chapter  9
The rise and fall of the Qin dynasty
Pages 18

At the beginning of the Warring States Period the state of Qin occupied a large territory in the northwest of the East Asian Heartland, “within the passes” where the southward-fl owing Yellow River approaches the Qinling Mountains and makes a sharp bend to fl ow eastwards through the Yellow River Plain. The state’s territory included a portion of the Loess Highlands as well as the fertile plain of the Wei River Valley, the old homeland of the Zhou ruling house before and during the Western Zhou Period. Qin’s population included substantial numbers of Rong, Qiang, and other non-Sinitic tribal peoples, and the state was regarded as “semi-barbarian” by the old Central States of the Zhou political system. But the Qin rulers adapted themselves to Zhou norms of ancestor worship, cosmology, and ritual, and sought to take Zhou’s place in the multi-state world. During the Spring and Autumn Period they focused on diplomatic eff orts, but during the Warring States Period they won through military might.