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Transcript of Ancient China
China has high mountains in the west, its rivers flow east, thus China was isolated from western culture.
Chinese civilization begins along theHuang He(Yellow) River.
Due to unpredictable flooding the river was know as the River of Sorrow.
China was known as Chung-kuo (Central Kingdom), and this term reflects the Chinese opinion of the world. The Chinese saw their country as the center of the world. The most advanced civilization. Thus, the Chinese turns their backs to the West and faces East, geographicallyculturally and politically.
Ancient China map
II. Lungshan & Yangshao: (Neolithic cities)
Achievements:Developed the potters wheel.Developed baked bricks for houses.Harvested silk.Developed irrigation systems.
Hsia dynasty: Mythological rulers of ancient ChinaPan Gu (Pan-ku) Creator of the universe
Fuxi (Fu-his) taught the people to hunt & fish.
Shennong (Shen-nung) taught the people agriculture.
Huangdi (Huang-ti) taught the people silk-making.
Yu taught large scale irrigation & flood control.
III. Shang Dynasty: First dynasty in China from 1700-1000 B.C.E.
Yin; the capital of Shang Dynasty. Founded ca. 1384 B.C.E.
Achievements: Oracle Bones Shamanism Writing System Bronze ware Sericulture
Oracle bone; Divination was practiced by heating tortoise shells till they cracked, then studying the cracks. The prediction was written on the shell.
Shamanism;Shang Religion was based on ideas of ancestor worship, as well as a belief in nature gods, demons and magic.
Ancestor worship; the belief that your dead relatives control and guide your destiny. Thus respect and honor for them is necessary.
Rulers were buried with their court and wives in large tombs.
Writing; The Shang Dynasty developed a writing system around 1766 B.C.E.
Bronze; The Shang dynasty had one of the most sophisticated methods for smelting bronze. Their bronze was extremely artistic.
Sericulture; The Shang dynasty was the first to actively cultivate silk.
Political Power:The kings power was based on: Land Ownership. Land and peasants were given to the nobility as payment for military service.
Thus Hunting was a favorite pass time of the Shang nobility since they did not have to work.
Monopoly of Bronze weapons & manufacturing. Death was the penalty for making bronze without royal permission.
War Chariot, giving the kings army an advantage on the plains of china.
The religious authority of the king. It was believed that rulers received their authority from the gods. It was called The Mandate of Heaven. As dynasties weakened and new leaders arose, the Chinese believed that the gods were removing their mandate and giving it to another.
The Shang Economy;Built irrigation canals for cropsCowry shells were used as money.Long distance trade for copper, tin, lead, and saltFarming was based on peasant/serf labor.
Society:Women were subservient to men in Chinese culture.Common people had very few rights, and did all the work.
IV. Chou (Zhou) Dynasty 1100s-200s BCE This was a time of Feudalism (Decentralized) government with competing warlords. There were few great accomplishments in science, art and literature, but China excelled in philosophy as great Sages (wise men) tried to bring about Unity, Peace & Prosperity.