How did the ancients keep warm in winter?

Today, with advanced technology, when the cold winter comes, we have heating fans, floor heating, air conditioners, and all kinds of hand warmers and other heating artifacts. So how did the ancients keep warm?

Portable heating small objects
With the maturity of charcoal burning technology, the ancients invented a variety of heating artifacts. As early as the Spring and Autumn Period, people put a singe stove specializing in charcoal indoors for heating. At that time, most of the burning stoves used by princes and nobles were made of bronze. The copper burning stoves had good heat dissipation, and the surroundings were carved with patterns, which were very beautiful. The burning stoves of common people are mostly made of iron and pottery, and the craftsmanship is relatively simple.

There are also braziers and smokers that are similar to the burning stove. The brazier is mostly pottery, which is used by civilian households; and the smoker is also called “heating stove” or “oven”. It is mostly copper ware. In addition to heating, it can also place spices, which is used by dignitaries or literati. Bai Juyi also specially gave the smoker a very elegant name-Biechunlu, and wrote a poem for it: Nuange enters in the early spring, and the warm stove is slightly faint. The evening breeze is still cold, and the night fire stays for a while. Stay alone for a long time, don’t be difficult if you are passionate. Who can share Tianyu? Long field forty cold.

There are also hand-warming hand stoves and foot-warming foot stoves. Hand stoves are also called holding stoves and sleeve stoves. They are mostly made of copper, with charcoal or hot stove ash inside, and a cover on the outer bread. You can hold it in your hands or put it in your sleeves. It can be regarded as a “hand warmer” of the ancients. The foot stove is slightly larger than the hand stove, also known as foot po or soup. It is a flat bottle made of tin or copper, and it can be used when it is filled with hot water.

However, it is difficult for these small objects to maintain a suitable temperature in the room, so in order to keep the room warm in the harsh winter, the ancients still had a lot of “big ideas” in heating methods.

Ancient large heating equipment
As early as the Qin Dynasty, people began to build fire walls to keep warm. The ancient palace architects built the walls of the palace into a hollow mezzanine wall, and dug a fire channel under the wall, and the carbon port for adding fire was set under the eaves of the corridor outside the hall. Burn the fire in the carbon mouth, and the heat can spread to the entire hall along the mezzanine, warming the entire palace. There are vents at the end of the fire path, and the smoke is discharged from these outlets to avoid the tragedy of smoke poisoning in the room. Archaeologists discovered this kind of fire wall in the Xianyang Palace site of the Qin Dynasty. The design is very delicate. Is it very similar to geothermal in modern northern regions?

The ancients discovered the special function of prickly ash for heating. During the winter, the emperor’s greenhouse built in the Han Dynasty was painted with pepper and mud on the walls, and the walls were covered with beautiful flowers, mainly osmanthus, with mica screens, Hongyu tents, and Western blankets on the ground. The typical representative of this kind of prickly ash and mud-coated walls is Jiaofangdian. Jiaofangdian was the residence of the empress of the Han Dynasty and once became another name for the empress. “Han Gong Yi” says that “the queen is called the pepper room, and the room is coated with pepper, and the master warms and eliminates evil spirits.” This is a true record of the pepper greenhouse in the Han Dynasty.

The oldest heating method used by the ancients in winter is the fire pit, which is a stove kang that combines cooking and heating and is located near the door. This kind of heating facility has appeared in Banpo and Jiangzhai ruins. It was extremely common in Song Dynasty and even spread to the Jurchen tribe. “Song Wenjian” records that the Northern Jurchen “the ring house is a bed of earth, underneath the fire, while eating and living on the top, it is called the Kang, to keep it warm”. This is probably the embryonic form of the fire kang in the vast rural areas of our country.

The higher level than the fire kang is the ground kang. The ground kang is a kind of pit excavated under the corridor. The stove is built in the pit. The fireworks circulate through the tunnel under the indoor ground to increase the indoor temperature and avoid smoke poisoning. This design is the same as today’s floor heating. Under the main hall of the Palace of the Qing Dynasty in Beijing, there is such a pit for heating.

The ancient ways of heating can be described as strange and strange, which fully reflects the wisdom of the ancestors, and we are still deeply impressed by today.