Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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Periods of Division
(1,026 words)

The Chinese unitary state as the embodiment of a cosmologically founded order was a political ideal which, in principle, was not questioned during the period between the foundation of the empire by the Qin dynasty and the end of the imperial era. Nonetheless, the empire repeatedly fell apart during times of weak central power, strong centrifugal forces, and/or foreign attacks. The first division occurred directly after the demise of the Han dynasty, when three independent kingdoms were able to establish themselves on the former imperial territory (220-265): Wei in …

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Jansen, Thomas, “Periods of Division”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 22 September 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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