Previous page  
List of subjects |  Sources |  Feedback 

Share |

Discover in a free
daily email today's famous
history and birthdays

Enjoy the Famous Daily

proudly self-sufficient

The Chinese historian Sima Qian, writing at the end of the 2nd century BC, describes the riches of the empire.

'The region west of the mountains is rich in timber, paper mulberry, hemp, oxtails for banner tassels, jade and other precious stones. That east of the mountains abounds in fish, salt, lacquer, silk, singers and beautiful women. The area south of the Yangtze produces camphor wood, catalpa, ginger, cinnamon, gold, tin, lead ore, cinnabar, rhinoceros horns, tortoise shell, pearls of various shapes, and elephant tusks and hides, while that north of Long-men and Chieh-shih is rich in horses, cattle, sheep, felt, furs, tendons and horns. Mountains from which copper and iron can be extracted are found scattered here and there over thousands of miles of the empire. All of them are commodities coveted by the people of China, who according to their various customs use them for their bedding, clothing, food and drink, fashioning from them the goods needed to supply the living and bury the dead.'

Quoted Bamber Gascoigne The Treasures and Dynasties of China, Cape 1973, page 83

Previous page