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Chinese Dynasty Guide

Han Dynasty

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From This Period

Prancing Horse
Prancing Horse

Funerary Model of a Pig Sty
Funerary Model of a Pig Sty

Equestrian Soldier
Equestrian Soldier

Pair of Footsoldiers
Pair of Footsoldiers

See more objects from this dynasty


206 B.C. - 220 A.D.

Pronunciation: "hahn"

Military expansion, political centralization, and cultural achievements made this the first of China's four greatest dynasties. The Han invented paper and lead-glazed ceramics, and greatly improved silk-weaving techniques. Their quest for alliances with foreign powers prompted them to establish an extensive trade route that extended to the Roman Empire and would become known as the Silk Road. An emphasis on funerary art is evident in tombs artfully decorated with figures and geometric shapes; these images provide clues to Han costumes, architecture, and aristocratic pastimes.

Silk Road Map

Video: Han Dynasty
Curator of Asian art Robert Jacobsen takes us through China's illustrious past by focusing on each of its historical dynasties.

Han Dynasty Map