15 Chinese Artifacts That Will Change How You Look at China


From Sina Weibo:

@范炜: A collection of shocking artifacts that will change your perceptions of China… The wisdom of the ancients should not be underestimated!

[Note: Click on the image below for the original image as seen on Sina Weibo.]

First, let's start with something fun~~~ 1. This is a picture of Ming Xuanzong [Ming Dynasty emperor, 1425-1534] at leisure. The person in the picture holding a small club hitting a small ball is Ming Xuanzong. Guess what he's doing? Playing golf. It's true, this sport was called chui wan in ancient times, using a club to strike a ball. It originated in the Song Dynasty [960-1279], was popular amongst the upper classes in the Yuan Dynasty, and became a popular sport in the Ming Dynasty. It was a form of leisure for men and women, young and old. These are reconstructions of excavated clubs, since wood does not survive well, and the originals have already decayed. But rocks can last a long time. These are the chui wan balls displayed at the Beijing Capital Museum. Before the surfaces eroded, they must've been very smooth. The sport of chui wan evolved from the popular horse polo during the  Tang Dynasty [618-907], and polo without horse became walking polo,  which slowly became chui wan. Don't mistakenly think golf is so high-end and foreign, as this is something left over [passed-down] from our Song Dynasty ancestors. 15th century Scots may have invented modern golf, but Chinese had long mastered it. If in the future artifacts are excavated in Europe proving chui wan was spread into  Europe, then [golf] will thoroughly become something that was exported only to be reimported back. How do you guys feel about high-end golf clubhouses now? I've been thinking myself so foreign for half my life, but all I was doing was being retro.  Yuan Dynasty [1271-1368] golf game guide manual.

2. Guess what this is? Excavated from the Ming Tombs, a soap box/dish. One side for soap, one side for oil. Soap to wash your face, oil for moisturizing. If you thought ancient women didn't care for their skin, you'd be extremely wrong. 3. The pursuit of beauty by ancient rich women truly cannot be compared with by modern girls. I'm guessing you've already looked at the test on the image. Yes, these are these are makeup powder, from the Southern Song Dynasty [1127-1279 AD]. Used by ladies to powder their faces, adding fragrance and color. 4. Guess what this is? Correct, they're underground water pipes [plumbing, sewage]. Guess when they were constructed/used? Qin Dynasty [230 BC], and built before the unification of the six states. Excavated at Xijiao in Xi'an. People in Xi'an should know of this place. There  used to be a fireworks market nearby. This row of pipes have already deteriorated, and it only dates to the Qin Dynasty. So let me post an even earlier [older], intact ceramic drainage pipe. Excavated at the Yin ruins [Shang Dynasty, 1600-1046 BC] in Anyang. I encourage people to go to the Anyang Yinxu Museum to see the real thing. 5. This is an energy-efficient and "environmentally-friendly" smokeless goose bronze lamp from the Han Dynasty [206 BC - 220 AD]. Bronze lamps of this style were relatively common, so just what exactly makes this one so awesome? The awesomeness is in its design [figure below, the smoke is filtered].

6. Tang Dynasty belt buckles. Unfortunately the leather belts have already rotted away. Hermès and whatever can't touch this. 7. This is an artifact excavated from a tomb in Anji county. Made of lacquered wood, but because of its extremely old age, very severe corrosion, and having already come apart, it is difficult to discern what it is. You guys can guess. Above is a reconstructed image. See it now? This is a toilet seat. Combine it with the plumbing pipes from above, and think about it.. 8. Yet another Han Dynasty tomb discovery. A lesbian [double-ended] bronze dildo... Wait, [Prince] Liu Sheng, you bury yourself with something like this...? No wonder he is known as the licentious Prince Jing of Zhongshan... even the concubines were like this... 9. Han Dynasty mural, does it feel like the two people standing on top of the wagon are stupid cunts? Actually, it's because those aren't real people. Heh, the real thing looked like this. This contraption is known as a da zhang cheng, known as a "drum car" today. Every 500 meters, the drum would sound once. This is the internal [mechanical] diagram.

10. These were unearthed in Dunhuang [Gansu], Han Dynasty children's shoes. Top are weaved summer sandals, bottom are cow leather shoes. From this, some people believe Chinese people started wearing leather shoes since the Han Dynasty. This is nonsense. It was obviously [earlier] during the Warring States Period [475-221BC]. This is a leather shoe from the Warring States Period. 11. This was posted by a Tang Dynasty enthusiast on Sina Weibo, and I bet many people have already seen it before. A Tang Dynasty handbag, same as Louis Vuitton. 12. These are a bunch of Liao Dynasty [907-1125AD] toothbrushes unearthed in Inner-Mongolia. China's earliest toothbrush was invented in the Eastern Han Dynasty, most made from bone. It's said there pretentious local despots who used jade toothbrushes, but I haven't seen them. 13. Guess what this is. High-heeled shoes from the Ming Dynasty [1368-1644 AD]. There's a reconstructed image online; those interested can search for it. 14. This, a bronze measurement ruler from the Xin Dynasty [9-23 AD], and some say material evidence that Wang Meng time traveled. 15. The "Little Bronze Man" [bronze vessel] from the Shanxi Provincial History Museum: Google Android Logo.

Comments on Sina Weibo:


Then the late-Qing arrived and the pride that was once China’s vanished and became taking pride in having foreign things.


More and more lost as it is handed down. These days, I have such respect and admiration for the all the nice things preserved in the tombs of ancient people. What nice things can people today leave behind for future generations?


The ancients were really amazing, especially the last one. Although of course, all of these things must’ve been invented by Koreans.


Wow, Wang Mang really did time travel…fuck… [Wang Mang was an usurper during the Tang Dynasty known for progressive reforms].


Fuck, Qin Dynasty plumbing looks better than today’s.


The story goes the Prince Liu Sheng had over 100 children. With so many wives, having that [dildo] is quite normal [expected].


Why is it double-ended? For two wives to use at the same time?


So does this prove that each generation is worse than the one before it, that our ancestors were far superior to us?


My god, if you let the Koreans see this, then it’ll all become Korea’s [inventions].


Suddenly I feel people must have traveled back in time and changed history.


Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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