The Han dynasty (206 B.C.–220 A.D.) establishes China’s lasting model of imperial order and imposes a new national consciousness that survives today among the Chinese, who still refer to themselves as the “Han people.” Luoyang, the second Han capital, is not only one of the largest cities in the ancient world but also an international marketplace along the well-traveled trade routes that link East Asia and the West. Political turmoil follows the decline of the Han dynasty as numerous rulers vie for control of China’s vast territory. Under pressure from northern tribes, the Han regimes are forced south, and for 300 years China is divided between northern and southern dynasties. Buddhism takes hold, and Buddhist imagery enters the artistic vocabulary. Calligraphy and painting flourish in the south. The period—and the world—is enriched by the development of paper, which is widely used in China by the third century A.D.