Early China

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A look at early Chinese civilization with an emphasis on the family/social unit.

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Early China

  1. 1. EARLY SOCIETY IN EAST ASIA
  2. 2. Political organization in early China <ul><li>Early agricultural society and the Xia dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>The Yellow River </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Water source at high plateau of Tibet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loess soil carried by the river's water, hence &quot;yellow&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;China's Sorrow&quot;--extensive flooding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Loess provided rich soil, soft and easy to work </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Political organization in early China <ul><li>Neolithic societies after 5000 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Yangshao society, 5000-3000 B.C.E. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Excavations at Banpo village: fine pottery, bone tools </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The Xia dynasty </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Archeological discovery of the Xia is still in its early stages </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Established about 2200 B.C.E. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legendary King Yu, the dynasty founder, a hero of flood control </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Erlitou: possibly the capital city of the Xia </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. The Shang dynasty: 1766-1122 B.C.E. <ul><li>Arose in the southern and eastern areas of the Xia realm </li></ul><ul><li>Many written records and material remains discovered </li></ul><ul><li>Bronze metallurgy, monopolized by ruling elite </li></ul><ul><li>Horses and chariots traveled with Indo-European migrants to China </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural surpluses supported large troops </li></ul><ul><li>A vast network of walled towns </li></ul><ul><li>The Shang capital moved six times </li></ul><ul><li>Lavish tombs of Shang kings with thousands of objects </li></ul><ul><li>Other states besides Shang, for example, Sanxingdui </li></ul>
  5. 6. The Zhou dynasty: 1122-256 B.C.E. <ul><li>Zhou gradually eclipsed Shang </li></ul><ul><li>Mandate of heaven, the right to rule </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Zhou needed to justify the overthrow </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ruler as &quot;the son of heaven&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Mandate of heaven only given to virtuous rulers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Political organization: decentralized administration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Used princes and relatives to rule regions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consequence: weak central government and rise of regional powers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Iron metallurgy spread through China in first millennium B.C.E. </li></ul>
  6. 8. The fall of the Zhou <ul><li>Nomadic invasion sacked Zhou capital in 711 B.C.E. </li></ul><ul><li>Territorial princes became more independent </li></ul><ul><li>The Warring States (403-221 B.C.E.) </li></ul><ul><li>The last king of the Zhou abdicated his position in 256 B.C.E. </li></ul>
  7. 10. Society and family in ancient China <ul><li>The social order </li></ul><ul><li>The ruling elites with their lavish consumption of bronze </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Hereditary aristocrats with extensive landholding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Administrative and military offices </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Manuals of etiquette </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Free artisans and craftsmen mostly worked for elites </li></ul><ul><li>Merchants and trade were important </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Trade networks linked China with west and south </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oar-propelled boats traded with Korea and offshore islands </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Peasants, the majority of population </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Landless peasants provided labor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lived in small subterranean houses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Women's work: wine making, weaving, silkworm raising </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wood, bone, stone tools before iron was spread in the sixth century B.C.E. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Slaves, mostly war prisoners </li></ul>
  8. 11. <ul><li>Family and patriarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Early dynasties ruled through family and kinship groups </li></ul><ul><li>Veneration of ancestors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Belief in ancestors' presence and their continuing influence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burial of material goods with the dead </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offering sacrifices at the graves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family heads presided over rites of honoring ancestors' spirits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Patriarchal society evolved out of matrilineal one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The rise of large states brought focus on men's contribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After the Shang, females devalued </li></ul></ul>
  9. 12. Society and family in ancient China <ul><li>Family and patriarchy </li></ul><ul><li>Early dynasties ruled through family and kinship groups </li></ul><ul><li>Veneration of ancestors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Belief in ancestors' presence and their continuing influence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Burial of material goods with the dead </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Offering sacrifices at the graves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Family heads presided over rites of honoring ancestors' spirits </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Patriarchal society evolved out of matrilineal one </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The rise of large states brought focus on men's contribution </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>After the Shang, females devalued </li></ul></ul>
  10. 13. Early Chinese writing and cultural development <ul><li>The secular cultural tradition </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Absence of organized religion and priestly class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Believed in the impersonal heavenly power-- tian </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Oracle bones used by fortune-tellers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Inscribed question, subjected to heat, read cracks </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Discovery of the &quot;dragon bones&quot; in 1890s </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Early Chinese writing, from pictograph to ideograph </li></ul><ul><ul><li>More than two thousand characters identified on oracle bones </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modern Chinese writing is direct descendant of Shang writing </li></ul></ul>
  11. 14. Thought and literature <ul><li>Zhou literature--many kinds of books </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The Book of Change , a manual of diviners </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Book of History , the history of the Zhou </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Book of Rites , the rules of etiquette and rituals for aristocrats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Book of Songs, a collection of verses--most notable work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Most Zhou writings have perished </li></ul>
  12. 15. Ancient China and the larger world <ul><li>Chinese cultivators and nomadic peoples of central Asia </li></ul><ul><li>Nomadic peoples of the steppe lands--herders </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Exchange of products between nomads and Chinese farmers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nomads frequently invaded rich agricultural society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nomads did not imitate Chinese ways </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nomads relied on grains and manufactured goods of the Chinese </li></ul></ul>
  13. 16. Ancient China and the larger world <ul><li>The southern expansion of Chinese society </li></ul><ul><li>The Yangzi valley; dependable river; two crops of rice per year </li></ul><ul><li>The indigenous peoples of southern China </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Many were assimilated into Chinese agricultural society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some were pushed to hills and mountains </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some migrated to Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand </li></ul></ul>
  14. 17. Ancient China and the larger world <ul><li>The state of Chu in the central region of Yanzi </li></ul><ul><li>Challenged the Zhou for supremacy </li></ul><ul><li>Adopted Chinese political and social traditions and writing </li></ul>

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