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Shang Zhou


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Shang Zhou

  1. 1. The Shang and the Zhou Dynasties
  2. 2. According to ancient Chinese records, the Shang dynasty formed around 1766 BC, although many archaeologists believe it actually began somewhat later than that. The Shang Dynasty <ul><li>China ruled by strong monarchy </li></ul><ul><li>At capital city, Anyang, kings surrounded by court </li></ul><ul><li>Rituals performed to strengthen kingdom, keep safe </li></ul>Government and Society <ul><li>King’s governors ruled distant parts of kingdom </li></ul><ul><li>King also had large army at disposal </li></ul><ul><li>Prevented rebellions, fought outside opponents </li></ul>Order <ul><li>Shang China largely agricultural </li></ul><ul><li>Most tended crops in fields </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers called on to fight in army, work on building projects—tombs, palaces, walls </li></ul>Agricultural Society
  3. 3. <ul><li>Leisure </li></ul><ul><li>Ruling elite had free time to pursue leisure activities, hunting for sport </li></ul><ul><li>Wealthy enjoyed collecting expensive bronze, jade objects </li></ul><ul><li>Afterlife </li></ul><ul><li>Tombs held remains of sacrificed prisoners of war </li></ul><ul><li>Believed in afterlife where ruler would need riches, servants </li></ul><ul><li>Artifacts </li></ul><ul><li>Much of what is known comes from studying royal tombs </li></ul><ul><li>Contained valuable items made of bronze, jade </li></ul><ul><li>Ancestor Worship </li></ul><ul><li>Shang offered gifts to deceased ancestors to keep them happy in afterlife </li></ul><ul><li>Steam from ritual meals nourished ancestors’ spirits </li></ul>Shang Elite
  4. 4. <ul><li>As part of worship, Shang asked ancestors for advice </li></ul><ul><li>Sought advice through use of oracle bones </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Inscribed bits of animal bone, turtle shell </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Living person asked question of ancestor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hot piece of metal applied to oracle bone resulting in cracks on bone’s surface </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Specially trained priests interpreted meaning of cracks to learn answer </li></ul></ul>Oracle Bones
  5. 5. <ul><li>Writing </li></ul><ul><li>Development of Chinese writing closely tied to use of oracle bones </li></ul><ul><li>Earliest examples of Chinese writing, questions written on bones themselves </li></ul><ul><li>Early Shang texts used picture symbols to represent objects, ideas </li></ul><ul><li>End of Dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>Shang ruled for more than 600 years, until about 1100 BC </li></ul><ul><li>Ruling China’s growing population proved too much for Shang </li></ul><ul><li>Armies from nearby tribe, Zhou, invaded, established new ruling dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>Bronze </li></ul><ul><li>Shang religion led to great advances in working with bronze </li></ul><ul><li>Highly decorative bronze vessels, objects created for religious rituals </li></ul><ul><li>Also built huge structures like tombs; created calendar, first money systems </li></ul>Shang Achievements and Decline
  6. 6. In that case, they said, it was the will of the gods that that dynasty be overthrown and a new one take power. Beginning around 1100 BC, the Zhou rules China for several centuries. The Zhou dynasty is divided into two periods. During the Western Zhou, kings ruled from Xian in a peaceful period. Later conflict arose, kings moved east to Luoyang, beginning the Eastern Zhou period. The Zhou Dynasty <ul><li>When Zhou conquered Shang, leaders worried Chinese people would not accept them </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced idea they ruled by Mandate of Heaven </li></ul><ul><li>Gods would support just ruler, not allow anyone corrupt to hold power </li></ul>Government <ul><li>Zhou said Shang overthrown because they lost gods’ favor </li></ul><ul><li>Later rulers used Mandate of Heaven to explain dynastic cycle , rise and fall of dynasties in China </li></ul><ul><li>If dynasty lost power, it obviously had become corrupt </li></ul>Dynastic Cycle
  7. 7. <ul><li>Before Zhou, Chinese metalwork done almost exclusively in bronze </li></ul><ul><li>Zhou learned to use iron, became backbone of economy </li></ul><ul><li>Iron was strong, could be cast more cheaply, quickly than bronze </li></ul><ul><li>Iron weapons strengthened Zhou army, as did new weapons like catapult and creation of China’s first cavalry </li></ul>Zhou Achievements <ul><li>Population grew under Zhou </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers learned new techniques, increased size of harvest, created food surpluses; cities also grew </li></ul><ul><li>Roads, canals allowed better transportation, communication </li></ul><ul><li>Introduced coins, use of chopsticks </li></ul>Growth <ul><li>Conflict arose during latter part of Zhou dynasty </li></ul><ul><li>Clan leaders within China rose up against king </li></ul><ul><li>As time passed, more and more local leaders turned against Zhou, further weakening rule </li></ul>Decline of the Zhou