Development of Chinese Civilization A Bend in the River/China
Early Chinese Civilizations Shang Era (spanned most of 2nd Millennium BCE) Peking Man (hominid of about 400,000 BCE) Neolithic Times (C. 8500-3500 BCE) cultivating people gravitated to the lands that make up the Ordos bulge, Located on Huanghe River; region of fertile soil; site of Yangshao and Longshan cultures. The region had build up rich loess, a fine grained yellow-brown soil. It was an extremely fertile soil built up over thousands of years over 300 feet in depth
Early Chinese Civilizations The Huanghe (Yellow River) got its name from the color of the soil that washed into the river Ordos bulge: area of rich soil, abundant water( yellow river and tributaries), have important implications Southern portions & portions eastward along Northern China plain were suitable for intensive grain cultivation and dense settlement. 4000 BCE communities supported by agriculture were spread across the loess zone. And developed into 2 cultural complex societies, basis of the Shang Dynasty and Chinese civilization (p.109)
Two Key Chinese Civilizations Yangshao culture (c. 2500-2000 BCE) and Longshan culture (c. 2000-1500) were based on different mixes of hunting and agriculture. Yangshao period – hunting and fishing predominated Longshan period – cultivation of grain - millet in particular was the central preoccupation, Farming enabled them to make it possible to support - ???? Established irrigation systems to expand agrarian base.
Two Key Chinese Civilizations The melting snows of the Tibetan plateau and Kunhun mountains turned the river into a raging torrent capable of massive floods, flood control remained a great problem since ancient times. This concern of controlling floods may have given rise to China's first rules and prompted a high level of community and inter-village cooperation. First semi-mythical figure was SHUN, who had proved incapable of controlling a succession of great floods. His son YU, devised an effective system of flood control, revered for a millennia as one of the great monarchs of China’s mythical golden age. Confucius considered Up person ot be emulated
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era YU first king China’s first kingdom Xia Little evidence of the existence, archaeological ? Mythical? Before 1500 BCE, small numerous kingdoms existed south of the Ordos Bulge & east along the Northern China plane Ordos Bulge areas, distinctive Culture formed Distinctive ethnic and linguistic groups Cooking vessels and cuisine Animal bones from divination Domestication of silkworm (fabric/clothing) Ancestor worship (patrilineal)
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era 1500, Shang Dynasty Conquered mort of the other tribes and est. a kingdom to lay foundation of Chinese civilization Archaeological evidence of Anyang, Zhengzhou Warlike nomads. Fought on horseback/chariots Non-Shang subject peoples were food soldiers Shang battles were much like Greeks and Egyptians Shang Monarch – intermediary between the supreme being, Shangdi, and ordinary mortals Shang rulers directed affairs of state and had ritual responsibilities for the fertility of their kingdom and well being of their subjects. They had special springtime rituals, in times of drought/famine obliged to perform ritual dances The Dance (or surrogate) would be later burned alive to placate the spirits.
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era Shang Society Bureaucracy est. by Monarchs in Anyang/other areas. Peasants/ artisans were governed by vassal retainers; subordinate leaders who served the king and great lords, bound by personal ties. Officials were recruited from the former ruling families and the aristocratic classes of the many subordinate states, who depended on the produce and labor of commoners. In return for grants of control over peasants, warrior aristocrats collected tribute (usually in the form of Agricultural produce), that went to support the monarch and his court.
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era Shang Society Rulers lived with families, servants and noble retainers within walled towns in large compounds that included extended families. Patriarchal Women: lived with husband’s family, unswerving obedience within household and family. Patriarchs of family were Husbands, hierarchy would devolve from elder to younger brother Extended family is considered only among elites. Peasant families appeared similar to NUCLEAR family, but male dominated Peasants were virtually the servants of nobles, who cultivated land in village as cooperative venture using wooden tools Slaves were present, most likely they were artisans, some were free and quite prosperous, engaged in skilled crafts such as weaving, silk, textile, and casting bronze. Dwellings located outside the walls of towns and could be large and elaborate.
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era Shang Culture Elites similar to other cultures. Nobility and elites were preoccupied with rituals, oracles, and sacrifices Records do indicate water festivals War captives & servants were buried with deceased Shang rulers and major officials, (pharaohs of Egypt) Shang elite put great stock into the predictions of Shamans, or priests, who served as Oracles. Shang artistic expression went into producing ritual objects used by oracles, warriors, families negotiating marriage alliances.
Warrior Kings of Xia & Shang Era Shang Culture Rituals of Shaman led to the rise of Writing Writing begins as a interpretive act regarding shells or bones that were seared with a red hot poker. Shell of bone would crack and cracks were interpreted by priest Practice evolved into pained designs, later standardized Number of Characters would increase, by end of Shang period 3000 characters, modern era would master some 8000 characters. Writing became the key to Chinese identity & Growth of civilization in China.
The Decline of Shang & the Era of Zhou By 12century BCE Shang on its way out, Turkic speaking nomadic people est. a new Dynasty, the Zhou Primary Power in North China by end of 12th century, Zhou had a distinct class of scholars and bureaucrats, extending as far south as the Yangtze River Valley More powerful than Shang, Wu Duck of Zhou – brother of Wu, Xian, Loyang
The Decline of Shang & the Era of Zhou Zhou Society More feudalistic than the Shang Rule through a hierarchy of Vassals, mostly relatives, or long standing allies of Zhou household Feudalism stressed through allegiance oath, regular fief granting, transformed Shang order into feudalism Fiefs granted to loyal warriors Limited control of Fiefdoms by Zhou Vassals must be conscious of duties or pay prices Decline/ loss of control.
Changes in Social order Mandate of Heaven: elaborate ideology Rational for Zhou monarchs Wu uses for justification of rule Established idea that supreme political authority was granted by heaven Seeds of absolutist/authoritarian monarchs. Rulers could lose the mandate Second Development Alternative to military retainers who governed most of the empire Professional Bureaucrats, best educated corps of individuals during Zhou (770-400 BCE)
Changes in Social order Second Development Bureaucrats had literacy and willingness to serve as scribes, clerks, advisors, and overseers Paid wages either by the village/royal court Still managed small plots for food, due to small pay Specialized in keeping records, running particular departments, organizing palace rituals and ceremonies. Evidence suggests that by 8th century they would amass powerful influence as advisors to rulers/nobles
Zhou: New Patterns of Life Division of Zhou conquers and subjugated Division between Turkic and Loess soil region Division evident in the twin capitals of Xainand Loyang, Servants lived in one side of the walled city, others lived elsewhere Zhou Vassals lived in walled towns. Towns were laid out on rectangular grid with two main roads and a central square. Servants, artisans, slaves lived in or near the town Most of the population were serfs, who made up most of the empires population
Zhou: New Patterns of Life Division of Zhou conquers and subjugated Introduction of better farming, and extension of irrigation system contributed to higher levels of productivity Peasants burdened by the demands of the lords Migrations and Expansion of Chinese Core Areas controlled by vassals & peoples who occupied them identified as Chinese Population growth due to innovations in agriculture Periodic nomadic raids from north and some conquests pushed Chinese peasants south. During this period, hundreds of thousands of Chinese people moved down the HuangHe into Shandong peninsula. And later to the Great Yangtze river.
End of Zhou End of Zhou era, the basin of the Huanghe was securely Chinese, despite nomadic threats By 8th century BCE Zhou power was in decline, control over vassals diminished, and domains grew enough to take advantage of internal division By 771 BCE Allied group of Northern Nobles attached Xian. The Zhou leader killed. In the battles that followed most of the Western portions of the Zhou kingdom were lost to leaders of the Vassal alliance or nomadic invaders
End of Zhou Retainers managed to rescue a young prince of the Zhou and escort him to Loyang. This is a shift to the Eastern capital and the end of the Western Zhou era A less powerful Zhou Dynast would last for 5 centuries in the East, with ever shrinking territories. Rival kingdoms emerged in the fiefdoms, accompanied by growing chaos A. Bureaucratic reaction, that would produce some of China’s greatest thinkers and alter the course of Chinese civilization
The Philosophical Schools Philosophical Emergence The next three centuries, began thinking deeply about the nature of humanity and problems of society Confucianism Kong Fuzi “Master King” , the sage 551-478 BCE, known as Confucius after the 17th century latinization One of Many teachers in a series who tried to explain the universe, as well as China’s place and appropriate behavior for human beings. The Book of Songs, the Book of Poetry, the Book of Documents, and the Analetics. Confucius was a lower aristocrat of the state of LU, and under Duke of Zhou made into a model for students
The Philosophical Schools Confucianism Confucius’ goal was to improve society, but not to look for the assistance of Gods. Insisted in the Analects that it was important to know “know the essential duties of man living in a society of men.” He became a teacher after a disappointed search for a ruler to use his ideas Nobility he contended, was not transmitted by birth but by acquiring wisdom and virtue Ideal man Junzi: Gentleman, without hereditary connections. Should be virtuous, righteous, humane, wise, and brave
The Philosophical Schools Junzi: (Continued) Social interactions needed to be governed by Li, propriety. Li performed with a sincere heart rendered an individual human Li governed all relationships (between parents, siblings, wife, friend) Final Piety, the respect of a child for his or her parents above all. Improvement of Society was responsibility of the ruler, and quality of government depended upon the ruler’s moral character The Dao of learning 1. The Way: learning to be great consists shining with the illustrious power of moral personality, in make a new people, in abiding in the highest goodness.
The Philosophical Schools The Dao of learning Confucius’ definition of the Dao as “moral personality” and the highest goodness was in contrast to the old premoral Dao, in which Gods and Spirits, through offering ritual, regulated human life for good or ill. View of society was Hierarchical. All relationships are hierarchical except friend (equal) All relationships founded on REN (benevolence, humanity, or human-relatedness, (virtue applied to all without any Hierarchical dimensions Redefinition of Dao produced an ethical program for this world, by this world.
Qin & Han Empires Mencius Scholar responsible for the emergence of Confucianism as accepted in China. Added new dimensions to Confucian though in terms of conceptions of human nature & the right to govern Believed good kings had ruled in the past and urged rulers of his day to practice benevolence as well, by reducing taxes and making punishments less severe. Kings could obtain people’s support Called for a system called “well field” system: called for 8 families to farm fields shaped like the Chinese character for well (tic tac toe design) 1 field in middle farmed by all 8
Qin & Han Empires Mencius If government was not wise and benevolent, government would be corrupt, people hungry, natural disasters etc. Confucian principle of “rectification of names” a person who was not a ruler, should be removed, lost mandate of heaven Concept used by Zhou to justify revolt against Shang Secularized the mandate when he declared “heaven hears as the people hear; Heaven sees as the people see. Thus the welfare for the people was the ultimate standard of judging the virtue of government
Qin & Han Empires Emergence of Legalism Xunzi – took ideas of their teachers, Wise leadership proper rituals, and strict laws would make humans capable of living good lives. Lord Shang minister of the State of Qin, described his work as legalism Eliminated aristocracy Determined subordinates’ military ranks by the # of heads cut off in battle Organized territory to counties Attached farmers to those counties offering them houses, land, and freedom from serfdom, Made people responsible for crimes committed by members of their mutual responsibility groups Codified laws, applying them harshly without consideration for rank
Qin & Han Empires Another Student Han Feizi followed Lord Shang’s traditions Advocated harsh application of laws, unmodified by family concerns Suggests that rulers did not have to be moral leaders who treated their subjects with kindness Parents treat their children differently, ruler cannot be expected to rule subjects with whom he had little familial bond Equal application of the law was the only answer. LI Si, student of Xunzi, contemporary of Han Feizi, Put legal political theory into practice in Qin Empire as its leading minister
Qin & Han Empires LiSi LI Si, student of Xunzi, contemporary of Han Feizi, Put legal political theory into practice in Qin Empire as its leading minister Legalist argued for elaborate system of laws fixed penalties for each offense, The ruler, however was above the law Judges to use their own consciences in estimating the gravity of a crime. Define the crime correctly; punishment was provided automatically by the code of law. These legal doctrines clashed with Confucian prioritization, in the name of human kindness of the family, with the notion that REN was a motivation for the people to support their ruler
Qin & Han Empires Daoism The 3rd school of thought to emerge from Zhou Era 3rd century BCE, Zhuangzi (369-289 BCE) embraced relativism and spiritual freedom and adamantly apolitical Did not welcome rulers’ intervention to improve people’s livelihoods. For Confucians the Dao (the way) was ethical path for rulers’ humanity in a human centered world. Daoists, the Dao (the way) was of nature wit which humans should seek harmony rather than dominance. 2 Daoist texts survive. The Daodejing, or Laozi, attributed to Lao Dai, 6th century contemporary of Confucius. (most likely completed 3 centuries later)
Qin and Han Empires Other Text the Zhuangzi, goes much farther in rejecting politics and engagement with society Daoism was a revolt against society against the intellect’s limitations. Intuition, not reason, was the source of true knowledge, Zhuangzi questioned the reality of the world of senses Han Dynasty Daoism would take on a religious coloration, then they used their beliefs in political movements in the quest for immorality through alchemy and sexual practices. Daoism would frequently complement Confucian rationalism in the search for the true way, in centuries to come, Chinese often attempted to follow Confucian precepts in their social relations, while at the same time maintaining Daoist beliefs.
Summary What similar characteristics did the Xia and Shang Dynasties have to those of Egypt and Mesopotamia? What roles did Confucianism, Daoism, and the Legal schools play in the development of Chinese Empires? Were the Social structures of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties organized differently, what was society like?