The earliest known written records of the history of China date from as early as 1250 BC, from the Shang dynasty (1600–1046 BC), during king Wu Ding’s reign. Here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Ancient China.
10: Women’s Feet Were Broken and Deformed to Attract the Opposite Sex
In ancient China, men were attracted to women with small feet. Some unlucky young girls were forced to tuck their toes underneath their feet, which were held in place with close. This was called foot binding. Over the course of a few years, the foot would have shrunk down to a mere 3 or 4 inches. It was mandatory for wealthy upper-class women to bind their feet. It deformed the feet and even broke their bones. This painful procedure was finally branded illegal at the beginning of the 20th century.
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9: Food Range from Spiders to Baked Animal Genitals
Anyone with a weak stomach might want to avoid visiting China. The market stores are filled with some bizarre foods. Not only do they serve sea horses and crabs, as well as deep-fried spiders and scorpions, but you can also dine on sheep genitals on a steak. Chicken testicles come with a dollop of rice and broth, duck beaks and cooked chicks are also available, much like boiled monkey brains and stinky pieces of tofu, perhaps just a bowl of rice will suffice.
8: Kites, Ice Cream, and Crossbows Invented in Ancient China
China’s list of inventions is broad and extensive, for example, kites were invented and used for communication, testing the wind, and even scaring enemies in battle with these special dragon kites. On top of that, the Chinese invented ice cream, the repeater crossbow, poison gases, gun powder, paper, soccer, and much more. Most of these were invented hundreds of years before the west even picked up on them, even toilet paper was created by the Chinese. This was a luxury reserved only for Emperors in the 14th century, so be sure to thank them during your next toilet trip.
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7: Ancient China Didn’t Invent Many Things Associated with Them
It goes without saying that the empires of ancient China were all home to some remarkably talented and intelligent figures. As seen by their inventions alone, alas, some of the country’s most prominent creations were actually invented by other countries. Fortune cookies were originally a Japanese invention from the 19th century. The small hand-held fortune cookies were popularized in America during the mid-20th century by the San Francisco-based ki Yong noodle factory. Ping pong was not a Chinese invention either, this sport was created by the British under the name table tennis. It was so popular with the Chinese, it ended up being implemented in the Olympics in 1988. Compared to some of the amazing things they did create, these seem trivial in comparison.
6: Paper Was Used as Armor
Not merely contempt with armor made of metal and leather, China was said to have invented paper armor around 600 BC. Resins we used on thick layers of paper to help toughen it up. Believe it or not, paper armor was surprisingly effective and it was just as durable as heavy armor in many ways. It could withstand arrows, sword slashes, bullets from primitive firearms at the time, and more. However, it fared poorly against blunt weapons and was far from waterproof.
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5: Numerous Emperors Broke Records in Ancient China
Some of China’s emperors were record breakers, for example, the youngest ever emperor was Shang of the Han dynasty, who sadly died at age 2. Quinn Long of the Qin dynasty ruled for 6 whole decades and died at age 89. Surprisingly, there was one female emperor in the country’s entire history. Wu Zetian was the oldest person to have ascended to the throne at age 67 in 1692 BC and ruled for over 50 years. It was rumored that she bumped off her family to seize power, though this has been disputed by historians.
4: Chairman Mao Demanded Frequent Sex in Order to Improve His Health
Communism is an oppressive political movement that has resulted in millions of deaths throughout history. During Mao Zedong’s reign, he caused almost 45 million deaths across less than half a decade. Yet the founder of the people’s Republic of China was praised as a god by his followers. The chairman believed having as much sex as possible would help combat old age. He brought him, peasant girls, daily and after they read up on a sex manual, well, you know, many of the girls were incredibly humbled to sleep with their leader and didn’t even mind contracting STDs.
Shockingly, Mao even had an underage mistress at age 69, the girl known as Chen was only 14 years old. She was a singer and dancer, who ended up in a relationship with the chairman for 5 years until Mao’s mistress got sick and tired of what was going on. This broke the chairman’s heart but the whole fiasco was kept under wraps.
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3: Ancient China Mythology Was Pretty Bizarre at Times
Everyone loves a good story and the Chinese have plenty of them. According to Chinese mythology, millions of years ago, a god named Pangu was resting inside an egg. The Ying and Yang within created the sky and earth. Pangu Kept both in balance with his mere hands and feet. Xu Zhonglin wrote a book of Chinese legends called an “investiture of the gods” in the 16th century. One was based on Daji, a monarch who enjoyed brutally torturing people for her own pleasure, going so far as to slowly roast them alive. Zhonglin wrote how she was a shape-shifting fox, who was promised immortality by the goddess Nüwa if she overthrew the King. She was punished with death instead. If you’re ever in need of a fascinating tale read up on some old Chinese legends.
2: Ancient China Invented the Simplest Psychological Torture Method Ever
In order to avoid bloodshed some resort to psychological torture in order to extract information from a captive. Chinese water torture may seem pretty harmless on paper, though in reality, it was particularly heinous. First documented in the 16th century though no one is sure when it was first created. It was reported that the victim would be tied down to an uncomfortable chair underneath a bucket of water. This would slowly have dripped cold water on the victim’s head. It sounds harmless but remembers, the prisoner is unable to move and cannot resist. On occasions, the Chinese would punish them by using such torture methods in public to add to the humiliation. Victims would become frustrated with each drip sending gradually heavier vibrations through their skull. Ulcers would grow on their scalps as a result. Chinese water torture may be the simplest but cruelest means of torture ever.
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1: Contribution to World War II
China’s contribution to World War II was vital for victory but is seldom talked about. The Second World War was arguably the most horrific event in human history. While historians tend to focus on the battles fought between Nazi Germany and its comrades against the allies in the Soviets, few seem to pay attention to China’s role in the conflict. Surprisingly, considering over 14 million Chinese lost their lives. China fell victim to the Nanking Massacre in 1937, when Japanese soldiers invaded their land to commit mass rape and genocide. The exact death toll is unknown since Japan destroyed all evidence of the massacre.
After this, China was suffering from a civil war between its nationalist and communist supporters. Few seem to offer credit to ancient China for their participation in the war. They defended their own country from Japanese attacks, fought alongside the British and Americans in Burma, helped escort British shipments. Yet, all in all, the country ultimately fell victim to numerous blood baths and after years of being trapped within a tug of war contest between the nationalists are communists, it fell under the communist rule a few years after the end of the war. Their efforts delivered a crucial blow against the Axis powers. After all, if they fold it, Japan would have a much greater army to battle the Americans or even the Soviets with.
Those then are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Ancient China. Don’t forget to check out our other lists and thanks for staying with us for a while.