Global EditionASIA 中文双语Français
Home / Culture / Books

Notorious emperor was vilified, series claims

China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-15 07:14
Share - WeChat
Qin Mausoleum: A Dust-Laden Empire by archaeologist Duan Qingbo [Photo provided to China Daily]

Duan refutes the notion that bloodiness and cruelty were Qin Shihuang's hallmarks.

He points out some statues buried alongside the Terracotta Warriors are acrobats rather than soldiers.

"Qin Shihuang was lonely in life. Nobody around him matched his insight and vision. He has become a caricature in death. People don't understand him," he says.

"We must remember this emperor devoted his life to designing a social-governance system that has profoundly shaped Chinese history for over 2,000 years. That makes him a great emperor. It's a pity we one-sidedly condemn him without acknowledging his philosophy and contributions."

Duan believes his tyrannical image is largely conjured by Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) literature. They criticized previous rulers to justify their overthrow and win public support.

The scholar speculates later chroniclers of history, such as Sima Qian, deliberately turned Qin Shihuang into a cautionary fable for later rulers, consequently contributing to his bad reputation.

He points out many dynasties' final emperors, as in the case of Qin Shihuang as a founder, became notorious despite their grand achievements.

Sui Dynasty (581-618) emperor Yang Guang is a typical case. He built the Grand Canal that stretches thousands of kilometers from East China's Hangzhou to Beijing which helped to transform the nation.

The UNESCO-recognized engineering marvel still operates today with many of its superlatives yet unmatched.

But Yang's role has been downplayed for reasons like those for Qin Shihuang's, Duan says.

Yang is often thought of as a character whose excesses and bumbling brought down the Sui.

Duan's CCTV-12 series about Qin Shihuang and his mausoleum will air from June 17 to July 2.

"We often see Qin Shihuang in literature," says associate director of CCTV-12, Quan Yong.

"But archaeology gives us a different angle from which to view him."

|<< Previous 1 2   
Most Popular
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349