LOADING

The Great Wall of China
To the northwest and north of Beijing, a huge, serrated wall zigzags it’s way to the east and west along the undulating mountains. This is the Great Wall, which is said to be visible from the moon. This massive wall has not only been one of the Ancient Seven Wonders of the World, but it has also been inspiration for many artists, and writers. The building of the Great Wall is one of the biggest tragedy?s, but through this tragedy arose triumph with the wall, being so much to so many people. The Great Wall of China is much more than a wall, and was built for many reasons that are hidden to most.

Construction of the Great Wall started in the 7th century B.C. The wall states that under the Zhou Dynasty in the northern parts of the country each built their own walls for defense purposes. After the state of Qin unified China in 221 B.C., it joined the walls to hold off the invaders from the Xiongnu tribes in the north and extended them to more than 10,000 li or 5,000 kilometers. This is the origin of the name of the “10,000-li Great Wall”. (Karls, Robert 10,000-li Great Wall)
To understand everything about the Great Wall it is necessary to know the many components of the wall, and their purposes. The Great Wall was renovated
Pearson 2
from time to time after the Qin Dynasty. A major renovation started with the founding of the Ming Dynasty in 1368, and took 200 years to complete. The wall
we see today is almost exactly the result of this effort. With a total length of over 6,000 kilometers, it extends to the jiayu Pass in Gansu Province in the west and to the mouth of the Yalu River in Liaoning Province in the east. What lies north of Beijing is but a small section of it. (Karls)
The Badaling section of the Great Wall snaking along the mountains northwest of Beijing was built at the beginning of the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century. Being 7.8 meters high and 5.8 meters wide at the top on the average, it has battle forts at important points, including the corners. (Karls)
Located 10 kilometers south of the Badaling section of the Great Wall and built in an 18.5-kilometre-long valley, the pass has always been an important gateway northwest of Beijing. The name is believed to have its origin in the workers and slaves conscripted to build the Great Wall in ancient times. Cloud Terrace, built in 1345, was originally the base of a pagoda over looking the main road of the town of the pass. The arched gate of the terrace and the walls inside the arch are decorated with carvings. Of elephants, lions, birds, flower and heavenly kings as well as charms in six languages-Sanskrit, Tibetan, Phats pa (Mongolian), Uygur, West Xia and Han. (Karls)
The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall, 70 kilometers northeast of Beijing, is linked to the Gubeikou section on the east and the Badaling section on the
Pearson 3
west. The Mutianyu section of the Great Wall is crenellated for watching and shooting at the invading enemy. Some of the battle forts on the wall are as close
as 50 meters apart. It is one of the best sections of the Great Wall. (Karls)
Located in Miyun County northeast of Beijing, the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall, like the Simatai division, belongs to the Gubeikou section of the colossal defence barrier. The battlements in the Jinshanling division of the Great Wall are built along the ridge of a mountain, where the soldiers can resist the invading enemy by taking advantage of the high terrain. (Karls)
Located to the east of Jinshanling, the Simatai division of the Great Wall is 3,000 meters long and has 35 battle forts. The wall rises and falls with the precipitous mountain ridge, while the battle forts are located high up the hills.

From the Beakon Tower alarm was raised by means of smoke signals, at night by fire. Smoke was produced by burning a mixture of wolf dung, sulfur and saltpeter. Shots were fired at the same time. Thus an alarm could be relayed over 500km within just a few hours. (Karls)
From Shaikwan on the the gulf of Liao Tuna to the Hwang Ho, Chin Shih Hwang Ti’s Great Wall followed the highlands of the southern rim of the Mongolian basin and thus had some phisical justification. However in it’s continuation westward along the north bank of the Hwang Ho. The Wall ceases to conform to a natural region. For it crosses the 15 inch isohyet and embraces a large area of sparce and variable rainfall. The Ordos wich is far more suited to
Pearson 4
pastoral economy than intensive agriculture thus indisregarding geographical factors and attempting to include permanetly within his domains, essentialy
pastory lands. Chin Shih Hwang Ti defeated his own ends and the main purpose
of the wall, i.e. the seperstion of these two economies. Often there were large numbers of nomads living within The Great Wall while it was sited so far north. Nineteen Hsiung-Nu tribes occured at the Ordos region at the time of the three kingdoms (ad 220-265). While the Han emporers remained powerful and energetic they were able to keep the northern pastorialists under control but emidiatly there was a weakening of imporial power. The old forces reasserted themselves and thestruugle between the two ways of life was renewed. Chin Shih Hwang Ti’s wall to the north of the Ordos was eventually abandoned and one to the south conforming closely to the 15 inch isohyet was built. The Great Wall of China has done it’s job well seperating these two areas as well as protect that part of China from being attacked. (Forbes, Geraldine Asian Studies)
The Ch’in Dynasty began it?s reign over China in the year of 221 B.C. The very first emperor at that point in time self appointed himself and proclaimed himself to be Shih Huang Ti, or the first emperor of the Ch’in dynasty. The name China is derived from this dynasty.( Ledoux, Trish Ancient Civilizations)
With the assistance of a shrewd legalist minister, the First Emperor wielded the loose configuration of quasi-feudal states into an administratively centralized and culturally unified empire. The hereditary aristocracies were abolished and their territories were then divided into smaller provinces that would
Pearson 5
be governed by bureaucrats appointed by the emperor. The Ch’in capital, near the present-day city of Xi`an, became the first seat of imperial China. A standardized system of written characters was then adopted, and its use was
made mandatory throughout the empire. To promote internal trade and economic integration the Ch’in standardized weights and measures, coinage, and axle widths. Private landholdings was adopted, and laws and taxation were enforced equally and impersonally. The quest for cultural uniformity led the Ch’in to outlaw the many contending schools of philosophy that had flourished during the Chou. Only legalism was given official sanction, and in 213 B.C. the books of all other schools were burned, except for copies held by the Ch’in imperial library. (Ledoux)
Shih Huang Ti also attempted to push the perimeter of Chinese civilization far beyond the outer boundaries of Chou dynasty. In the south his armies marched to the delta of Red River, in what is now Vietnam. In the southwest the rim was extended to include most of the present-day provinces of Yunnan, Guizhou, and Sichuan. In the northwest his conquest reached as far as Lanzhou in present-day Gansu Province; and in the northeast, a portion of what today is Korea acknowledged the superiority of the Ch’in. The center of Chinese civilization, however, remained in the Huang He valley. Aside from the unification and expansion of China, The best known achievement of the Ch’in was the completion of the Great Wall. (Twitchett, Denis The Cambridge History of China Vol 1)
Pearson 6
The Ch’in Empire ruled China around 200 BC. They unified all of the
provinces under their rule and set up a strong system of government. This system included a huge system of taxes and required public labor of all of the citizens of China. The unification under the Ch’in Empire allowed public works projects to be unified on a vastly larger scale. Along with the use of tax-paying peasants for labor, the rulers also used convicts and other unfavorable groups to complete massive public works constructions such as highways, dams and walls. Twitchett, Denis The Cambridge History of China Vol 3)
The Great Wall’s construction was begun in 221 BC under the emperor Meng T’ien of the Ch’in Dynasty. Continual invasion and wars from the barbarians to the North drove the emperor to order its construction to protect the newly unified China. Meng T’ien’s Great Wall is described in his biography “He…built a Great Wall, constructing its defiles and passes in accordance with the configurations of the terrain. It started at Lin-t’ao and extended to Liao-tung, reaching a distance of more than ten thousand li. After crossing the [Yellow] River, it wound northward, touching the Yang Mountains”. (Cambridge 62) Although the wall is considered to be well under 10,000 li (one li is approximately a third of a mile) it was truly an amazing accomplishment. (Twitchet)
Meng T’ien employed some 300,000 men in the creation of the original section of the wall. The building of such a massive wall would definitely be a massive undertaking. A wall that stretches through the wilderness is not easily
accessed by supply lines, unlike a highway that creates its own supply
Pearson 7
line. There was also a massive loss of life during the construction of the wall due to widespread disease and injury. In fact it is an Ancient Chinese myth that each stone in the wall stands for a life lost in the wall’s construction. It is recorded that Meng T’ien’s section of the wall took only ten years to build, but it is believed that it actually took a substantially greater amount of time. (Delahoye, H.. Drege The Great Wall)
After Meng T’ien’s original construction the wall was far from completed. Other walls were added to and encompassed within The Great Wall. The last major work on the wall was completed during the Ming Dynasty around 1500 CE. The Great Wall extends around 1500 miles in an east-west direction. It travels through four provinces (Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Gansu) beginning in northern Hebei and ending in the northwest Gansu province. The Great Wall is built of many different materials, from granite blocks to tamped earth. Ranging from 15 to 50 feet high with a base width between 15 and 30 feet, the wall has guard towers spread along the entire length of the wall. Although it is highly debated whether The Great Wall served its intended purpose of keeping the invaders out, it is truly one of the greatest accomplishments of all mankind. (Toy, Sydney. A History of Fortification)
The Great Wall of China was built by stacking mud or clay bricks one by one on top of each other. The brick, was first produced in a sun – dried form at least 6,000 years ago, and is the forerunner of a wide range of clay building products used today. It is the small building unit in the form of a rectangular block, formed
Pearson 8
from clay, shale, or other mixtures and burned {fired} in a kiln, or oven, to produce strength, hardness, and heat resistance. The original concept of ancient brickmakers was that the unit should not be bigger than what one man could easily handle. Today, brick size varies from country to country, and every nation’s brickmaking industry produces a range of sizes that may run well into the hundreds.( Ledoux, Trish. Ancient Civilizations )
The Qin Dynasty was the one that finally was able to unite the split up sections of the walls. For the emperor has grandiose plans for the empire, and he used forced labor to accomplish them. Gangs of Chinese peasants were forced to dig canals, and build roads. The one thing however, the Qin thought to be especially important was to create a better barrier to the north. Earlier rulers had built walls to prevent attacks by nomadic barbarians. First Emperor ordered that those walls to be connected, and complete the entire wall as one. Over the years, some 300,000 peasants toiled (and thousands died) before the work was done. Today the Great Wall of China stands as a monument to Qin?s ambition and to the peasants carried out their emperor?s wishes. (
The peasants at the time viewed Emperor Qin as cruel tyrant who had lost the Mandate of heaven. Nobles were angry because he had destroyed the aristocracy; scholars detested him for burning books; and peasants hated his forced-labor gangs. In 210 B.C. Qin died, and soon after the dynasty itself came to an end. Even so, the rule of the Qin brought lasting changes. The most influential changes was that of the wall, for it still stands today, finished, and a
Pearson 9
constant reminder to all of the once and mighty emperor. (Muyaka, Ho Chin, Huang River)
This wall was used also as a barrier to isolate China, during it?s period of Isolationism before the many spheres of influence where put on China. The Great Wall was to not only give a physical barrier, but it also showed that the Chinese did not really want trade (among other things) with the rest of the world.
In today?s day and age The Great Wall of China is no longer used to fight off armed cavalry, but it is used more commonly now as a tourist attraction. Tourists from all over the world come to see the Great Wall, and take photos. It is widely known throughout China for other reasons as well. The Chinese people have used the Great Wall of China in many of their folklore and legends. It is said that the Great Wall actually has a sleeping dragon inside, and it is customary in China if new land is to be plotted that a holy man check it out first so as not to have the new building disrupt the sleeping dragon. It has also been used for countless poems. One of the legends of the wall is that when a man was working on the wall he became fatigued, and a few of the guards buried him alive into the wall. When the wife of the man did not come back after the construction
was completed she went to the capital to find him. After she had heard what happened the woman went into remorse, and became very depressed. It was then that the wall opened up and revealed to the woman the body of her departed husband. This is an old-wives tale that has been passed down
Pearson 10
throughout the years, but there is some truth to it. For it was said, and evidence has been found, that many people were buried in the wall if the were unable to
work. The Wall has also been approached by a man by the name of David Copperfield who, throughout his tricks walked through the wall. Tourism is also a very big thin in China, although The Great Wall is probably the thing seen most (since it is just about everywhere in china) other things such as the Forbidden City among other things draw tourists to China as well.
The Great Wall of China is a masterpiece in a whole. Even though it did take hundreds upon thousands human lives to build. It is a true symbol of China for what it did stand for, and also what it stands for now. China?s past was full of change, but China?s future will have the wall to look back upon as a constant reminder. The Great Wall of China is indeed a great architectural achievement for man, but what it has done to lives of the Chinese people the magnitude cannot possibly be measured in the wall itself. The Wall of China is a large creation, but it still has many secrets that most are not aware of.
Pearson 11
Work Cited
1. Delahoye, H.. Drege, J.P.. Wilson, Dick. Zewen, Lou. The Great Wall. New York: Warwick Press, 1987
2. Huang, Ray. China a Macro History. New York: M.E. Sharp Publishers, 1988
3. Huges-Stanton, Penelope. An Ancient Chinese Town. New York: Warwick Press, 1986
4. Kalman, Bobbie. China the Land. New York: Crabtree Publishing Company, 1989
5. Kan, Lao Po. The Ancient Chinese. London: Macdonald Educational
Holywell House, 1981
6. Nancarrow, Peter. Early China and the Wall. Minneapolis: Lerner
Publications Company, 1980
7. Overbeck, Cynthia. Thompson, Brenda. The Great Wall Of China.
Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1977
8. Toy, Sydney. A History of Fortification. London: William Heinemann, 1955
9. Karls, Robert. 10,000-li Great Wall. New York, Crabtree Publishing Company, 1958
10. Forbes, Geraldine. Asian Studies. New York, Mifflin Company, 1993
11. China, A Country Study. United States Government, Federal Research Division, 1988; 11-15.
12. Twitchett, Denis and Loewe, Michael. The Cambridge History of China: Volume 1. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England, 1986; 61- 63.
Pearson 12
13. Twitchett, Denis. The Cambridge History of China: Volume 3. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, England, 1979; 56-59.
14. Ledoux, Trish. Ancient Civilizations: Sanfrancisco, Mixx publishers, 1984
15. Muyaka, Ho Chin, Huang River: New York, Penguin Publishers, 1994

close

HAVEN’T FOUND ESSAY YOU WANT?

Get your custom essay sample

FOR ONLY $13.90/PAGE

Nora
Tucker

Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out