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Early Society in East Asia

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Presentation on theme: "Early Society in East Asia"— Presentation transcript:

1 Early Society in East Asia
Period 1: Technological and Environmental Transformations, to 600 BCE Early Society in East Asia

2 The Four Ancient River Valley Civilizations
The first civilizations arose along the Nile, Tigris and Euphrates, Indus, and Huang He Rivers.

3 The Great Chinese Rivers
Chinese civilization began in the valleys of the Huang He (aka, Yellow River) and Yangzi (aka, Chang) rivers. Beyond this heartland were regions with harsher climates, occupied mostly by nomads, who sometimes attacked Chinese cities. When outsiders invaded, Chinese civilization often absorbed them.

4 River of Sorrow The Huang River valley provided the fertile soil Neolithic people needed to farm. The Huang is also known as the Yellow River, because of the volume of yellow loess soil that washed into its waters. The river got the nickname “China’s Sorrow” because it often overflowed.

5 The Ancient Dynasties of China
Xia* ca B.C.E. Organized through village network Hereditary monarchy Flood control Shang B.C.E. Zhou B.C.E.

6 The Shang (pr: ‘Shong’)
The first organized dynasty, the Shang, arose around 1766 B.C. and lasted until 1122 B.C. The dynasty was organized by clans. Most members of Shang society were peasants who led grueling lives working the fields. The cities supported artisans skilled in bronze work. 2 Shang Tang

7 The Mandate of Heaven The Shang dynasty ended in 1122 B.C. in a rebellion led by two Zhou warriors. The Zhou claimed a divine right to rule, calling it the Mandate of Heaven. 7

8 The Dynastic Cycle Later, the Chinese argued that the dynastic cycle reflected heaven’s judgment of good and bad governments. 8

9 The Zhou (pr.Ch-ou) Dynasty
No law codes: rule by decree “Mandate of heaven” Aggregation of villages opposed to Shang leadership Decentralization of authority Development of cheap iron weaponry ends Shang monopoly on bronze Zhou Wang

10 Under the Zhou dynasty, China became a feudal state.
Chinese Feudalism Under the Zhou dynasty, China became a feudal state. Feudalism was a system in which local lords governed their own lands, but owed military service to the ruler. After 800 B.C., feudal lords had more power than Zhou kings. 10

11 Zhou Decline: Historical Theme
Decentralized leadership style allows for building of regional powers Increasing local independence, refusal to pay Zhou taxes Iron metallurgy allows for widespread creation of weaponry Northern invaders weaken Zhou dynasty, beginning eighth century B.C.E. Internal dissention: the Period of the Warring States ( B.C.E.)

12 Social Stratification in China
Ruling classes great advantage Palatial compounds, luxurious lifestyle Supported by agricultural surplus, tax revenues Defended by monopoly on bronze weaponry Hereditary privilege Support class of artisans, craftsmen Evidence of long-distance trade, merchant class Large class of semi-servile peasants Slave class

13 The Patriarchal Family
Devotion to family, ancestor veneration Connection of spirit world to physical world Ritual sacrifices Father ritual head of family rites Earlier prominence of individual female leaders fades in later Shang, Zhou dynasties

14 Oracles Bones & Early Chinese Writing
Used for communicating with spirit world, determining future Question written on animal bones, turtle shells Then heated over fire; cracks examined for omens Early archaeological evidence of Chinese writing Evolution of Chinese script Pictograph to ideograph

15 Chinese Polytheism By the time of the Shang dynasty, the Chinese had developed complex religious beliefs. Many of these beliefs were practiced for thousands of years They prayed to many gods and nature spirits. They called on their ancestors for good fortune and made offerings such as food to influence gods such as the great Shang Di.

16 Cultural Contributions
The Shang and Zhou periods produced many cultural achievements. The Chinese learned to make silk by 2640 B.C. It became their most valuable export. Chinese writing appeared 4,000 years ago on oracle bones. Chinese writing became the art form calligraphy. 16

17 Chinese writing fostered unity among diverse peoples.
Writing Facilitates Unity Chinese writing fostered unity among diverse peoples. Under the Zhou, the first books were made. One them, The Book of Songs, depicted both farm and royal life in poetry and song.

18 The Steppes of Central Asia
Steppe nomads Poor lands for cultivation, extensive herding activities (pastoral nomads/farming) Horses domesticated ca B.C.E., bronze metallurgy in 2900 B.C.E. Extensive trade with sedentary cultures in China Tensions: frequent raiding Ancestors of future Turks & Mongolians

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