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A form of weightlifting that was a popular demonstration of strength (lifting a tripod) in ancient China. Its popularity was established in the Spring and Autumn Period (770–476bc) and the Warring States Period (475–221bc). During the Western Han dynasty, during periods of economic development and in a relatively stable political situation, kangding became a source of status and social mobility, when an official at court was appointed to run competitions, and victors were given honorary titles and sometimes positions of high office. Professional weightlifters thrived in the period, excelling in feats of strength with objects other than tripods, including large wheels and heavy stones (Michael Speak, ‘Recreation and Sport in Ancient China: Primitive Society to ad 960’, in J. Riordan and R. Jones, eds, Sport and Physical Education in China, 1999).

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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