Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Reports regarding the frontiers appeared in Chinese chronicles as early as the Zuozhuan (Commentary of Zuo). In the mid-4th century BCE, a cultural and political concept of the universe ( tianxia ) existed in which the world was divided into Chinese and barbarians. The territorial permeability of the early frontier concept was reflected in the idea that the barbarians would voluntarily come and transform themselves (lai hua), i.e. adopt the Chinese culture. Geographically and climatologically, the land border in the north and west (called the "Inner Asian fron…

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Dabringhaus, Sabine, “Frontiers”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 27 February 2024 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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