The Yellow Turbans

The ‘Yellow Turbans’ was a Daoist secret society properly called the T’ai Ping Tao sect. It was founded in 170 AD in the Shangtung area and advocated a utopian society based on the equality of all people and the abolition of the then hierarchy. The ruling Confucianist Han Dynasty rejected them so they made their teachings available to ordinary people. They organised their followers in a military fashion under ‘generals’.

Unrest increased amongst the impoverished peasants and in 184 AD the Yellow Turbans instigated a rebellion against the corrupt rulers. They wore headscarves in a shade of yellow to match the soil. Unfortunately one of their spies was arrested so the rebellion had to be brought forward.

The revolt was suppressed brutally by a united force of landlords. They lost, but it was the catalyst that brought down the Han Dynasty a few years later.