If we look carefully at Tan Qixian's "Atlas of Chinese History", we find a strange phenomenon: from Eastern Han Dynasty to Eastern Jin Dynasty, border line of southwestern China never changed, and it crossed into Burma and reached territory of modern India. This boundary line is not a curve, but an arc. Generally speaking, straight lines and arcs on Tang map are baseless lines, that is, drawn according to one's own mood. Why did Tan Qixiang draw this border line, which has not changed for 400 years? What's wrong with this line?
In fact, this line existed as early as Western Han Dynasty, but it was not drawn into territory of Han Dynasty at that time, but was marked by Ailao. Ailao is an ancient tribe in southwestern China, living in Baoshan, Yunnan. Prior to Han Dynasty, Central Plains Dynasty was far from Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau, so there is no record of ethnic distribution in Sanjiang area. It was not until Eastern Han Dynasty that Ailao first appeared in historical records. The Historical Records of Western Han Dynasty only states that a place far to southwest was called Dianyue, and it was "Chengxiang Country", but exact location has not been confirmed.
Tan Qixiang's territory in southwest of Eastern Han Dynasty
In 51 AD, Ailao's chief Xianli Yiyueli, Prefect Zheng Hong, "asked for inland vassals." This was first time that Ailao appeared in literature. Then there was Yang Zhong, who wrote "Biography of Ailao", unfortunately, this important document has long been lost. Luckily, Huayan Guozhi includes some of this, and Book of Late Han Biography of Ailao also contains some myths and legends about Ailao.
The southwestern border of Tang Qixian's map of Eastern Jin Dynasty has not changed compared to Eastern Han Dynasty
According to legend, Ailao was unable to attack Luduo tribe, so he demanded that he belong to Eastern Han Dynasty. At that time, "Ailao" had only "2,770 households and 17,659 households", showing that they were only a small tribe. The area of Ailao, drawn by Tang Qixiang on map of Western Han Dynasty, can reach 300,000 square kilometers, which is obviously impossible.
Ailao Square on Tang Qixiang's map of Western Han Dynasty is too exaggerated
After 51 AD Ailao's power grew rapidly. In AD 69"King Ailao Lumao sent his son to head family and he was named king of a city of seventy-seven people, with a household of 51,890 people and a population of 553,711 eleven people." In 20 years, population of Ailao has grown from 17,000 to 550,000 people, which is just a myth. Why is population growing so fast? The only explanation is that Ailao has undergone a large-scale expansion over past 20 years, incorporating many of surrounding tribes. Ailao at that time was in its heyday.
The literature of Eastern Han Dynasty originally referred to Ailao as "Ailao Country" and later as "Ailao County". After annexation of Ailao, Eastern Han Dynasty created two counties, Ailao and Bonan, in land of Ailao, and separated from six counties a captain in western Yizhou to form Yongchang County. The county seat of Yongchang is located in today's Baoshan District.
The westernmost prefectures and counties of Han Dynasty reached area east of Nujiang River
Looking at administrative division map of Han Dynasty, we found that all these counties were distributed in east of Nujiang River, and there was no county in west of Nujiang River. Therefore, it is unlikely that rule of Eastern Han Dynasty in southwestern region will cross Nu River. Even if Nu River can be crossed from time to time, it is impossible to cross Myanmar to west and reach northeastern part of India.
In this regard, Taiwanese version of Map of Chinese History is much more objective. The map shows that farthest Han dynasty in southwest reached vicinity of Nu River, and Yongchang County was an isolated corner protruding into western part of Hunan Province. The General History of Administrative Division of China, Volumes of Qin and Han suggests that farthest counties of Eastern Han Dynasty in southwest reached east bank of Nujiang River and could not enter west of Nujiang River.
Southwestern part of Taiwanese version of Eastern Han Dynasty map
Gu Jiegang's territory in southwest of Eastern Han Dynasty
According to historical records, Eastern Han Dynasty briefly ruled Ailao. In 76 AD, King Ailao rebelled against Han and led people of Ailao to attack Yongchang County. In second year, Eastern Han Dynasty sent troops to put down rebellion, and people of Ailao were defeated, so people of Ailao crossed Nu River to west and established "Shan Kingdom" in area west of Nu River. The capital was Daguan, located on Irrawaddy River. Thus, people of Ailao broke free from control of Han Dynasty after seven years of tutelage and rebuilt country. Therefore, border line in southwest of Han Dynasty should never have broken through line of Nu River.
From Han Dynasty to Eastern Jin Dynasty, Central Dynasty's control of southwestern region was a process of constant weakening until powerful kingdom of Nanzhao emerged under Tang Dynasty. Therefore, from Han Dynasty to Eastern Jin Dynasty, its southwestern border must be in a state of contraction. However, territory of Tan Qixiang is very surprising, because its borders have not changed in any way. Regarding organizational system, Tan Qixiang also failed to mention any institutions, counties, or even tribes in area west of Nujiang River.
The descendants of Ailao people became kingdom of Nanzhao during Tang Dynasty. The New Book of Tang · Nanman 1 states: "Nanzhao... After Ailao Yi, Wuman is a different species." Shan State. During Yuan Dynasty, many chiefs were marked on map of Shang state. The current Shan state is still widespread in northern Myanmar.
Pants in northern Myanmar
The "arc" that Tang Qixiang casually drew in southwest of Han Dynasty also became another irrefutable proof of Tang Qixiang's "map opening". Some scholars have figured out that Tan Qixiang's territory has made great contributions to internal administrative division, but method of drawing border is a mess. However, this way of drawing not only does not contribute to study of truth of history, but also easily misleads beginners, which should be criticized.