Trade, Weapons, and Communications!

Is

trade still used today? Of course it
is! Money is a way of trade used
most commonly today. However, in
medieval China, the citizens traded
salt, fish, iron, cattle, and silk. Many
products in China ended up in other
countries. When China traded with
India, they received lapis lazuli,
coral, jade, crystal, and pearls.1 The
Silk Road was the biggest, and most

well known trade route in China. It
ran from China all the way to the
Mediterranean, going through China,
Central Asia, Northern India, the
Parthian and Roman Empires, Iran,
Iraq, and Syria at 11, 263
kilometers.2 The Silk Roads were
famous for their very beautiful silks.
Silk was the most traded product
along this road, but not the only. The
reason for this was because “Silk
fiber was the filament that was most
used for textile making during the
T'ang dynasty”. Originally, silk was
only traded with other chinese, and
didn’t ever go to any other
countries.3 Silk was one of the most
important trade products in China
because so many other countries
wanted it. India used it for their
clothes, ceremonial banners, and
tapestries. Medieval Europe used it
as currency.
Chinas trade routs were not
only used for silk, but also porcelain,
furs, spices, gems, cotton and
linen.4 Cotton was not a originally a
chinese product, but was introduced
to China in the third century BC,
from southern nations. Domestic
animals were imported and traded a
lot. Horses, camels, mules, and
domestic dogs were the most
popular animals. One of the worst
things that was traded along these
trade routs were humans. People
with different colored skin, and of
different heritage were traded as
slaves. Some people that were
traded, weren’t used as slaves. For
instance, jugglers and acrobats were
sent to be court entertainers, and
many other types of people were
sent to become different things.5
Many cities that the trade
routes ran through became very

rich, because they became
international marketplaces. “New
inventions, religious beliefs, artistic
styles, languages, and social
customs, as well as goods and raw
materials, were transmitted by
people moving from one place to
another to conduct business.”6
Ceramics were also a big
trade product in medieval China.
Ceramics were considered “luxury
items”.7
Not only were products
traded, but also knowledge,
different beliefs, and cultures. This is
an excellent example of cultural
diffusion. Buddhism was one religion
that diffused from India into China.
Buddhism really caught on in China
in the second century AD because
this was when large groups of
Buddhists began arriving to China
via the Silk Road. Even though
Buddhism came to China, it did not
wipe out the original religious beliefs
of the Chinese people.8 To be able to
communicate, the Chinese needed
to use language. The Chinese
written language is one of the oldest
known languages in the world. The
Chinese started communicating, and
writing their language over 4,000
years ago. Instead of a symbol
representing a letter, their symbols
all represented a word or phrase.9
China used a type of postal system
to communicate with their empires,
and around 200 BC China invented
paper, which helped them pass
along messages to anyone they
needed to talk to.10
The Chinese used to write all
their information on oracle bones.
They were not, however, the first
ones to start communicating
through writing. The Chinese first

started writing after hearing that the
Steppe people had started writing.
They wrote in a way called a
pictograph. They used symbols to
stand for pictures and words.11
The Chinese army was also
known as one of the strongest in
Asia. They used many different
kinda of weapons, including the gun,
the Dao, the Qiang, and the Jian.
The gun was made from bamboo,
and was the simplest weapon in
medieval China. The gun was
mainly used to train new soldiers
before they could start using the
more advanced weapons. The Dao
was the most used weapon at that
time. A Dao was mainly thought of
as a short spear, and was used for
hand-to hand combat. The Qiang
was a type of spear, and was used
for long distance combat. The Jian
was “the king of all weapons”. It was
a type of sword used by very trained
soldiers.12
War was a huge deal from 475
BC to 221 BC in China. The Chinese
always had an advantage in war.
They had advanced in military
technology, and each soldier in their
infantry had a weapon.13 Chinese
also got a lot of power in war
through their use of horses. They
used horses for traveling, and safety
through chariots.14 China was almost
always at war during the dynasty.
The soldiers were made up of
Chinese citizens who had served in
the army for at least two years.
When China wasn’t at war, The
army took over other people, and
their land, and brought it to be part
of China, and Chinese rule. Chariots
and bronze weapons were the kind
of weapons mainly used during that
time. China’s wars were ongoing,

and they were almost always at war
with another country.15

1 N.S. Gill. “Trade and Economy in Ancient China”. 2012. New York Times Company. September 13, 2012.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/china/ss/082208china_5.htm
2 JaydeeW. “Medieval China”. June 10, 2010. slideshare. September 16, 2012.
http://www.slideshare.net/JaydeeW/medieval-china.
3 Students. “The Silk Road: Linking Europe and Asia Through Trade”. Oracle’ Think Quest Education
Foundation. September 16, 2012. http://library.thinkquest.org/13406/sr/.
4 Encarta Online. “Silk Road”. October 25, 2001. World Tourism Organization. September 26, 2012.
http://www.silkroad-hotels.com/history.html.
5 Lui, Xinru. Ancient India and Ancient China, Trade and Religious Exchanges AD 1-600. Delhi: Oxford
University Press, 1997.
6 Department of Ancient Near Eastern Art. "Trade Routes between Europe and Asia during Antiquity". In
Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. September 16, 2012.
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/trade/hd_trade.htm
7 News Staff. “Medieval Commerce: Trade Between Israel and China Shows Ceramics Were Not That Valued”.
March 3, 2008. September 16, 2012.
http://www.science20.com/news_releases/medieval_commerce_trade_between_israel_and_china_shows_cera
mics_were_not_that_valued
8 Jeffrey Hays. “History of Buddhism in China”. Last updated April 2010. September 16, 2012.
http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=94
9 Char4U.com. “History of Chinese Writing System”. September 16, 2012.
http://www.char4u.com/article_info.php?articles_id=2.
10 Tim Lambert. “The History of Communication Through The Ages”. Last revised 2012. September 16, 2012.
http://www.localhistories.org/communications.html.
11 N.S. Gill. “Writing in Ancient China”. 2012. New York Times Company. September 16, 2012.
http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/china/ss/082208china.htm.
12 “Weapons of Ancient China”. 2007. Cultural China. September 16, 2012. http://history.culturalchina.com/en/182History5440.html.
13 Tim Nash. “Overview of Ancient Chinese War”. 2012. The Finer Times. September 16, 2012.
http://www.thefinertimes.com/Ancient-Wars/overview-of-ancient-chinese-wars.html
14 Joaquim MuStachie. “Ancient Chinese Military and Warfare”. Tripod. September 16, 2012.
http://fearsofgun.tripod.com/.
15 “Warfare and the life of a soldier”. 2012. Skwirk Interactive Schooling. September 16, 2012.
http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-14_u-173_t-472_c-1712/ACT/7/Warfare-and-the-life-of-a-soldier/Ancient-Chinapart-II/Ancient-societies-China/History/.