Chang’an: City in the Wei Valley in eastern China. It became the capital of the Qin and early Han Empires. Its main featres were imitated in the cities and towns that sprang up throughout the Han Empire. Mahayana Buddhism: “Great Vehicle” branch of Buddhism ollowed in China,Japan, and Central Asia. The focus is on reverence for Buddha and for bodhisattvas, enlightened persons who have postponed nirvana to help others attain enlightenment. Kamakura Shogunate: The first of Japan’s decentralized military governments. Gunpowder: A mixture of saltpeper, sulfer, and charcoal, in various porportions. The formula, brought to China in the various proportions. The formula, brought to China in the 400s or 500s, was first used to make fumigators to keep away inscects, pests, and evil spirits. In later centuries it was used make explosives and grenades and to propel cannonballs,shot, and bullets. Neo-Confucianism: Term used to describe new approaches to understanding classic Confucian texts that became that became the basic ruling philosphy of China from the Song period to the 20th century. Examination system:
Movable type: Type in which each individual character is cast on a separate piece of metal. It replaced woodblock printing, allowing for the arrangement of individual letters and other characters on a page, rather than requiring the carving of entire pages at a time.
Grand Canal: 1,100 mile waterway linking the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers. It was begun in the Han period and completed during the Sui Empire. Bubonic Plague: A disease of fleas that can be transmitted by flea bites to rodents and humans ; humans in late stages of illness can spread the bacteria by coughing. Junk: A very large flatbottom sailing ship produced in the Tang, Ming, and Song Empires, specially designed for long-distance commercial travel. Zen: The Japanese word for a branch of Mahayana Buddhism based on highly disciplined meditation. It is known in...