • Asuka
  • Naniwa
  • Otsu
  • Fujiwara
  • Heijo
  • Heijo-kyo

Central Asia

  • Yotkan
  • Niya
  • Endere
  • Cherchen
  • Charklik
  • Miran
  • Loulan
  • Krorän Prakrit

Southeast Asia

  • Oc Eo
  • Khao Sam Kaeo
  • Non Ban Jak
  • Ishanapura
  • Angkor
  • Hariharalaya
  • Koh Ker
  • Dhanyawadi
  • Mrauk-U
  • Vesali
  • Beikthano
  • Sri Ksetra
  • Halin
  • Ku Bua
  • U-Thong
  • Nakhon Pathom
  • Lopburi
  • Ban Khu Muang
  • Sri Thep
  • Muang Phra Rot
  • Dong Si Mahosod
  • Dong Lakhon.
  • Po Nagar

Artifacts, structures, buildings, features


  • cong cylinders
  • jade figurines, rings, axes
  • oracle bones (turtle shells, scapulas)
  • ritual bronze vessels
  • bronze dagger-axes, battle-axes, knives
  • ceremonial jade yazhang blades and ge daggers
  • palaces
  • Shang chariots
  • Shang bronzes
  • cowrie shell currency
  • tomb of Fu Hao
  • Changjiang giant bronzes
  • nao bronze bells
  • Mai zun
  • Zhou vessels with inscriptions
  • tomb of Xi
  • pan and zun ritual serving vessels
  • Leigudun tomb 1, the tomb of the Marquis of Zeng (433 bc)
  • Qin canal system
  • Great Wall
  • Qin Shi Huangdi’s tomb near Xi’an
  • life-sized terracotta replicas of the Emperor’s armies
  • mortuary complex of Emperor Jingdi
  • jade suits
  • tomb of Prince Liu Sheng
  • the Grand Canal


  • Koguryo university (established ad 372) to train administrators
  • Koguryo mounded tombs
  • Jian tomb 1, Tomb of the Dancers
  • Jian tomb 12
  • Anak tomb 3
  • Taesongdong tomb 38
  • iron ore deposits of Hwangsong-dong, Silla
  • Kyongju Tomb of the Heavenly Horse, Tomb of the Golden Crown, the Tomb of the Washing Vessel
  • Anapchi Lake
  • Mount P’algong sculptures
  • Kamun-sa temple
  • Hwangbok-sa temple
  • Sokkuram cave temple at Mount Toham


  • Mount Miwa kofun mounds
  • Saki kofun
  • the Shichishito sword
  • Isonokami shrine in Tenri
  • the Furuichi kofun group
  • the Ojin tomb
  • the Mozu kofun group
  • the Nintoku tomb
  • Yamato inscribed swords
  • the mound of Edafuna-yama
  • Asuka-dera temple
  • Shitenno-ji temple
  • Kiyomihara Palace

Southeast Asia

  • Angkor
  • the Western Baray (reservoir)
  • the Indratataka (reservoir)
  • Roluos group of buildings
  • Preah Ko and Bakong temples
  • the Bakheng
  • the Eastern Baray (reservoir)
  • Pre Rup and Eastern Mebon temples
  • Rajendrabhadresvara, a royal linga
  • Rajendresvara, a royal linga
  • Hemasringagiri temple (the Mountain with the Golden Summits)
  • temple of the Phimeanakas
  • the Western Mebon temple
  • Angkor Wat
  • Angkor Thom
  • the Bayon temple
  • temple of Neak Pean/Rajasri
  • Shitthaung Pagoda (Arakan)
  • Shwesandaw temple (Pyu)
  • temple of the linga Bhadresvara (Champa)

Terms, concepts


  • early complex mortuary rituals
  • ancestor worship
  • mounded tombs
  • stamped-earth construction
  • human sacrifices
  • defended settlements
  • hierarchical social structure
  • trade with steppes, Bactria
  • piece-mold bronze casting technique
  • craft specialists in bronze, bone, and ceramic
  • craft workshops
  • divine ancestry of rulers
  • Zhou arsenal of armor, halberds, and cast bronze swords; mass production of weaponry at the end of the Warring States period.
  • Zhou “ritual revolution”
  • Ba system: vassal rulers with fealty to a paramount ruler
  • the Ba state: Zheng, Qi, Jin, or Yue
  • development of a feudal system
  • Warring states: absolutism, totalitarianism, and self-interest of rulers; powerful ministers, bureaucrats; advances in military strategy, annihilation of states and ruling houses
  • iron technology, advances in agriculture led to permanent armies
  • urban development, foundation of new cities
  • Qin: 36 commanderies (provinces) subdivided into counties ruled by appointed governors
  • small seal script (xiaozhuan)
  • Han China: central training institution for government service, taxation, Confucian ethics, Chancellor, the Imperial Counselor, and the Commander of the Armed Forces, nine ministries, ranked royal harem
  • Western Han territorial expansion; the Jade Gate
  • uprisings of the Red Eyebrows and the Yellow Turbans
  • militarism, conscription, Northern Army, militia reserves
  • Han agriculture: censuses, rise in population, policies to encourage agricultural production, resettlement, irrigation, iron plows, sickles, scythes, spades, hoes, and seed drills.
  • the Silk Road
  • the Southeast Asian Maritime Silk Road


  • Koguryo
  • Kaya: iron export, militarism, cavalry, trade with Scythia, Russia, Japan, China
  • Paekche: influence over Japan, introduced Buddhism
  • Silla: most powerful, conquered Kaya, Koguryo, and Paekche during the 6th and 7th centuries ad
  • Kosogan (“big man”), Maripkan (“hereditary king”)
  • Silla succession incorporated queens


  • Yamato okimi (great kings)
  • Yamato royal burial mounds (kofun)
  • clay haniwa, funerary representations of houses, people, and animals
  • Yamato: ad 527 insurrection in Kyushu, and rebellion against Yamato power in Korea/Kaya region; ad 585 civil war; lack of primogeniture, proliferation of claimants
  • the Asuka Enlightenment: writing based on Chinese script, construction of palace capitals, Buddhism, the Twelve Ranks, the Seventeen Injunctions
  • the Taika Reforms: census and taxes
  • the Taiho Code

Southeast Asia

  • chakravartin, the Angkorian supreme king on earth
  • stupas (domed Buddhist buildings), caityas (barrel-vaulted shrines), and monasteries