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Zun, a kind of wine vessel, was found to exist in Beiyinyangying culture of Nanjing in about 5000 years ago.In the late period of Shang dynasty, Taibo of Zhou came to Jiangnan and established Wu state, and the first stop is in Nanjing area according to some historians based on discoveries in Taowu and Hushu culture.As the center of the empire, early-Ming Nanjing had worldwide connections.It was home of the admiral Zheng He, who went to sail the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and it was visited by foreign dignitaries, such as a king from Borneo (Boni 渤泥), who died during his visit to China in 1408. It has also been awarded the title of 2008 Habitat Scroll of Honor of China, Special UN Habitat Scroll of Honor Award and National Civilized City.
Besides the city wall, other famous Ming-era structures in the city included the famous Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum and Porcelain Tower, although the latter was destroyed by the Taipings in the 19th century either in order to prevent a hostile faction from using it to observe and shell the city A monument to the huge human cost of some of the gigantic construction projects of the early Ming dynasty is the Yangshan Quarry (located some 15–20 km (9–12 mi) east of the walled city and Ming Xiaoling mausoleum), where a gigantic stele, cut on the orders of the Yongle Emperor, lies abandoned, just as it was left 600 years ago when it was understood it was impossible to move or complete it.
Shortly after the unification of the region, the Western Jin dynasty collapsed.
First the rebellions by eight Jin princes for the throne and later rebellions and invasion from Xiongnu and other nomadic peoples that destroyed the rule of the Jin dynasty in the north.
During the period of North–South division, Nanjing remained the capital of the Southern dynasties for more than two and a half centuries.
During this time, Nanjing was the international hub of East Asia.