The Eastern Han (25-220 CE) is a curiously understudied period in the history of early China. Even though it has left behind many more textual and material sources than the preceding Warring States, Qin, and Western Han periods (ca. fifth- to first-century BCE), it has not yet attracted the scholarly attention that has long been lavished on these earlier, allegedly more foundational periods of early Chinese history. Recent scholarship on early medieval China, on the other hand, has tended to focus upon texts and personalities of the Six Dynasties (220-589 CE) after the end of the Eastern Han. Straddling between these two well-established bodies of scholarship, the Eastern Han has often emerged less as a distinctive era, with a historical identity and logic all of its own, than a long transitional period that had witnessed a transformation of the Middle Kingdom from the unified bureaucratic empires of the Qin and Western Han (221 BCE – 9 CE) to the fragmentary multiethnic and aristocratic polities of the Six Dynasties.
|Publication status||Published - 24 Jan 2013|