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[Han]. Chinese dynasty (206 bc-ad 220). Historians divide the Han dynasty into Western Han (206 bc-ad 8), when the capital was at Chang’an, and Eastern Han (ad 23220), when the capital was at Luoyang, separated by the Wang Mang Interregnum (ad 8-23). In many respects the pattern for later Chinese empires, the Han represented for succeeding generations an image of imperial unity; its name was even borrowed to mean ‘Chinese’ in the ethnic sense: the population of China is today officially described as made up of Han Chinese and some 50-odd Minority Nationalities. Next to the rich tombs at Mawangdui and Mancheng, perhaps the most revealing Han archaeological finds are a number of tombs whose wall paintings, decorated tiles and stone reliefs form the earliest substantial corpus of Chinese pictorial art. An unrelated character also transliterated Han is the name of an Eastern Zhou state.

The Macmillan dictionary of archaeology, Ruth D. Whitehouse, 1983Copied