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Qin Shi Huang

Wave of China

Wave of China

Ever wondered how China became such a powerful and influential civilisation? Scholars argue that China's involvement in other civilisations has contributed to its success since 500 BCE. In the past, China’s neighboring civilisations benefitted largely from its relations with China, where the spread of Chinese culture led to the progress and the organization of some Asian Civilisations. Such relations include trade, military forces and political relations.


Dead Qin Shi Huang takes on the Twittersphere!

Editorial Note: Images are currently missing from this post due to the change from Wordpress (the site on which this was originally published) to Squarespace. Images will be reattached by January 2017.

The title says it all. One of the craziest, most powerful rulers in the History of China tries his hand at micro-blogging in his..... tomb. 7 days after his death (10 Sept, 210 BCE), Qin Shi Huang starts tweeting and freaking out as he finds out... his worst fear has come true - he has died.

Qin Shi Huang had an intense fear of dying and was obsessed with searching for the fabled Elixir of Life. He wanted to live forever (hence, the corny 4eva in his twitter name haha). This was one of his weaknesses because it was so easy for him to fall prey to anyone who promised they had the secret to the Elixir of life.

Most of the potions and pills his doctors and alchemists created contained "mercury" - which would cause serious eurological malfunctions. He is believed to have died from mercury poisoning. Eek, looks like this "Elixir of Life" ironically shortened his life :(

The Ancient Chinese believe that the Mandate of Heaven is bestowed upon emperors - this gave them the right to rule over the people and the sacred Mandate of Heaven was given based on their ability to rule wisely and well.

About a year before Qin Shi Huang's death, a large meteor fell from the sky. This didn't bode well for Qin Shi Huang, it was an ominous sign. Qin Shi Huang, the tyrant, had his fair share of haters and someone etched "The First Emperor will die and his land will be divided." Many people saw this as a sign that Qin Shi Huang has lost the Mandate of Heaven.

Qin Shi Huang then destroyed the meteor and pounded it into powder and because he was unable to find the person who wrote the words, he killed every man in the vicinity.

Author's Thoughts: I find it so strange and spooky that there are always "omens" before someone dies. When I was doing my research for post 2, where I wrote on the death of Julius Caesar, there were some scary omens too! On the day he was assassinated, Caesar’s horses wept, a bird flew into the Theater of Pompey with a sprig of laurel but was eaten by a larger bird, Calpurnia had a dream of him bleeding to death And someone warned him to beware of danger no later than the Ides of March. Ahhhh! Scary. I wonder what I will encounter just before I die.

As he got older, he grew more paranoid and worried about his death. Qin Shi Huang built a huge tomb for himself, with 8,000 unique, life-sized soldiers, 130 chariots with 520 horses and 150 cavalry horses. There were also officials and his entertainers. These figures were made to resemble the ones he had in real life! Poor Emperor even built rivers of Mercury (his Elixir of Life remember?), thinking it would keep him immortal when he rose again. This army was to ensure that when he became immortal, he would still have his strong army and trusty officials with him. In the tomb, there were replicas of his palaces too. Man... he really did not know how to let go.

About 2 millenniums later, on the 29th of Mar 1974, farmers digging a well found this huge tomb! Historians and archaeologists were all so intrigued and they excavated the site to search for more. However, they found that the paint on these soldiers were slowly flaking and fading off once they were exposed to the dry air...  hence, they decided not to open Qin Shi Huang's tomb in fear that they may not be able to preserve the artifacts.

Our fearful Emperor is left in his tomb, lonely and frustrated. But I guess he don't have to worry about being forgotten, or not being immortal. More than 2,000 years later, his legacy still lives on.


Qin Shi Huang, First Emperor of China, Asian History

Terracotta Army, Wikipedia

The fake tweets were made from

Qin Shi Huang's picture on his Twitter profile is taken from

The picture Qin Shi Huang tweeted is By Jmhullot - Own work, CC BY 3.0,

Dear Terrorist: Letters from a Scorched Past


April 11th 2014, Iraq, 11:35 a.m.

The bomb in my briefcase feels heavier as I climb up the steps to the university library. Students mill around, talking, laughing, reading. They probably come here every day. If I were one of them, I would probably be sitting under that tree’s shade, cracking open a book.

But I am not. I am here to fight for freedom, to deliver the right world order. The others do not believe that I deserve to fight alongside them, but when they see Sollum Library ablaze with red, I will prove my loyalty.

Stepping into the building, I am greeted by a calm quietness, framed by mahogany shelves filled with leather-bound books.

The county house library

I hurry towards the rare manuscripts, my shoulder knocking into a book that was not properly shelved.

It crashes to the floor, its unusual white cover calling out to me to pick it up. It is just like me, an outsider wanting to be heard.

I do, and a sheath of letters fall to the ground. 

(Click on the pictures for a larger view).


Alexandria Scroll

Nazi v final

April 11th 2014, Iraq, 12:00 a.m

The school bell chimes, indicating the next hour. I am out of time.

Когда часы 12 бьют

My hands are strangely cold as I stuff the letters back in between the pages of the book, noticing its cover for the first time -- Fahrenheit 451, the newly translated Arabic edition.

A chill runs up my spine.

I quickly remove the explosive and slide it right into the nook where the book had fallen out. It is a perfect fit.

I know the drill. I have practiced for this.

But I am thinking of the scholars who were buried alive, of the mass destruction of knowledge, of the little boys who were puppets for propaganda. It only takes one move from me to right the wrongs of my world, or to destroy a whole world of culture and meaning that I do not understand.

Is this the beginning, or the end?

I know the next steps by heart.



Alexandria: A major Mediterranean port of Egypt, founded in 331 BCE by Alexander the Great. Under the wealthy Ptolemy dynasty, the city soon surpassed Athens as the cultural center of the Hellenic world.

"Ancient Alexandria", line drawing of a scene from Alexandria in ancient times @ Adolf Gnauth, 1878

Confucianism: The lifestyle propagated by Confucius in 6th–5th century BCE and followed by the Chinese people for more than two millennia. Although transformed over time, it is still their source of values and social code.

Einstein: Albert Einstein was an influential German-born physicist. His works were burned during the Nazi book burnings. 

Emperor Qin: The first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, who ordered the extension of the Great Wall, the burning of books with opposing ideologies, and the death of more than 460 scholars.

Fahrenheit 451: A dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, published in 1953, about a society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. It has been used to discuss the historical role of book burning in suppressing ideas.


German Student Union: The merger of the general student committees of all German universities during the Nazi regime. It was responsible for a large part of the Nazi book burnings. 

"Berlin, Opernplatz, Bücherverbrennung", Nazi book burnings @ Georg Pahl, 11 May 1933, CC-BY-SA 3.0

Great Library: Commonly used title to refer to The Library of Alexandria. Founded in Egypt, it is the most famous library of Classical antiquity. It is also notorious for having been burned down, becoming a symbol of “knowledge and culture destroyed”.

"The Great Library of Alexandria", artistic Rendering of the Library of Alexandria, based on some archaeological evidence @ O. Von Corven, 1801-1900, CC-PD-Mark

Hemingway: Ernest Hemingway is seen as one of the great American 20th century novelists. His books were burned during the Nazi book burnings. 

"Birthplace of Ernest Hemingway", now open to the public @ Nekonomist, 2009, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Joseph Goebbels: Reich Minister of Propaganda in Nazi Germany.

"A candid Joseph Goebbels at the moment he realized his photographer, Alfred Eisenstaedt, was a Jew, 1933" @ Gafa Kassim, 2014, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Julius Caeser: Roman dictator who played a critical role in the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire. Believed to have contributed to the destruction of the Library of Alexandria.

"Remastered from a book", Julius Caesar @ Anonymous, 2009, CD-PD-Mark

Junzi: A Chinese philosophical term used by Confucius to describe the ideal man. Translates into “gentleman” or “superior person”.

Kong Fu Zi: The Chinese title of Confucius, literally translating into Master Kong. It is also how Confucius’s disciples address him, as “Fu Zi” means teacher.

Legalism: The chief ideology of the Qin Dynasty, it focused on strict application of laws, management techniques, accountability, “showing nothing” and the manipulation of political purchase.

Li Si: Prime Minister of the Qin Dynasty who served under Qin Shi Huang, he played a role in persuading the Emperor to suppress intellectual dissent.

"Li Si" @ Unknown, 2013, CC-PD-Mark

Pesar: The persian pronunciation of "son" in Perso-Latin alphabet.

Ren: A Confucian virtue denoting a good feeling a person experiences when being altruistic. It is exemplified by a parent’s protectiveness for children.

Seige of Alexandria: A series of battles occurring involving Julius Caesar between 48-47 BC. Sources identify this event as a possible occasion for the destruction of the Great Library. 

Bataille d'Alexandrie, the Battle of Alexandria @ Guillaume de Tyr, 1173, CC-PD-Mark

Shi Jing: Translates into The Classic of Poetry. Also known as The Book of Songs. It is the oldest collection of Chinese poetry, dating from 11th to 7th century BCE.

"Shi Jing", image of the copy of the ancient Chinese book @ Anonymous, 2006, CC-PD-Mark

Shu Jing: Translates into The Classic of History. It is an ancient China literature classic that has served as the foundation of Chinese political philosophy for over 2,000 years.

"Book of Documents", annotated edition, @ Jin Lüxiang, 1279, CC-PD-Mark

Sollum Library: A fictional academic library in Iraq, the location of a rare manuscript collection and the bombing target of the story’s unnamed narrator. Inspired by real events in 2015.

Stormtroopers: Specialist soldiers of the Germany army in World War I, trained to fight with shock and infiltration tactics. 

"Jurišna četa", Stormtroopers of 27. regiment @ Anonymous, 1915-1917, CC-PD-Mark

Xianyang: The capital city of China during the Qin Dynasty.

Yan He: Fictional disciple of Confucius, modeled after Yan Hui, a real disciple.

Zhu Zi Bai Jia: Translates into The Hundred Schools of Thoughts, a philosophical work dating back to 221 BCE.



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What If Religious Figures Had A Voice Of Their Own?

Hey there folks! We have come to the last blogpost of the semester! Throughout this module, we have been given a greater insight into the culture, economics and philosophy of the various religions. What this post aims to do is to provide a recap of certain main values and beliefs that characterise each religion as well as point out distinctions amongst them.   For starters, here is a timeline of religions across the range of 10000 BCE to 1500 CE...

Religious Timeline from 10000 BCE to 1500CE

However, we won’t be typing a whole long-drawn essay comparing these religions. That would be too boring isn’t it? So what other better way to do it than through a more engaging platform, which I can safely say that majority (if not all) of us are familiar with – Facebook!

Six major religious figures from each of these religions - Confucianism, Legalism, Buddhism, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, have been portrayed as active Facebook users showing their support for one another or in some cases, even starting a flame war! Given the interactive and informal/casual nature of this social media platform, it allows the unique personality of each character to be brought out through the tone of voice, use of words as well as harnessing the features of Facebook such as the ‘like’ button.

Here are the following conversations they will have on each of their Facebook profile:


Abraham - Founder of Judaism


Siddharta - Founder of Buddhism


Confucius - Founder of Confucianism


Qin Shi Huang - Founder of Legalism


Jesus - Founder of Christianity


Prophet Muhammad - Founder of Islam

After enjoying the posts and comments posted by these figures if they had Facebook, doesn’t this bring them one step closer to our hearts? It is more relatable to understand their values in layman’s terms, as many of them preach their values in a condensed and sometimes difficult way.

We hope you learnt more about the different world religions from this post. Though they may seem distinct in their own rights, their values and beliefs do interact to create the world we are in today. Hope you had a good laugh while reading this!


Image References

Sarah and Abraham hosting three angels, the Providence Lithograph Company, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Abraham - Isaac - Jacob - Judah, Michangelo, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

God Appearing to Abraham at Sichem, Paulus Potter, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

A boy angel appears as Abraham prepares to sacrifice his son, G. Sensi y Baldachi after A. del Sarto, [CC BY 4.0]

Abraham's Journey from Ur to Canaan, József Molnár, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Thuluth Script Arabic Calligraphy od Proohet Muhammad's name (Muhammad) with Salla Allahu Aleyhi Wa Sallam, Abdelghani AZZI, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Arabic script writing of Prophet's Name (peace be upon him) at Old Mosque, Edirne, Turkey, Nevit Dilmen, [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Qinshihuangdi3, User David.gaya, [CC-PD-MARK]

Terracotta Army, Ray Tsang, [All Rights Reserved]

Terracotta ARMY. Guerreros de Xi'an, Eneko Muiño, [CC BY 2.0]

Temple of Confucius, Ulrichsson, [CC]

Confucius and his students, User Louis le Grand, [CC-PD-MARK]

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglican Church [1], Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus' description of himself "I am the Good Shepherd" (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11), Alfred Handel,  [CC BY-SA 3.0]

Jesus Cross, Claudio Ungari, [CC BY 2.0]

Shakyamuni, the Historical Buddha,  Cristian Violatti, [CC BY-NC-SA 3.0]

Buddha Facebook Cover 3

Paintings of Buddha meditating, Mladifilozof,  [CC-PD-MARK]

Lao Tzu, Jamie Morales, [CC BY-NC-SA 4.0]


The Maker of China


Qin Shi Huangdi, named Ying Zheng, also known as Emperor Qin Shi Huang (c. 259 - 210 BCE), was the first emperor of China. Before becoming the Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang was the prince of the Qin state, before eventually succeeding his father as king. He managed to take advantage of the Warring State Period to seize control and became the first king to eventually unify and rule over the whole nation of China. The title Huangdi was created by him after he managed to unify China. “Huang” came from “San Huang” (The legendary three emperors), while “Di” came from “Wu Di” (The five sovereigns). The new title was meant to signify the fact that Qin Shi Huang has surpassed all Chinese leaders before him. The “Shi” in his title means “first” to highlight of his achievement of being the first to rule over all of China collectively.

Forbes magazine defines leadership as “a process of social influence, which maximizes the efforts of others, towards the achievement of a goal.”

Other than being the first to unify China by strategic conquering of the neighbouring states. Once unified, he built a strong economic China with many standardization and reforms. He is also known for building The Lingqu Canal, which further boost the agriculture and economy in China. Lastly, he developed a strong military and defence for his empire in building and The Great Wall of China. By not just unifying but by structuring the culture, society and landscape of the country, Qin Shi Huang is arguably the greatest leader in world history.

Warring states and unification

Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s rise to power began from a turbulent time in Chinese history known as the Warring States Period. The time period is known as such due to the Seven Warring States being in competition with each other for power. Each state would try to annex neighbouring states in order to widen their rule. The Qin state where Emperor Qin Shi Huang was king would eventually emerge victorious, managing to defeat and unite all other states under its rule.


The end of the Warring States Period signaled the start of the Qin Dynasty. The State of Qin’s victory came from superior tactics and battle strategy, often waiting until an enemy state is weakened before sweeping in to deal the final blow. A notable figure that played a large role in this victory is the Qin state’s minister and advisor named Shang Yang. Shang Yang often advises the Emperor when to make a move in order to gain tactical advantage and helped empower the Qin state to gain an upper hand.

After uniting the nation of China, Emperor Qin Shi Huang established a united governmental system in China. Other than consolidating the government, the Emperor also standardized the currency and modes of measures (weight, height, length, currency, etc.). Doing so allows for easier economic practises such as buying and selling, especially between people who come from different states. These changes allow the citizens of China to finally act and identify as members of one country. By unifying and standardizing all the  units and currency, he created a huge impact on China architecture, trade, and economy for all of Chinese history.


The Lingqu Canal

In 214 BCE, Emperor Qin Shi Huang ordered the Lingqu Canal in Xing’an County to be built. The Lingqu Canal, flowing at 36.4km, connects two of China’s largest river basins – Yangtze River Basin and Pearl River Basin. Not only was the canal built for the purpose of transporting grain, it was also an irrigation project that developed Xing’an agriculturally and it aided in flood control. Gradually, the canal facilitated trade between Middle and South China. For 2000 years, it was the main route for water transportation between Lingnan and Central China. It served as an exemplary canal technology of ancient China that demonstrated the Asian hydraulic technology. Most importantly, the Lingqu Canal helped to unify the North and South when Emperor Qin Shi Huang conquest Baiyue and Lingnan regions. This helped to maintain stability in the Southern part of China.

Through this, Emperor Qin Shi Huang caused the agriculture in China to flourish and even until now, China remains the top in agricultural output as a nation. Irrigation also reduced floodings and reduced damage caused by natural disasters around the rivers.

Great wall of China

All that being said, the peace wouldn’t have been kept if not for good defence system from other nations and threats. Around the year 221 BCE, Emperor Qin Shi Huang started to build the Great wall of China to defend from the Huns from the north (towards inner Mongolia). He rebuilt and connected the walls from parts of the walls that was already built during the warring states times by the six other states. He also extended the walls to cover Lintao (west) to Liaodong (east). Thus, the great wall of China is also called ‘Wanli Changcheng’ (The ten thousand miles wall). The Great wall was not just a tool of war and a military structure, it was also a structure that defined the culture of China and kept the culture within China unaffected by the nomadic tribes (or barbarians) on the other side of the wall.

The great wall of China is now one of the seven man-made wonders of the world and is also listed as an UNESCO world heritage site. The building of the great wall was not just an almost impossible architectural feat, it is also a permanent imprint of the futuristic, strategic thinking of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Hence, it was one of the great legacies of his, showing his military planning skills and how he created an eternal work of art along the mountains of China. It also shaped a lot of Chinese culture and differentiated it from the culture of other regions that was considered barbaric at that time.

With all these achievements, we believe that Emperor Qin Shi Huang is the greatest leader because his actions not just lasted for his time in history, every major decision he made created a lasting social-economic impact in the future of China and even the world.

Listen, to the voice here in my heart

Ever thought what it would be like if Terracotta Warriors (TCW) could speak? Disclaimer: Below is a monologue by one of the Terracotta Warriors in Qin Shi Huang’s Tomb at Lintong, Shaanxi. This is a pure work of fiction written by us.


"Hi! You’ve found me! It was easy, wasn’t it?

I’ve been living here in the mausoleum complex for more than 2000 years now, together with my fellow comrades. It had been peaceful for centuries, till you humans discovered our existence and treated us like specimens to be examined through your magnifying glass. We found instant fame in 1974 when your predecessors found us buried around the tomb of the great Qin Emperor, Qin Shihuang. They then started to invade our territory that was bestowed to us by the late Emperor Qin, hence putting us under the scrutiny of the eyes of the public ever since…

Oops, did I tell you why we were all created? Did I? Did I? Did I?

There are probably a variety of reasons about why we are here in the mausoleum now. My peers and I figured out some explanations, while some are obtained by simply eavesdropping on your fellow archaeologist friends who were here to examine us. However, we have eventually choose to settle for just one.

As you might have known from @yanjiieel’s post, the late Emperor Qin Shihuang took over the throne at thirteen, and was terribly afraid of both death and afterlife. Hence, he ordered people to rebuild his entire empire so that we could accompany him, protect him and ensure that he will be well taken care of in his afterlife. Together with my 7000 comrades, horses, chariots and weaponry, we are each created to take on different roles and occupations to fulfill his needs for protection.

But honestly speaking, he is in his tomb, which is a distance away from us. How are we even supposed to reach him in time to protect him? What’s more when we are already getting the attention of you people and being separated from our peers to different places of the world for what you call “museum exhibitions”. How do we serve our loyalty to our great Emperor when we are instead, getting further and further away from him?

Despite everything, I do not think that Emperor Qin is a bad guy. “It’s always a good time” is definitely not the story of my life here, but my comrades and I are more than happy to be here, even though we may be isolated from the outside world. “Why?” you might question. In my opinion, I do feel that he is being pretty humane by sparing the lives of actual humans by using us instead (though he employed a large labor force and took a long time to create us). Imagine having men, those that bore the same faces as us (assuming we are created based on facial features of actual men then) being “executed” just to accompany our great Emperor Qin into his afterlife?

What would happen to their families, and not to mention the state of the economy with these elites of the society gone to fulfill their supposed life mission- to protect the Qin Emperor forever?

As far as what I know, Emperor Qin is a ruler who believes that our people are self-interested, since we only do things to fulfill our own needs and desires without caring about the consequences. Hence, strict law codes with harsh punishments were created and enforced back then (does this ring a bell? Let me give you a clue, it is an eight letter word starting with L). Never did we expect such a cold-blooded and merciless ruler to be willing to spare the lives of thousands when he could easily take them with him to his tomb with just one order. Hence, it is indeed a surprise for Emperor Qin to use us, clay figurines, instead of real humans to be buried near his tomb to ‘protect’ him.

However, on second thoughts, wouldn’t it be weird if the warriors had to be buried together with him when they were not punishable by any stated law?

Hence, here’s an open letter to Emperor Qin Shi Huang, The First King of Unified China:

I am thankful to him for not going along with the traditional burial customs of having human sacrifices in the Emperor’s tomb, for he has definitely claimed enough of lives in his entire reign.

I am thankful to him for creating us in such an orderly manner, making each and everyone of us to be different even though we were made from the same clay.

Lastly, I am thankful to him for existing, because without him, there will be no us.

Best wishes,

TCW #2173 "


                         The Monologue of Terracotta Warriors