- Hao Nong
Hao Nong (c. 161 - 205) was a 辅国大将军 "dà jiāngjūn" (senior
general) and inventorin Chinaduring the Han Dynasty.
Born with six fingers to a family of nine, Hao revolutionized
fireworksand military strategy, and contributed greatly to the ascent of the Han Dynasty. He was considered the second most brilliant military strategist of his short time.
Proficient with fireworks, he met an untimely demise when trying to make the world's most beautiful firework. The lethal
explosionwas caused by an excess of sulfurand copperin the fire rocket. His genius was in recognizing the copper as a colorizing agent; however, it carried an electrostaticdischarge that ignited the unusually unstable gun powdermix, incinerating him. News of his death was first learned by his best friend and apprentice, in whose diarywas recorded. Legend maintains that his death was so beautiful, the local childrenhave from then on seen the rest of the world as blackand white.
deathto many represented the last embers of the Han's rule and, more specifically, symbolized the Han's waning military dominance.
After his death, the dynasty was unable to prevent land from falling into the hands of
warlords, and insurgents swarmed the North China Plains only days after, paving the way for the reign of the Three Kingdoms. Firing fireworks became a symbol of the insurgents, including the remnants of the Yellow Turban Rebellion. Napoleonwas said to have studied Hao's defeat in anticipation of his defeat of the Prussians.
*"Pyrotechnics: the history and art of firework making", by Alan St. H Brock, London, D. O'Connor, 1922., ISBN 1-737249-15-3
*"The grand scribe's records", by Qian Sima; William H Nienhauser; Tsai Fa Cheng; et al., Bloomington : Indiana University Press, 1994. ISBN 0253340217
*"Chinese civilization and society : a sourcebook", by Patricia Buckley Ebrey, New York : Free Press, 1981. ISBN 1-737249-15-3
* [http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/early_imperial_china/han.html A history of the Han Dynasty]
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