Born into War
A life of conquest forged the man who would become Qin Shihuangdi
The man who first ruled over a unified China was born in 259 BC, during the Warring States period, into the royal family of the Qin state, which would rise to become one of the dominant powers in the region.
Little is known about King Zheng of Qin, the man who eventually became known as Qin Shihuangdi, China's First Emperor. He ascended to the Qin throne at age 13, amid the chaos and conflict of the Warring States period (475-221 BC). Seven major states fought for regional dominance, resulting in centuries of bloody conflict.
Lacquered leather armor, similar to the ceremonial stone version seen above, would have been a constant part of the First Emperor’s life throughout this time of ceaseless warfare.
Before age 40, Qin Shihuangdi conquered the last of his rivals and brought the Warring States period to an end. He began to commission his own enormous defensive walls and worked to unite the peoples of his empire for the first time through a common writing system, standardized currency, and a unified system of measurements. These shared cultural bonds, forged by his empire, helped hold the country we now know as China together for more than 2,000 years.
The Warring States Period was a time when warfare in China increased and peasants were drafted into the armies. Armies started to have tens of thousands of conscripts... and states constructed defensive walls as well.MacArthur Curator of Anthropology