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The four-century-long Han rule is divided into two periods the Earlier or Western Han and the Later or Eastern Han In between these two was the short-lived Hsin Dynasty AD 9-23 The Chinese show their pride in Han accomplishments by calling themselves the Han people Philosophies and institutions that began in the Chou and Chin periods reached maturity under the Han During Han times the Chinese distinguished themselves in making scientific discoveries many of which were not known to Westerners until centuries later The Chinese were most advanced in astronomy They invented sundials and water clocks divided the day equally into ten and then into 12 periods devised the lunar calendar that continued to be used until 1912 and recorded sunspots regularly In mathematics the Chinese were the first to use the place value system whereby the value of a component of a number is indicated by its placement Other innovations were of a more practical nature wheelbarrows locks to control water levels in streams and canals and compasses The Han Chinese were especially distinguished in the field of art The famous sculpture of the Han flying horse and the carving of the jade burial suit found in Han period tombs are only two superb examples The technique of making lacquer ware was also highly developed The Chinese are proudest of the tradition of historical writing that began in the Han period Ssu-ma Chien 145-85 BC was grand historian an office that combined the duties of court recorder and astronomer during the time of Wu Ti His Historical Records which took ten years to complete established the pattern and style followed by subsequent histories In the Later Han the historical tradition was continued by the Pan family Pan Piao the father started to bring Ssu-ma Chiens Records up to date The work was continued by his son Pan Ku twin brother of the general Pan Chao and was completed by his daughter Pan Chao Chinas
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