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Chinese civilization

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Slides for Introduction to History subject.


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Chinese civilization

  2. 2. INTRODUCTIONINTRODUCTION  China is one of the world's oldest continuous civilizations that began around 1500 BC.  There are three main rivers : 1. Yellow river in the north 2. Yangtze river in south 3. Pearl River  These rivers rise in the mountains of Tibet and flow eastward across China.  The basins of those rivers are separated in the west by mountains, which gave way to hills and finally disappear altogether in the flat country near the coast.  China has lot of mountains, forests and tracts of jungle that make it to be isolated from others. However, it is not completely tp be sealed off.  For many centuries, esp. 7th -14 AD China was the world’s most advanced civilization.
  6. 6. THE SHANGTHE SHANG DYNASTYDYNASTY 1523-1027 B.C1523-1027 B.C  The Shang Were the first civilized Chinese society  It lasted almost six hundred years with thirty-one kings over seventeen generations.  The chief of the Shang tribe, Tang established the Shang Dynasty and made Bo (present Caoxian County in Shandong Province) his capital city.  This dynasty generally located at the northern part of China and around the eastern parts of the Yellow River.
  7. 7. Cont.  The Shang worshipped a figure called "Shang Ti," or "Lord on High.“  This supreme god ruled over lesser gods of the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain, and other natural forces. Shang-Ti also regulated human affairs as well as ruling over the material universe.
  8. 8. Cont.  The Shang were natives, very closely linked to indigenous Neolithic people. Therefore, most of them sustained themselves with agriculture and animal domestication.  The capital was headed by a king, who was also a head priest, military commander, etc.  Social structure : as demonstrated in the diagram.  After the death of King Wuding(the last king of Shang), the prime day of the Shang Dynasty did not go on a long time. Toward the end, internal conflicts intensified and ducal states rebelled. The last Shang ruler, who was a despot was dethroned by the army of slaves in the 11th century BC. RULING CLASS King & bureaucrats NOBLES Warrior PEASANTS Semi free slave SERFS & SLAVES
  9. 9. THE ZHOU DYNASTYTHE ZHOU DYNASTY 1027-221 B.C1027-221 B.C  When the Chou overthrew the Shang, they led China into the historical period.  The invented a new system of authority to legitimize their power called (mandate of Heaven). This system became later an integral aspect of Chinese theories of authority  Mandate of Heaven means  They extended Chinese rule beyond the boundaries of the Shang.  They adopt much of Shang culture.  In fact, most of the Zhou were farmers like the Shang. But, they were also culturally masters of bronze and horse- drawn chariots.  Roads and canals were built to import foods and goods to the city.
  10. 10. Cont.  The Zhou could not rule the whole of their new territory directly so they sent out relatives or trusted friends to represent them.  These Zhou representatives became powerful in their own right; some of them became just as powerful as the Zhou emperors.  The king of the Zhou gave huge tracts of land to the members of the royal family and to others who had demonstrated their talent and loyalty.
  11. 11. Cont.  The king at that time was:  A Landlord  A supreme religious leader  A political leader  New careers were developed like ministers, officials, civil workers, tax collectors and many more.  The Zhou also brought their religion with them. They banned human sacrifice. They practiced the cult of Heaven. The worship of sun and stars was the most important thing. Some of the popular Shang gods became incorporated into this system..  In 771 B.C, The Zhou’s king had been defeated and killed by the rebel lords.
  12. 12. QIN DYNASTYQIN DYNASTY 221 B.C – 206 B.C221 B.C – 206 B.C  The Qin came to power in 221 B.C. They were one of the western states that existed during the Warring States Period. They conquered the other Warring States, unifying China for the first time.  The Qin are sometimes called the Ch'in, which is probably where the name China originated.  The Qin made many changes that were meant to unify China and aid in administrative tasks.  the Qin implemented a Legalist form of government, which was how the former Qin territory had been governed. The area was divided up in 36 commanderies which were then subdivided into counties.
  13. 13. ContCont.  These commanderies had a civil governor, a military commander, and an imperial inspector.  The Legalist form of government involved rewards and punishments to keep order. Also, the state had absolute control over the people, and the former nobility lost all of their power.  The Qin rule came to an end shortly after the First Emperor's death. Shi huangdi had only ruled for 37 years, when he died suddenly in 210 B.C. His son took the throne as the Second Emperor, but was quickly overthrown and the Han dynasty began in 206 B.C.
  14. 14. SHI HUANG DISHI HUANG DI  Qin Shi Huangdi, named Ying Zheng, was King Zheng of Qin during the Warring States Period prior to becoming an emperor.  He unified China and proclaimed himself the First (shi) Emperor (huangdi) of the Qin Dynasty, as he was the first Chinese sovereign able to rule the whole country. He reigned from 246 BC to 210 BC.  Huang" and "Di" were titles once reserved for the eight legendary kings (three Huang and five Di), so by employing the term "Huangdi", Ying Zheng indicated that he was even greater than the eight legendary kings combined.  He believed that his family would rule China forever and so he wanted his successors to be titled "Emperor of China II", "Emperor of China III", etc.
  15. 15. ContCont.  The First Emperor was almost always portrayed as a brutal tyrant, superstitious, and sometimes even as a mediocre ruler.  He gave China a common currency and a standardized systems of weights and measures, writing characters and local prefecture administration.  Endless labor in the later years of his reign (including the link-up of the Great Wall of China and construction of the first canal (Lingqu) in today's Guangxi Province, an inconclusive campaign against the Huns, and the widening and paving of countless roads all over China) started to provoke widespread discontent.  The emperor was still barely able to maintain stability by his tight grip on every aspect of lives of the Chinese. He also travelled frequently to large cities in Northern China to inspect the efficiency of the bureaucracy and to symbolize the presence of Qin's prestige.  Nevertheless his trips provided chances for assassins, the most famous of whom was Zhang Liang.
  16. 16. Cont.Cont.  In legend, He died suddenly so two of his high officials to take advantage of this. They forged the Emperor's order to kill his heir and then they chose his another son to be a puppet emperor. Everything went well except that they were not able to depress the rebels. Qin Dynasty soon collapsed.  He was believed to be buried with the Terracotta Army near Xian, but his body has yet to be discovered.
  17. 17. THE HANTHE HAN DYNASTYDYNASTY 206 B.C – 220 A.D206 B.C – 220 A.D  The history of the Han Chinese ethnic group is closely tied to that of China. Han Chinese trace their ancestry back to the Huaxia, people who lived along the Yellow River in northern China.  The reign of the Han Dynasty, lasting 400 years, is commonly considered within China to be one of the greatest periods in the entire history of China.  The Han empire began in 206 B.C. when Liu Pang, prince of Han, defeated the Qin army in the valley of Wei. The defeat was part of a larger rebellion that began after the First Emporer's death. The people were dissatisfied with the tyranny of the Qin leaders and their Legalist form of government.  There was a period of great military expansion. It expanded beyond the borders of Vietnam and Korea. The expansion also led to trade with the people of inner Asia. Thereafter, the Silk Road was developed.  To make sure travel was safe, the army took control of parts of North Vietnam and North Korea.
  18. 18. Cont.  To assure peace with the non- Chinese people along the route, a mutual system of tribute was established.  The non-Chinese people symbolically acknowledged that the Chinese were superior and paid them tribute; the Chinese in return gave them gifts and ties which strengthened the culture by inter- marriages of the ruling class.  The success of the Han kept their dynasty going for nearly four hundred years. With a growing population, increased wealth, and huge numbers of allies (and enemies), the Han lost control of their society.  Corruption ran rampant in the highest levels of authority as public happiness waned.  The dynasty collapsed in 220 AD. This period was called the Era of Disunity.
  20. 20. WRITINGWRITING SYSTEMSYSTEM  The singular aspect of Shang civilization is their invention of writing. Almost all the written records of the Shang have disappeared, for the court records were kept on strips of bamboo.  The writing system was originally pictographic, that is, words were represented by pictures that fairly closely resembled the meaning of the word. The picture for "sun," for instance, looked much like the sun.  This pictographic writing eventually developed into the more complex ideographic writing that we are more familiar with.
  21. 21. Cont.  The basic principles behind Chinese writing have remained unchanged for thousands of years.  Each character consists of a number of strokes or lines set inside an imaginary square.  Chinese is an extremely ancient system of writing. What is even more amazing that it only went through relatively small amount of change through its 3500 years of evolution, which can be divided into several major stages: Jiaguwen, or Oracle Bone Script, Dazhuan, or Greater Seal, Xiaozhuan, or Lesser Seal, Lishu, or
  22. 22. ORACLE BONEORACLE BONE  Oracle bones provide us with one of the earliest examples of writing in Ancient China. They also have given historians useful information about the Shang dynasty.  Oracle bones were usually made from the shoulder blades of oxen, or sometimes the shell of a tortoise was used. They were used to divine the future like leadership, harvest, weather etc.  Thousands of bones from the Shang dynasty have been unearthed with writing on them.  Many of the characters on these bones still exist (in a slightly altered state) today.
  24. 24. CONFUCIANISMCONFUCIANISM  Confucianism means “the school of the scholars” or “less accurately”. It brought the most profound impact on China.  A teacher named Kangzi or K’ung Fu-tsu was called “Confucius” in the 6th and 5th centuries, taught the beginnings of a system of thought and behavior that developed into a sophisticated ethico-religious tradition.  In this system, human beings are understood as essentially human beings, and human fulfillment involves perfecting the moral nature of both the individual and society.
  25. 25. Cont.  He also considered that the family is the basic unit of society  After he died, his teaching were propagated by his followers and entered the current of intellectual debates.  In the 2nd century, Confucianism was adopted by the Han dynasty as the intellectual basis for its system of government and its educational program for training officials.
  26. 26. TAOISMTAOISM  Taoism means the way or the road.  In the 6th century, Lao-Tzu was the person who founded this school of thought. Taoism was concerned with direct experience of universe, accepting things as they are not setting the standard of morality and not labeling things as good or bad.  Taoism argued that political authority cannot bestow peace and order if it restricts itself to the rules and custom of society.  The only effective social control stems, according to him from adherence to the ultimate nature of reality.  According to Taoist, people could be happy only if they abandoned the world and reverted to nature, living simply and alone.
  27. 27. Cont.  Taoist were convinced that government could do most for people by doing as little as possible.  He argued that public work and services, from road building to law courts, led to higher taxes which in turn led to unhappiness.  Taoist, argued that the fewer law and rules are better.  Taoism was most popular among the rulers and ministers who actually governed the Chinese society because the religion gave them a way if coping with the extreme pressures with they faced.  Later, Taoism became a philosophy of consolation. The elite often adopted Taoism for consolation (to make felt of unhappy or disappointed became less.
  28. 28. LEGALISMLEGALISM  Legalism was founded by Han Fei- Tzu and Li Ssu, and they both were heavily influenced by Taoism. They were pragmatic realists who thought that the state should possess as much power as possible and extend it relentlessly.  Their ideal state was authoritarian : the sensible ruler, in their view should root cut all intellectual and all competing political ideas. The people should be treated but not to be educated.  Legalism was ruthless in its approach to the problems of the government.  Legalism was realistic and offered Chinese rulers practical solutions to the problems of governing large population over great distance.  Both founders were high officials in a position to put legalist theories into practice.
  30. 30. THE SHANG DYNASTYTHE SHANG DYNASTY 1523-1027 B.C1523-1027 B.C  Writing system.  Ceramic production.  Bronze objects.  High-quality silk fabric.  The Shang people also made significant progress in medicine, mathematic, transportation and astronomy. During this period, important events were recorded on tortoise shell and animal bone using Oracle Script, which is the oldest known Chinese form of written communication.
  31. 31. THE ZHOU DYNASTYTHE ZHOU DYNASTY 1027-221 B.C1027-221 B.C  Memorable poetry and prose.  Full records of daily activity.  The development of iron, and tools made of iron.  Chinese astrology.  Horse-drawn Chariot.
  32. 32. Grass tree know spring soon return Every way red purple contend beauty Poplar flower elm seeds without beauty Only know overflow sky make snow fly The plants all know that spring will soon return, All kinds of red and purple contend in beauty. The poplar blossom and elm seeds are not beautiful, They can only fill the sky with flight like snow.
  33. 33. Horse-Drawn ChariotHorse-Drawn Chariot
  34. 34. DYNASTY QINDYNASTY QIN 221 B.C – 206 B.C221 B.C – 206 B.C  Standardization of the language and writing of all over China.  Currency became standardized.  Great Wall of China.  Shi HuangDi mausoleum and Terra-cotta Army.
  35. 35. THE HAN DYNASTYTHE HAN DYNASTY 206 B.C – 220 A.D206 B.C – 220 A.D  Paper invented.  Silk Road.  Compass.