Game of Cuju (football)
Painted by Huang Shen (1687-1768) more...
Football, or to be more exact, soccer, was first played in China in
the Han Dynasty (206 bc - ad 220). Then, as now, the actual ball was
made of leather, but inflated with hair and other soft fillings rathat than
That the so-called beautiful game has such a long history in China may come as a surprise.
The astonishing gact of the mattter is that it was played by both men and women.
This was attested by Han Dynasty historical records and images on bricks. The sports's
emphasis at that time was on individual rather than team skills.