Hung Kurgans! Stop tearing down my shitty warr!"
- – What the Cathayans have to say roughly 12 times every hour or so
Cathay is the uninspired name for the analogue to China in the Warhammer Fantasy universe. That said, it is at least marginally more inspired than their name for the Japan analogue (and only because Nippon is a better known name for Japan than Cathay is for China in Europe).
The country is huge (as in the case with a certain real-world country), much bigger than the Empire and the other western lands. To the north is the
Mongolian steppes regions of chaos, which are held at bay by the huge-ass Great Wall Bastion of China Cathay which prevents the hordes from pillaging. Why the Empire never took this up themselves isn't explained.
To the west is the Mountains of Mourn, the warpstone deserts and the great maw. To the south is a mysterious jungle where the lost city of the old ones is. Eastwards is the sea, with Nippon and the Lost Isles of Elithis.
Of course because such a great place can't be well explored due to GW's anal refusal to be cool, a more detailed look at Cathay is currently unavailable.
The great tragedy...
Games Workshop could probably make some moolah in a way that would not involve fucking over existing canon or jacking up prices by introducing a Cathay army. Even some Dogs of War mercenaries that were Cathayan who ended up in the Europe analogue could be nice. Plenty of cool Chinese warrior types to build on.
But they don't.
And that's terrible.
They don't do this awesome thing for three reasons: Games Workshop gives little attention to Fantasy when the Space Marines haven't had their yearly codex update; when they do do fantasy they are too busy doing Orcs/Empire/Undead/Chaos again; and they are too much the short sighted fools to invest time, money and resources in making something new when they can just increase existing prices again.
Now why would Cathay be a fabulous idea to have as an army
This would be a good idea because the Cathayans, according to the WoC entry in the BRB at any rate, have steam punk clockwork terracotta automaton warriors (again, ripped straight from real world China). Who doesn't want to have something like THAT in their army. Just as The Empire and Kislev have to deal with Chaotic Norsemen attacking, Cathay constantly has to deal with incursions from the Hung, nomadic Chaos worship steppe people who are rather well endowed. Furthermore they have Warrior Monkeys and Repeating Crossbows which again ripped straight out of Chinese mythology and real-life, and yet for some reason have no Flamethrowers...
They also have giant stone guardian dogs and huge dragons and a distinct subspecies of intelligent one-horned ogre and mighty kung-fu warriors and, and....oh the list goes on!
Your state religion is what now? And who rules you?
The worship of Tzeentch (they call him Chi-An, which, incidentally, the Kurgan and Hung name for him) is an officially recognized religion there. And they let Hung Chaos Marauders sell their shit in Weijin. Which is odd because the Hung are normally so duplicitous that even the Norse and Kurgan don't want to deal with them very often.
They also have a Dragon for an Emperor (who usually takes a human form). (The Mummy 3's Dragon Emperor? Scheming, sorcerous, transforms into a dragon... ) And are mainly based on Ming to Qing era China.
According to the eight ed BRB, the Kurgans once mounted a massive raid on Cathay's Great Bastion. Which is funny, because Kurgans are basically Chaos-Turko Slavs to the Norscan's Chaos Vikings. In the end times, they are invaded by chaos and skaven. Remarkably, the dragon emperor drives out the skaven and stalemates the forces of chaos, but ultimately loses to Grimgor's massive WAAAGH! The ruins of cathay become the stage for an endless battle between the orcs and the remaining forces of chaos
Dammit, Forge World
Tamurkhan: Throne of Chaos, a book from Forge World's fantasy line, quite surprisingly contains a battle scene where the forces of Cathay are involved. A chaos sorcerer dupes a Beastman army into attacking the Tower of Ashshair, a Cathayan watchtower outpost at the edge of the Ogre Kingdoms which it uses to scry on the Old World. Its defenders included fancy bronze cannon that shoot harpoons, "crow-men", stone "temple dogs", elite warriors with back-banners and "thousand-folded" swords, and "Dragon-blooded Shugengan" who wield elemental magics. In other words, your usual collection of oriental cliches, mostly Japanese. And sadly, it's likely the closest thing we'll get to an official Cathay army list.
But then, things get interesting when the Tower's garrison started to get overwhelmed by the Beastmen's numbers. The Tower turns the tide by dropping a frikking' Comet of Casandora into the horde, then starts sending "strange creatures of living stone" that can swim through the ground and minotaur-suplexing "living statues of onyx" to beat the shit out of the survivors. So at least we know that Cathay isn't to be messed with in the Warhammer world.
|Regions and Areas of the Warhammer World|
|Areas of The Old World:||The Empire of Man - Bretonnia - Albion - Estalia - Tilea - Kislev - Norsca - Border Princes - Worlds Edge Mountains|
|Areas of The New World:||Naggaroth - Lustria|
|Areas of The Eastern Lands:||Cathay - Nippon - Ogre Kingdoms - Dark Lands - Kingdoms of Ind - Khuresh - Eastern Steppes|
|Areas of The Southlands:||Nehekhara - Araby - Badlands - Mashes of Madness|
|Other Areas of the world:||Ulthuan - Chaos Wastes - Skavenblight - Lost Isles of Elithis|
|Main bodies of Water:||The Great Ocean - The Far Sea - The Sea of Dread - Inner Sea of Ulthuan|