How do leaders express their status and assert control?
After the Neolithic period, during China’s Bronze Age, rulers expanded control over vast distances and diverse groups, sometimes through war, sometimes claiming divine right to rule. This led to a tumultuous period when many states competed for power. China was finally unified by the Qin emperor in 221 BC, ushering in the enduring legacy of the Han Dynasty and forever altering Chinese civilization.
This gallery looks at China’s early dynasties, the Qin unification, and the Han Dynasty, roughly 1600 BC to AD 220.