309 King

In China, emperors were a bit more common than kings, can you guess how many emperors have ruled China since the first Emperor Qin Shi Huang around 2200 years ago? Jonathan Dugdale is a researcher and historian at the University of Birmingham, who specialises in the Liao dynasty, a northern dynasty who ruled in China around 1000 years ago. He and ShaoLan discuss the Chinese words for king and for emperor, the way that the characters represent a sense of great power and also give the answer to the question above! It seems that a short life expectancy came with the job of being Emperor!

The word for “King” in Chinese is 王, which is also a very common family name in China. The vertical lines of the character are said to represent heaven, humans and the earth, while the vertical line represents the emperor, who joins all three together, quite a symbol of power!

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國王 / 国王
guó wáng
huáng dì
shàng dì
nǚ huáng dì

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