Yellow Turbans


Yellow Turbans
Chinese secret society founded during a time of pestilence (2nd century AD).

The rebels' yellow headdresses signified their association with the earth element, which they believed would succeed the (red) fire element that represented Han rule. The sect was Daoist in inspiration, like the contemporaneous Five Pecks of Rice sect. Its rebellion (AD 184–с 204) against the tyrannical eunuchs who influenced the emperor contributed to the fall of the Han dynasty. See also Daoism.

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▪ Chinese religious sect
      Chinese secret society whose members' uprising, the Yellow Turban Rebellion (184–c. 204 CE), contributed to the fall of the Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE). Led by Zhang Jue, a Daoist faith healer who had gained numerous adherents during a widespread pestilence, the rebellion was directed against the tyrannical eunuchs who dominated the emperor. The rebels wore yellow headdresses to signify their association with the “earth” element, which they believed would succeed the red “fire” element that represented Han rule. To suppress the uprising, which erupted in eastern and central China, the Han conscripted huge armies at great cost, but their efforts were hampered by inefficiency and corruption in the imperial government. Zhang Jue became ill and died in 184 CE, but the rebellion was a continuing menace to the government for two more decades.

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Universalium. 2010.

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