Presentation on theme: "Ancient China The Han Dynasty. Han Dynasty Government After the collapse of the Qin Dynasty in 207 BC, there was a period where several groups battled."— Presentation transcript:
Han Dynasty Government After the collapse of the Qin Dynasty in 207 BC, there was a period where several groups battled for power. An army led by Liu Bang would gain control and begin the Han Dynasty. The Han Dynasty would last for over 400 years.
The Rise of a New Dynasty The Mandate of Heaven made it possible for Liu Bang to become Emperor. A peasant, he was the first common man to become emperor. He earned the people’s loyalty and trust and was well liked by both soldiers and peasants, which helped him keep control.
The Rise of a New Dynasty Liu Bang’s rule was different than that of the Qin and Legalism – he wished to free people of harsh government and lowered taxes for farmers and made punishments less severe. He gave large tracts of land to his supporters.
The Rise of a New Dynasty He also changed the way government worked. He set up a structure that built upon the foundation of the Qin. He also relied on educated officials to help him rule. In 140 BC, Wudi became ruler and wanted to make a strong central government.
Wudi Creates a New Government He took land from the lords, raised taxes and placed a supply of grain under government control. Confucianism became China’s official philosophy. Government officials were expected to conform to Confucian ideas and Wudi started a university to teach Confucian ideas.
Wudi Creates a New Government Wudi started civil service exams to fill government jobs. If you passed the exam you could fill a position, However, not everyone was eligible to take the test. Only those recommended could take the exam and they came from wealthy and influential families – maintaining the elites control of China.
Family Life Based on the Confucian system, people were placed into four social classes. The upper class was made up of the emperor and his court. The second class, the largest, was made up of the peasants. Next were artisans or craftsmen and the merchants made up the lowest class because they did not produce anything, just sold the goods others produced. The military had no class, but was still considered part of the government, servants or slaves were the very bottom.
Lives of the Rich and Poor Classes only separated people into social rank, it did not deal with wealth. Example – peasants made up the second class but were poor and on the lower end, many merchants were rich. People’s lifestyles mirrored their wealth. The Emperor and his court lived in a palace and less important officials had multilevel houses. Many wealthy families had estates with workers and private armies to defend.
Lives of the Rich and Poor The wealthy filled their homes with expensive paintings, pottery, bronze lamps, and jade figures. The rich would hire musicians to play for entertainment. The tombs of the wealthy were even filled with expensive stuff. Their lives were far different than the majority of Han.
Lives of the Rich and Poor 90% of the 60 million people that lived in Han China were peasants living in the countryside. Peasants put in long, hard days in the millet fields or rice paddies. In winter, they would work on building projects for the government. Heavy taxes and bad weather forced many peasants to sell their lands and work for wealthy landowners. By the end of the Hand Dynasty, only a few farmers were independent.
Lives of Rich and Poor Peasants lived simple lives. They wore clothing made from local fibers, and the main food they ate was cooked grains such as barley. Most lived in small villages. Their small houses were wood framed with walls made of mud or stamped earth. All of their time was devoted to work.
The Revival of the Family Confucian ideas on the family were also at the forefront. Children were taught from birth to obey their elders – disobeying them was a crime. Even emperors were expected to respect their parents. The father is the head of the family and is to be obeyed by wife and children.
The Revival of the Family Han officials believed that when family was strong and obeyed the father would in turn obey the emperor. Strong family ties and respect for elders made it possible for some to gain government jobs based on the respect they showed their parents.
The Revival of the Family Children were encouraged to serve their parents. They were expected to honor dead parents with ceremonies and all family members were expected to take care of family burial sites. Boys were viewed much more highly than girls – boys took the family line and took care of parents,
Girls Girls would become part of a husbands family. They could be seen as another burden, just like raising children monetarily and functionally. Some women could get a degree of power as they could influence a sons family or older widows could actually become the head of the family.
Han Achievements: Art and Literature Han artists became experts in figure painting. Portraits often showed religious themes or realistic scenes of everyday life. The creations covered walls and tombs. Han poets were also popular. Fu style combined prose and poetry to create long works. Shi featured short lines of verse that could be sung.
Han Achievements: Inventions and Advances The Han invented paper by grinding plant fibers to paste and then drying in sheets. They would connect sheets and roll into scrolls. The Han also came up with a sundial to track the motion of the sun and time and seismograph which measures the strength of earthquakes. They believed earthquakes were signs of future evil events. The Han also developed accupuncture, a practice of inserting needles into the skin relieving pain or curing diseases.
And so … Exit: What was the greatest of Han achievements? Stay tuned next time for Han Contacts With Other Cultures