China Magnificent: Five Thousand Years of Chinese Art

By Dagny Carter | Go to book overview

III
NOMAD INVASIONS

THE land beyond the Chinese borders, Central Asia and the land north of it, was in the first millennium B.C. and probably much earlier occupied by many nomadic tribes. The most important earliest written information about these tribes in the West is found in the fourth book of Herodotus from the fifth century B.C. His description of Scythia and the tribes which lived beyond her borders has, in the past, caused a great deal of speculation and has often been considered fantastic and unreliable. Herodotus himself, after relating the stories which he has heard from others, adds, in his inimical fashion, that he doubts if such incredible stories can be true.

Recently, however, Herodotus' narrative has been given renewed consideration by G. F. Hudson in his admirable book, Europe and China. By synchronizing the available historical data and geographical descriptions, making due allowance for the inevitable geographical inaccuracies in ancient books, Hudson has established convincing proofs supporting the belief that there was in the middle of the first millennium B.C. a territory from South Russia across Asia occupied by nine definitely designated tribes. Without subscribing to Hudson's theory as to whom the Hyperboreans may have been, the rest of the list brings us at least near to the borders of China.

As none of these tribes left any writing or symbols whereby their history could be passed on to succeeding generations, it is a part of human history where one has to begin with conjecture, hoping that the archæologist will be able, in years to come, to correct mistakes and throw new light on the problem.

DeMorgan, after a long and illustrious career as an archæologist in various fields, wrote in his book, Prehistoric Man, a last chapter which

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China Magnificent: Five Thousand Years of Chinese Art
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction ix
  • Part One - Graves and Altars 1
  • I - Stone-Age Graves And Prehistoric Sites 3
  • II - Feudal China 11
  • III - Nomad Invasions 27
  • IV - The Empire Builder 41
  • V - Imperial Expansion 49
  • VI - The Graves of the Sons of Han 59
  • Part Two - Temples and Palaces 73
  • VIII - The Dark Ages 83
  • IX - Cave Temples 95
  • X - The Glory That Was T'Ang 109
  • XI - The Art of the T'Ang Era 117
  • XII - Artistic Fulfilment 135
  • Part Three - Shops and Marts 153
  • XIII - Conquered China 155
  • XIV - Ming Nationalism 165
  • XV- The European Expansion and China 181
  • XVI - The Manchus 191
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 217
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