Foundation of Chinese Civilization Shang and Zhou Dynasties 2000- BCE to 221 BCE.
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Foundation of Chinese CivilizationShang and Zhou Dynasties2000- BCE to 221 BCE
Early China, ca. 2000221 B.C.E. Geography and Resources
What was Shang Society like?
King & Nobles at the topWarriors very powerfulArtisansPeasants forced to pay taxesMerchantsSlaves
What was the role of women in Shang Society?Women were subservient to men Aristocratic women enjoyed a greater freedom and equality than common womenYin and YangFrom the chaotic cosmos were yin and yang separated; From emanate force and amorphous form were they moulded and shaped. With Fu Xi as ruler were the divine and the human distinguished. Thus began male and female, ruler and ruled. The family's dao is regulated and the ruler's dao stabilized. Feminine virtue honours yielding, holding within codes of moral behaviour; Submissive and meek is the female's proper role within the household. Having assumed matrimonial robes, she should reverently prepare the offerings; Dignified and grave in deportment, be a model of propriety. (Quoted in Shane McCausland, First Masterpiece of Chinese Painting: The Admonitions Scroll [New York: George Braziller, 2003]. p. 39.)
Shang EliteHunting, warfareBronze weaponsHorse-drawn chariots
Shang EliteIvory Cup Inlaid with TurquoiseThe one royal Shang tomb not robbed before it was excavated was for Lady Hao, one of the many wives of the king Wu Ding (ca. 1200 B.C.E.). It contained sixteen human skeletons of both males and females sacrificed at her tomb, and a profusion of valuable objects, such as 460 bronze objects and nearly 750 jade objects. This ivory cup inlaid with turquoise was among the valuables. ((c) Cultural Relics Data Center of China)
Shang Political Structure
The t'ao-t'ieh (tow-the) mask is a common design on ritual Shang vessels. The symmetrical face is formed around the central flange with intense round eyes, expressive C-shaped horns, and S-shaped mouth. The exact meaning of the t'ao-t'ieh is not known, but is perhaps a symbol of power for the Chinese ruling classesKing was supreme Shamanistic State King was chief priest Bureaucracycouncilors lesser priests divinersKing mediated between people and godsGeomancers read the oracle bones
Shang ReligionPolytheisticCentered on a supreme god, Di, who could not be approached directlyKing was intermediaryAncestors could bring good fortuneRationale for authoritarian ruleHuman sacrifice
Chinese WritingThis "oracle bone" dates from the reign of King Wu Ding in the Shang Dynasty. It is approximately three thousand years old. Such oracle bones were used by ancient Chinese rulers for divination. The bones were heated until they cracked, and then the cracks were interpreted. The questions asked of the bones (and sometimes also the prognostications and the actual outcomes) were then carved into the bones. The inscriptions on these bones are the earliest known examples of Chinese "characters."
Bronze vessels, such as this tri-pod, or three-legged vessel, were made to honor royal ancestors. They were placed in the tombs of the deceased to invoke blessings on the living.
Chain pump for irrigation
Shang EconomyCowry Shells for currencyAgriculturalSericulture (silkworm) Thread for silk cloth used for clothingBecame Chinas main exportMerchants traded salt, iron, copper, tin, lead & antimonyThe artisans formed another group of the economic structuremanufactured weapons, ritual vessels, jewelry, and other items of interest
Shang AchievementsSophisticated writing Bronze castingAgricultureIrrigationEngineering projectsTwo-horsed chariots SericultureCalendarDecimal system Blood circulationCarved JadeGlazed pottery
Question:Chinas development in many instances was distinctive because:China refused to trade with other countriesXia dynasty mandated that there be no contact with the outside world.China is isolated by natural barriersChina had all the resources it needed and had no need for outside contact.
Answer:Chinas development in many instances was distinctive because:China refused to trade with other countriesXia dynasty mandated that there be no contact with the outside world.China is isolated by natural barriers. (Correct)China had all the resources it needed and had no need for outside contact.
Zhou Period1045-221 BCEZhou territory was a dependent state of the ShangDefeated the Shang in the eleventh century B.C.E. Invented the Mandate of Heaven in order to justify their actionsThe Zhou dynasty is subdivided into two periods: the Western Zhou and the Eastern Zhou periods
Zhou DynastyTwo periods: Western and EasternKing Wu created a new land distribution systemNew capital city and other urban centers built on a grid patternConformed to principles of feng shui to maintain harmony
Zhou Social Order
Zhou SocietyOver time, King lost power to aristocratsA hierarchy of status and obligations emerged among families and within familiesOlder brothers ranked higher than younger brotherRules of succession determined which males would head familyMarried aristocrats brought concubines into the family rather than abandon wifeRanked lower than his wifeElites kept track of ancestral heritage
Chinese woman stitching embroidery and playing Go. Zhongguo Meishu Quanji
Zhou SocietyElites kept track of their ancestral heritage Married with religious rites and sanctions Common people lived together and were recognized as a couple by their neighborsNo surnames or recorded ancestors
Zhou SocietyBook of Songs provides information Men and women choose each otherEngage in extra-marital sexArranged marriagesMale and female babies treated very differently
Zhou Political StructureLand divided into regions Emperor assigned local ruler who was trusted-called lord (gong)Each local ruler used all the lands around him Had own militia Received gifts from Emperor such as chariots, bronze weapons, servants, animals to maintain loyaltyLords passed their positions to their sonsSub-lords provided stability
Mandate of Heaven
Zhou ReligionLocal lords acted as priests:performed sacrifice (banned human sacrifice) hymns sung and dances performedRight to propitiate the gods of local mountains, streams and of the soil and crops Worship of various gods from the Shang period continuedGods of grain, rain and agriculture
Women Beating ChimesThis drawing of women beating chimes, a scene from a bronze vessel of the Zhou era, illustrates the important role of music in festivals, religious rituals, and court ceremonials. During the politically fragmented later (Eastern) Zhou era, many small states marked their independence by having their own musical scales and distinctive arrangements of orchestral instruments. (Courtesy, Sichuan Museum)
Zhou ReligionTian (Heaven Rules)New forms divination The Book of ChangesCharms Confucianism & Daoism
Eastern Zhou Period(771-221 BCE)Zhou monarchs become figureheadsallegiance from rulers of independent states is nominal Power is fragmentedWarfare dominatesLarge armies, conscripted farmers
The Art of War by SunTzuAll warfare is based on deception.The best thing of all is to take the enemy's country whole and intact; to shatter and destroy it is not so good. If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril.
Zhou ContributionsIron castingIron weapons Chariots Dye Glass Astronomy Magnetism Arithmetic Fractions Geometry Cities/Urbanization
SteelBureaucratic governmentMerit over Wealth/PowerCensus Irrigation channelsRoadsDefensive wallsPalacesAcupunctureFertilizersPesticidesPlowing
Zhou EconomyAgricultureBronze Iron Unification between urban and rural areasIncreased wealth due to trade Most of the work was done by the peasants
DaoismCredit for writing the Way of VirtueEmphasis on sensesThe Way is the way is the path of natureStriving is futileinaction Few Chinese emperors embraced it Used astrologers and fortunetellers
ConfucianismDistressed at the state of societyWanted to promote harmony in human relationsDrew upon traditional institutions and valuesEmphasis on rituals forms of behaviorAddressed issues of morality, conduct, and governmentPeople are goodNeed virtuous leaders
Five RelationshipsFamily fundamentalHierarchical order determined by age and genderEach person has own place and dutiesFilial pietyNot a religionRespect for gods, ancestors, and religious traditions
Evolution of Confucianism and DaoismBoth adapted to changes in societyIncorporated other elements of traditional religion, mysticism, and magicDaoism "accumulated an elaborate array of gods and rituals." Some Daoist ideas were incorporated into Confucianism and Chinese Buddhism but they also accused Daoists of witchcraft
Male and Female RolesClan gave way to three generation family as fundamental social unitFathers:Absolute authority over women and childrenArranged marriagesSell labor conduct ritualsMake offerings to ancestors though women could maintain the households shrineMen limited to one wife but permitted concubinesWidower expected to remarryWidow discouraged from remarrying
Question:In the Zhou period, the separation of religion from political dealings allowed China to:Make war on its neighborsDevelop important secular philosophiesAbandon all religious practicesAdopt Buddhism
AnswerIn the Zhou period, the separation of religion from political dealings allowed China to:Make war on its neighborsDevelop important secular philosophies (correct)Abandon all religious practicesAdopt Buddhism
**From the chaotic cosmos were yin and yang separated; From emanate force and amorphous form were they moulded and shaped. With Fu Xi as ruler were the divine and the human distinguished. Thus began male and female, ruler and ruled. The family's dao is regulated and the ruler's dao stabilized. Feminine virtue honours yielding, holding within codes of moral behaviour; Submissive and meek is the female's proper role within the household. Having assumed matrimonial robes, she should reverently prepare the offerings; Dignified and grave in deportment, be a model of propriety. (Quoted in Shane McCausland, First Masterpiece of Chinese Painting: The Admonitions Scroll [New York: George Braziller, 2003]. p. 39.)
Shang kings carried out military campaigns against nomadic enemies and engaged in a far-flung commerce that may even have included some indirect trade with Mesopotamia. The kings worshiped the spirits of male ancestors, practiced divination and sacrifice, and presented themselves as intermediaries between the gods and the human world.*