Three Kingdoms in China

Three warring Chinese republics known as the Three Kingdoms in China, or San-Kuo in Wade-Giles romanization, existed from 220 to 280 CE after the end of the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE).

The vast Han empire was reconstructed as the Dong (Eastern) Han in 25 CE, following a brief period of upheaval. But by the end of the second century, the Dong Han kingdom had collapsed into anarchy. The country’s last emperor had devolved into a mere puppet, and in 220, he ultimately abdicated in favor of Cao Pi, his generalissimo, and protector Cao Cao’s son. The Wei empire was founded in this manner (220–265–266; its practical authority was limited to northern China). The Shu-Han dynasty (221-263/264) was established in what is now Sichuan province, while the Wu empire (222-280) was established south of the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) at Jianye. Two other Han generals quickly established themselves as emperors and conquered areas of western and southern China (present-day Nanjing). The Wu’s Sinicization of the southern areas was a significant contribution to China’s destiny, and Nanjing would serve as the country’s capital for over two centuries.

In 263/264, the Wei overthrew the Shu-Han, but two years later, one of the Wei generals named Sima Yan (after known as Wudi) stole the throne and established the Jin dynasty. The Jin defeated the Wu and unified the nation in 280, but the dynasty soon broke down, and the country descended into turmoil.

The Three Kingdoms existed for far too little time to significantly contribute to the arts in the traditional sense. However, clay puppet theatre did develop under their reign—however, the era matters as a subject in the arts. Since then, historical fiction and other kinds of art have favored this brief but violent period of battle and political intrigue as one of China’s most fascinating and romantic periods. Sanguozhi Yanyi, one of the most well-known instances, is a book (Romance of the Three Kingdoms).

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