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Culture Insider: How did ancient people stay warm in winter?

By Bi Nan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2016-12-02 07:00

Although it is chilly outside in winter, we have heating systems to keep us warm indoors in most parts of North China, and in South China, they at least have air conditioners or electric radiators. But how did ancient people in China keep warm without these modern appliances?

Culture Insider: How did ancient people stay warm in winter?

The ruins of Weiyang Palace in Western Han Dynasty. [Photo/IC]

Temperature adjustable room daubed with pepper mash

During the Qin (221-206 BC) and Han (206 BC-220) dynasties, temperature adjustable rooms emerged in royal families. Royal court had larger and more advanced rooms, called the "temperature adjustable hall". Imperial palaces such as Changle Palace and Weiyang Palace in Western Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 24) had temperature adjustable halls. Changle Palace was originally used as the government's "office building" and "president suite" for Liu Bang (the first emperor of the Han Dynasty), and then was used as the residence of empress dowagers. Changle Palace not only had heating rooms for winter, but also rooms for cooling down in summer.

These halls were also a good place to store books as a comfortable temperature could help preserve books and provide a better environment for reading.

It is said that the "temperature adjustable hall" was built with pepper mash daubed on the wall, embroidery tapestries hung on the wall and a thick blanket paved on the ground. Windshield screens and wild goose feather-made curtains were also used to keep cool air outside.

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