Military parade in ancient and modern Chinese: the earliest military parade in China was before the Xia Dynasty

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The grand military parade held in front of the Tian’anmen Square in Beijing to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of new China not only staged a splendid and magnificent scene for the celebration of the Republic, but also injected new impetus into further boosting the national spirit. It was also a review of the achievements of the construction of the armed forces system with Chinese characteristics and a comprehensive display of the latest main combat equipment in active service. It is not only concerned by Chinese people, but also by the whole world. After watching this grand military parade, the author can’t help thinking of some ancient Chinese military parades.

According to scholars’ research, the military parade ceremony appeared in China as early as 4000 years ago before the establishment of the Xia Dynasty. At that time, in order to expand his power to the south of the Yangtze River, Xia Yu, the leader of the Huaxia tribe in northern China, joined forces with the tribal leaders in the south in Tushan in present-day Henan. At that grand meeting, soldiers held various weapons decorated with feathers, accompanied by music, walked in line, singing and dancing to the leaders. This should be the earliest military parade in China.

The name “military parade” was officially called in the Han Dynasty. At the beginning of the establishment of the Western Han Dynasty, national defense was not solid, the border was unstable, and the armed forces were highly valued. Therefore, the military parade was not only held frequently, but also added some fighting content, integrating military competition and military parade. Since then, each dynasty has had regular or irregular military parades similar to the Han Dynasty. It is not only the supreme ruler’s review of the armed forces, but also an important form of showing military strength and national prestige. Xue Cuncheng of the Tang Dynasty said in his poem “watching the southern suburbs return to war”: “the parade is full of martial vibration, and listen to the music Phoenix.” Song Wang Anshi said in his poem “shooting Pavilion”: “because of shooting at the pavilion, Xu Xian still parades.”

Equipment and services have always been important contents of military parade. In the spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, a large number of war horses and chariots were equipped with troops. Since then, there must be war horses and chariots in teams for review. With the Navy, warships were also inspected. Today, the Xuanwu Lake in Nanjing is full of light, but in ancient times, it was a famous water parade ground. Zhou Yu trained and reviewed the Navy here during the Three Kingdoms period. In the fifth and seventh years of the Song Dynasty, Emperor Xiaowu of the Song Dynasty visited the West Bank of Xuanwu Lake twice. In the second year of Qi Yongming, Emperor Wu of Qi paraded in Xuanwu Lake. In the 11th year of Chen Taijian, Emperor Xuan Chen paraded in Xuanwu Lake. In the fourth year of Chen Zhide, empress Chen went to Xuanwu Lake for a military parade. There is a song “Kunming water control war words” that describes the military parade of emperor Xiaowu of Song Dynasty: “Wang Wang water lights up in the air \ overlapping fine lines converge red \ Red Emperor Dragon sun fresh armor anger \ temporary flow a sigh of Yin wind \ alligator drum three times to report to the son of heaven \ eagle flag beast ship Lingbo rise \ thunder roar waves startle white Ruoshan \ stone whale eyes crack and die.” It vividly describes the spectacular scenes of emperor Xiaowu of song personally commanding in armor, the thunder of war drums on the lake, the Lingbo of warships, and the sound of soldiers killing.

In the early Qing Dynasty, the military parade was larger and there were many officers and soldiers. The eight banners reading array, painted by the court painter Jin Kun and others under orders, not only made a macro record of the grand parade of Qianlong at that time, but also described the details in the form of volumes. The number of people and the scale of the parade are unprecedented in history. In the late Qing Dynasty, after the establishment of the Beiyang army, the military parade became an important form to test the army and show its military prestige. In particular, the “Changde parade” can be described as a major exercise after the establishment of a new army nationwide, which fully demonstrates the achievements of the army reform; It is also the first time that officials and news media from western countries have been invited to watch the military parade. Britain, the United States, Russia, France, Germany, Italy, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Japan and other countries sent military attache to watch. The quality and equipment of the officers and soldiers of the Beiyang new army were published in the British times, the Russian guard, the German camp newspaper, the American monthly, the Japanese current affairs news and the daily news. This military parade should be the first time in history. It is quite funny that Yuan Shikai, who presided over the parade, felt dangerous because of his strong reputation, and decided to restrict the control of military power by Han ministers. Finally, the imperial court announced the official system reform plan, and all military affairs were handled by three Manchu ministers of the Ministry of war.

In modern times, the military parade is widely held in countries all over the world. The Soviet Union will parade on the day of the October Revolution, and the United States, France, Britain, Germany, India and other countries also hold military parades in appropriate celebrations. China held major military parades on the founding day of new China, the 35th anniversary and the 50th anniversary.

There is no doubt that the modern military parade has multiple meanings. It is not only a celebration of the victory of the revolution, but also to awaken the memory of the people, tell people not to forget history, enhance their sense of hardship, carry forward the spirit of patriotism and nationalism, and continue to carry forward the spirit of unity and sacrifice in the face of new military threats and difficulties. At the same time, it is also a comprehensive display of national defense strength and morale of officers and soldiers. Externally, it tells the world that a country with a strong army cannot be invaded by anyone; Internally, it tells the people that with such a powerful army and such advanced weapons and equipment, the sovereign territory of the motherland is safe and stable. More importantly, the overwhelming, indomitable and courageous trend formed during the military parade has made people experience the shock and baptism of their souls, so as to build more confidence, maintain fighting spirit, actively forge ahead, and build their own country and nation stronger and stronger.

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