Soon after agriculture appeared on the North China plain, the relationship between sedentary agricultural societies and nomads on the steppe became a serious issue in Chinese history Warfare with various nomadic groups was recorded from the times of the Shang (ca. sixteenth to eleventh centuries BCE) and the Zhou (ca. eleventh century to 771 BCE) dynasties. A more diplomatic means in dealing with the nomads, using silk products as an expression of good will, began with the Former Han dynasty. Han rulers sent silk as gifts and dowry for princesses who were married to the nomads, functionally a bribe to prevent invasion of the frontier. At the same time, they also used silks to form alliances with the sedentary societies on the oases of Central Asia against the nomads.
- Silk Textile
- Silk Product
- Nomadic People
- Northern Dynasty
- Nomadic Group
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Ban Gu, Hanshu [History of the Former Han Dynasty], chapter 22 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1962), p. 1030.
Yuqing Wang, Mianfu Fuzhang zhi Yanjiu [A Study of Regalia] (Taibei: National Museum of History, 1966), p. 101.
For illustrations of the ritual apparel in the Han period, see Wang, Mianfu Fuzhang zhi Yanjiu; Yushito Harada, Chinese Dress and Personal Ornaments in the Han and Six Dynasties (Tokyo: The Toyo Bunko, 1937).
Sima Biao, Yufu Zhi [Carriages and Clothes], included in Fan Ye, Hou-Han Shu [History of the Later Han], Monograph 30 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1973), pp. 3676–77.
Sima Qian, Shi Ji [The History], chapter 129 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1959), p. 3260.
Yu Yingshih, Trade and Expansion in Han China (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1967) and Thomas Barfield, “The Hsiung-nu Imperial Confederacy: Organization and Foreign Policy,” The Journal of Asian studies 41.1 (1981): 45–62.
Xinru Liu, Silk and Religion, an Exploration of Material Life and Thought of People, A.D. 600–1200 (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 56.
Ban Gu, Hanshu, chapter 94a, p.3755; Li Yanshou, Beishi [History of the Northern Dynasties], chapter 96 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1974), p. 3181.
Sima Biao, Bai Guan [Positions and Offices], included in Fan Ye, Hou-Han Shu [History of the Later Han], Monograph 28 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1973), p. 3632.
Chen Shou, Sanguo Zhi [History of the Three Kingdoms], chapter 30 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1959), p. 841.
Li Yanshou, Beishi [History of the Northern Dynasties], chapter 96 (Beijing: Zhonghua Shuju, 1974), p. 3180–182.
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© 2001 Stewart Gordon
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Liu, X. (2001). Silk, Robes, and Relations Between Early Chinese Dynasties and Nomads Beyond the Great Wall. In: Gordon, S. (eds) Robes and Honor. The New Middle Ages. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-349-61845-3_2
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, New York
Print ISBN: 978-1-349-61847-7
Online ISBN: 978-1-349-61845-3