Ancient China Overview

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Transcript of Ancient China Overview

  • 1.Ancient China

2. River Valley Civilizations 3. Satellite View of China 4. Chinas Geography Huang He YangtzeYellowSea

  • Huang He - The Yellow River, aka Chinas sorrow because of frequent flooding.
  • Yangtze River
  • Yellow Sea
  • North China Plain - between two major rivers. Most populated area of China.

5. Shang Dynasty:1523-1028 BCE 6. Shang Dynasty

  • Developed out of Neolithic settlements in Huang-He River Valley
    • Rich upper-class land owners ruled, mostly military leaders
    • Chief priest
    • Agricultural economy
    • Aristocracy constantly at war
    • Capital city moved several times, finally established at Anyang, north of the Huang He; built mostly ofwood

7. Political and Social Structure

  • Shang King ruled from his palace at Anyang
  • Split territory up among different generals
  • Could appoint and remove generals
  • Shang frequently waged war on the fringes of the kingdom
  • When a Shang king died, the servants were buried in the tomb with the king, along with riches for the afterlife

8. Religion and Culture

  • Strong belief in life after death
    • Practiced human sacrifice to win the favor of the gods or give the king company in the afterlife
  • Ancestor Veneration
    • Ancestors seen as a link between the present world and the spiritual world
    • Could bring good or bad fortune to a family
    • Offerings of food and drink
  • Oracle Bones
    • Way to communicate with ancestors
    • Animal bones carved with questions, then heated or broken
    • Priest interpreted the breaks


  • Shang Bronze
  • The Shang were master bronze makers.

10. Oracle Bones 11. Oracle Bones Calendar 12. Evolution of Chinese Writing During Shang 13.

  • Axe Scepter 1100 BCE- jade
  • Ceremonial Dagger 1028 BCE

14. Shang Urn 15. Zhou Dynasty

  • 1045-256 BCE
    • Lasted almost 900 years, longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history
    • 2 aristocrats from western region of Zhou lead successful rebellion against last Shang ruler
  • Political Structure
    • Head was king who ruled over an imperial bureaucracy
    • King link between heaven and earth and had divine-like powers
    • Rulers of different provinces were aristocrats, similar to Shang Dynasty

16. Mandate of Heaven/Dynastic Cycle

  • Mandate of Heaven :
    • The Zhou used the Mandate of Heaven to justify their rule.
    • Heaven, the law of nature, kept order in the universe by choosing the king. The king was responsible for being a good ruler.
    • Gods permission could be revoked and given to another family if the current rulers misused their authority
  • Tao : The Way
    • The King was responsible to rule by theDao , he had to keep the gods happy to protect people from natural disaster, or bad harvest.
    • If he didnt do this he would lose power.
  • The mandate of heaven was used to explain the rise and fall of different dynasties.
  • When a ruler took over they claimed they had earned the mandate of heaven, or they would not have been able to win. This was closely tied to theDynastic Cycle

17. Life Under the Zhou

  • Economic and Technological Growth
    • Made major advancements during this period that improved life for the people.
  • Irrigation and Water Projects
    • Began to control the flow of rivers to water crops. Farming could be more reliable without dependence on rains.
  • Farming Advancements
    • Iron plows, increase arable land.
  • Changes in Warfare
    • Iron Weapons were developed.
    • Infantry (foot soldiers) and Cavalry (soldiers on horseback) became more prevalent.
    • Began to use the crossbow

18. Life Under the Zhou

  • Trade
    • Anagricultural surplus led to an increase in trade.
    • Themost important trade item was silk.
      • Its secret was closely guarded.
      • Sharing the secret of silk was punishable by death.
    • Silk is made from the cocoons of silkworms
      • These worms feed on Mulberry leaves.
      • The cocoons are boiled to kill the silkworm
      • Then the cocoons are unwound and combined to make silk thread

19. Life Under the Zhou

  • Family
    • In an agricultural society families had to work together to survive.Family, and extended families, were very important.
  • Filial Piety
    • Family members were responsible to obey the needs and wants of the male head of the family.
    • Everyone had to know their place.
    • Children were expected to provide for their parents in old age.
  • Role of Women
    • Ancient China was a patriarchal, or male dominated, society.
    • Some women had power, but this was generally looked down upon.
    • Women were expected to raise children and work in the home.

20. Decline of Zhou

  • Later Zhou rulers began to become corrupt.
  • Warring States Period
    • Civil war broke out between the kingdoms
  • At the end of this the emperor Qin Shihuangdi unified China under a single leader, becoming the first Emperor of China.

21. The Dynastic Cycle

  • A newdynastycomes to power.
  • Lives of commonpeople improved; taxes reduced; farming encouraged.
  • Problems begin (extensive wars, invasions, etc.)
  • Taxes increase; men forced to work for army. Farming neglected.
  • Govt. increases spending;corruption.
  • Droughts, floods, famines occur.
  • Poor loose respect for govt. They join rebels & attack landlords.
  • Rebel bands find strong leader who unites them. Attack the emperor.
  • Emperor is defeated !!
  • The emperor reforms the govt. & makes it more efficient.
  • Start here

22. Confucianism 23. Confucius

  • 551 479 B.C.E.
  • Born in the feudalstate of Liu.
  • Failed as a politician
  • Became a teacher and editor of books.

To store up knowledge in silence, to remain forever hungry for learning, to teach others without tiring all this comes naturally for me. 24.

  • Li --> Traditions, rules, ritual decorum (Binding force of an enduring stable society)
  • Ren--> humaneness, benevolence,humanity
  • Shu--> Reciprocity, empathy
    • Do not do unto others what you wouldnot want others to do unto you.
  • Yi --> Righteousness
  • Xiao--> Filial Piety (Respect your elders!)

Major Confucian Principles 25. 1. Ruler Subject 2.Father Son 3.Husband Wife 4.Older Brother Younger Brother 5.Older Friend Younger Friend 5 Principle Relationships 26. Organizing Principles

  • Status
  • Age
  • Gender

27. Confucian Temple Complex 28. The Analects

  • The single most important Confucianwork.
  • In Chinese, it means conversation.
  • Focus on practicalities of interpersonalrelationships and the relationship of the role of rulers and ministers to the conduct of government.


  • Knowing what he knows and knowing what hedoesnt know is characteristic of the person who knows.
  • Making a mistake and not correcting it, ismaking another mistake.
  • The superior man blames himself; theinferior man blames others.
  • To go too far is as wrong as to fall short.


  • When you see a worthy man, seek to emulate him. When you see an unworthy man, examine yourself
  • Whenever the Master saw someone in mourning, or in ceremonial dress, or when he saw a blind man, he always stood up and respectfully moved aside.
  • What you do not wish for yourself, do not impose on others.
  • Firmness, resolu