Talk:China, history

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 Definition covers the History of China from 2000 BC to the present. [d] [e]

Several comments

Why is this "China, history" rather than "History of China". Is there a policy for such names?

I object strongly to the title "pre-imperial period (to 221 BCE)". The Xia dynasty is debatable, possibly only a legend. However the Shang and Zhou Dynasties are historically attested. It strikes me as absurd to call them "pre-imperial". "Pre-unification", perhaps.

The Liangzhu culture around Lake Tai probably deserves mention, a fairly developed culture contemporary with the Shang but South of them. Sandy Harris 01:44, 20 October 2010 (UTC)

The title you mention came about as the result of a one-man editor decision some time ago. There is no such policy and a few contributors have since started renaming such articles. You would certainly find support for renaming it history of China but that redirect will need to be marked for deletion first. John Stephenson 03:04, 20 October 2010 (UTC)


Thanks for the comments. I'm not deeply committed to "Pre-imperial," but I think some arguments could be made in its favor:
1. Endymion Wilkinson, whose "Chinese History: A Manual" is often used (among many other purposes) by English-language publishers as a standard reference for translating Chinese historical terms, titles of sources, etc., explicitly defines "pre-imperial history" as "pre-third century B.C.) in his History of Imperial China: A Research Guide (Harvard Council of East Asian Studies, 1990), p. xi.
2. The Cambridge History of Ancient China by Loewe and Shaughnessy (1999) also uses "pre-imperial" to mean before the Qin. Loewe also uses it in the same sense in The Government of the Qin and Han Empires (Hackett, 2006); there, he refers to the Qin as the first "empire" in China.
3. Lothar von Falkenhausen also uses it in this sense in the chapter "States in the Development of 'Cities' in Pre-Imperial China," in The Ancient City, ed. Marcus and Sabloff (School for Advanced Research, 2008).
4. The rulers of Shang and Zhou called themselves "Wang," usually translated "King" (I think; didn't they? except for mythical figures like the Yellow Emperor); it was only the first Qin ruler who began using the title "Huangdi," usually translated "emperor".
5. To say that the Shang and Zhou were not "empires" is not at all the same as saying they were not real, historical kingdoms or states exercising control over actual territory. Neither those scholars nor I use the term to mean "mythical"; just to mean "states that were qualitatively different from what we call 'empires' such as the Han or the Ming." (If the current draft doesn't make that clear enough we could always make that more explicit.)
I have no objection to changing "pre-imperial" to something equally descriptive, but it seems that the term is quite well established among sinologists writing in English.
Thanks also for the suggestion about the Liangzhu culture. I will try to add something about that next week. Bruce M. Tindall 18:28, 21 October 2010 (UTC)
OK. I was objecting to pre-imperial because there were dynasties in that period. However, you've answered that adequately, so I'll withdraw the objection. Sandy Harris 23:26, 12 November 2010 (UTC)

Source for added material

I added stuff on several of the earlier dynasties taken from Wikitravel [1] and [2]. Licensing is OK, since both projects are cc-by-sa 3.0, but I am not certain what needs to be done about attribution. Sandy Harris