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ANCIENT CHINA (Pre-History and the First Two Dynasties)

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Presentation on theme: "ANCIENT CHINA (Pre-History and the First Two Dynasties)"— Presentation transcript:

1 ANCIENT CHINA (Pre-History and the First Two Dynasties)

2 Ancient China – Political Geography

3 Ancient China – Physical Geography

4 Natural Resources and Agriculture
North China plane (the Yellow River / North China Plane) = millet and wheat (loess) South China (the Yangzi River Valley) = rice Agriculture = collective labor

5 Pre-Historic China Evidence of Neolithic lifestyle – 10,000-12,000 years ago Yangshao Culture (3,000 BCE) and Longshan Culture (2,000 BCE)

6 Pre-Historic China (Cont.)
The Yangshao People Domesticated dogs and pigs Main crop – millet Elaborate burial and fertility rituals (afterlife) Painted Pottery The Longshan People Cultivated rice and millet Job specialization and social stratification Emphasis on ancestor warship Divination

7 Pre-Historic China (cont.)
The Yangshao pottery The Longshan pottery

8 Xia Dynasty (2183-1752 BCE?) Mythical?  Not enough evidence
Chinese vs. Non-Chinese interpretation Shang Sources (Xia people – opposite)

9 The Shang Dynasty (also known as the Yin Dynasty 1750 BCE – 1045 BCE)

10 The Shang Dynasty (cont.)
Alleged Shang Associations Sun Sky Birds East Life Lord-on-High Alleged Xia Associations Moon Watery Underworld Dragons West Death Lord Below

11 The Shang Dynasty (cont.)
Highly stratified society (by hereditary rank and occupation) KINGS (SCHOLARS? – probably not yet!) ARISTOCRATS (NOBLES) PEASANTS ARTISANS MERCHANTS

12 The Shang Dynasty – Religious Beliefs

13 Religious Beliefs (cont.)
Oracle Bones / Scapulimancy

14 Examples of Inscriptions on Oracle Bones:
Crack-making on jiashen (day 21), Que divined: “Lady Hao’s (a consort of Wu Ding) childbearing will be good.” (Prognostication:) The king read the cracks and said: “If it be on a ding-day that she gives birth, there will be prolonged luck.” (Verification:) (After) thirty-one days, on jiayin (day 51), she gave birth; it was not good; it was a girl.

15 Examples of Inscriptions on Oracle Bones
Crack-making on yiwei (day 32), Gu divined: “Father Yi (the twentieth Shang king, Xiao Yi, the father of Wu Ding) is harming the king.” Divined: “Grandfather Ding (the fifteenth king, father of Xiao Yi) is harming the king.” Divined: “There is a sick tooth; it is not Father Yi (=Xiao Yi, as above) who is harming (it/him).”

16 Ancient Chinese Characters – connections to modern Chinese Characters

17 Religious Beliefs (cont.) - Burial Tombs
Practiced Human and Animal Sacrifice (to appease an “angry ancestral spirit”) Human sacrifice – mostly prisoners of war Buried were the objects useful in the afterlife

18 Religious Beliefs – Burial Tombs (cont.)

19 Shang Dynasty – Perception of the World (Us vs. Them)
Political control through direct confrontation and “tribute” Circles of civilized people Shang towns – square – Zhangguo – The Central Country (sinocentric view!!!)

20 Shang Dynasty – Major Intellectual, Artistic, and Cultural Accomplishments
Bronze Vessels Silk Production Calendar (Lunar Based) Protective walls (pounded earth) Economy – bartering / cowry shells

21 Shang Bronze Vessels Mostly used for ceremonial occasions (rituals, sacrifices, ancestor worshiping) Bronze – status symbol ( common people worked with simple stone tools)

22 The Zhou Dynasty 1045 BCE – 221 BCE

23 Zhou Dynasty – The Origins
Chinese – speaking people; descendants of Neolithic Longshan people (similar to the Shang) Located to the West of the Shang territories Semi-Barbarian in the eyes of the Shang Intermarriage with the Shang before conquest

24 Famous Leaders: King Wen (“the cultured king”) – built alliances with neighboring people to increase the power of the Zhou King Wu (“the martial king”) – sacked the Shang capital, practically ending the Shang rule Duke of Zhou (King Wu’s brother) – established the Zhou Dynasty

25 Zhou Dynasty - Famous Leaders
King Wen King Wu Duke of Zhou

26 Zhou Dynasty – Accounts Vilifying the Shang
From Chinese sources on the last Shang king: “. . . [was] dominated by women, given up to sensual self-indulgence with his 'pools of wine and forests of meat,' oppressing the people with his taxes, carving open a pregnant woman to examine the fetus, and killing or imprisoning all who remonstrated against him. He was also famous for his great speed and strength and fond of battling wild animals, and he was a noted devourer of human flesh who fed several feudal lords to his court and even duped King Wen into eating his own son.”

27 The Duke of Zhou Subdued territories loyal to the Shang after the Shang capital was conquered Eliminated all pretenders to the throne (protected his nephew King Cheng) Favorite historic figure of Confucius

28 The Zhou Rule “Feudal” system More decentralized as the time went on
Zhou kings continued supremacy in sacrifice rituals (other kings claimed their connection to them) Same culture, though different political territories Education – luxury for the rich, until Confucius’ ideas become popular

29 The Concept of Heaven Gradually replaces Shangdi (Di) in the writings of Zhou aristocracy Replaced with TIAN (English translation “HEAVEN”) Heaven (in Chinese culture) – does NOT mean “a place to which one's soul goes, or a state of being one's soul attains, after death”

30 The Concept of HEAVEN (cont.)
1. "Heaven" was an all-powerful entity that actively intervened in human affairs. In this meaning, "Heaven" is similar to the older Shangdi. 2. "Heaven" was the cosmos in general or as a whole. It did not actively intervene in human affairs. Instead, "Heaven" was the sum total of the workings of nature including the laws and patterns by which nature operates. 3. "Heaven" also meant the sky, or that which is apart from the earth. This meaning is similar to the English usage in a sentence like "Rain poured down from the heavens."

31 The Mandate of Heaven

32 The Mandate of Heaven (cont.)

33 The Warring States Period (480 BCE -221BCE)

34 The Warring States Period – New Developments
Training and use of larger (citizen) armies “Barbarian” fighting techniques (horseback) and iron weapons Successful rulers = able organizers and administrators Increased need for skilled bureaucrats (tax collectors, scribes, scholars/advisers)

35 End of the Zhou Dynasty The Zhou Dynasty ends in 221 BCE.
Conquered by the state of Qin (semi-Chinese / semi-barbarian state to the West of the Zhou)

36 In the follow up Lecture (take notes in class!!!):
Major School of Thought during the Eastern Zhou Period *Confucianism *Daoism *Legalism

37 Bibliography Slide 1 – Ancient China (;; Slide 2 – Ancient China – Political Geography ( Slide 3 – Ancient China – Physical Geography ( Slide 4 – Natural Resources – ( /sizes/m/in/photostream/) Slide 5 – Pre-Historic China - Slide 6 – Pre-Historic China - Slide 7 – Pre-Historic China -;; Slide 8 – Xia Dynasty - Slide 9 – The Shang Dynasty Slide 12 – The Shang Dynasty – Religious Beliefs - Slide 13 – Religious Beliefs -; Slide 14 – Oracle Bones – Slide 15 – Oracle Bones – Slide 16 – Ancient Chinese Script - Slide 17 – Burial Practices - Slide 18 – Burial Practices -; Slide 19 – Perception of the World - Slide 21 – Bronze vessels -;; Slide 22 – Zhou Dynasty -; Slide 25 -;; Slide 26 - Slide 30 - Slide 31 – Mandate of Heaven - Slide 32 – Mandate of Heaven - Slide 33 – Warring States Period - Slide 35 – End of Zhou Dynasty -

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