The emergence of competitive sports in ancient China is closely related to military activities. With the evolution and development of society, many sporting events have been introduced to and accepted by, the people and later carried forward from generation to generation. In the Han Dynasty, thanks to the strong national strength and booming economy, competitive sports witnessed rapid development. People at that time, from imperial officials to common people, were all keen on various competitive sports and such sports were also very popular among the folk. Along with this, there emerged multiple monographs on sports. Portrait bricks are the remnants of the lavish burial rituals of the Han Dynasty. As the economy grew and social wealth amassed, the lavish burial custom prevailing since the Spring and Autumn Period reached its peak in the Han Dynasty, especially in the Eastern Han Dynasty. People would bury in tombs along with various articles they used before they died. They would also paint the life of the tomb owner on bricks to decorate the tomb by embedding them in the tomb chamber. The images on the portrait bricks unearthed from the tombs of the Han Dynasty are the most intuitive and convincing physical evidence to reflect the development of competitive sports at that time. We conduct a preliminary study on competitive sports in the Han Dynasty by using the portrait bricks of the Han Dynasty unearthed in Sichuan province and the Yellow River basin as examples, aiming to do our bit to build a sporting powerhouse and a healthy China.





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