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Chapter 3

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3
China in Antiquity
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
Shang China
The Dawn of Chinese
Civilization


Land and People
 Civilization in the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers
 Importance of geography
 Isolation
 Intruders
The Shang Dynasty
 Civilization began with the Xia (Hsia) dynasty more
than four thousand years ago
• Founded by Yu, who introduced irrigation and
drainage
 Shang dynasty, c. 16th century B.C.E.
Shang Political Organization



Predominantly agricultural society
Ruled by aristocratic class of warriors
 Used two-horse chariots
 Central monarch
 Bureaucracy
 Territories governed by aristocratic bureaucracy
 King intermediary between heaven and earth
Social Structures
 Clans
 Class differentiation
 Bronze casting
The Zhou Dynasty (1122?-221 B.C.E.)

Political Structures





Political system similar to Shang dynasty
Apex is the king served by a bureaucracy
Ministers for rites, education, law, and public works appointed
The Mandate of Heaven
Economy and Society



Peasants worked on their own land and the lord’s land
Trade and manufacturing
• Merchants and artisans considered property of the local lord
• Economic growth from 6th – 3rd centuries B.C.E.
• Large scale water projects
Agricultural advances
• Iron plows, natural fertilizer, collar harness, and leaving the land
fallow
• Cultivation of wet rice
• Population growth
• Silk production
• Money economy
The Hundred Schools of Ancient Philosophy




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Shang Di – Shang god presiding over forces of nature
Yang (sun) and Yin (moon)
Yi Jing (I Ching), Book of Changes
Confucius (551-479 B.C.E.)
 Focused on politics and ethics
 If humans act harmoniously in accordance with the
universe, all affairs will prosper
 Dao (The Way)
 Analects
 Rule by merit
Mencius (370-29 B.C.E.)
 Human beings are by nature good
 Ruler’s duty is to rule by compassion
Legalism
 Human
beings are by nature evil and follow the
correct path only if coerced by harsh laws and stiff
penalties
 Only firm action by the state can bring social
order
Daoism



Popular Daoism
 Rituals and forms of behavior that were regarded as a
means of achieving heavenly salvation or even a state
of immortality on earth
 Spirits of deceased relatives
Lao Tzu (Lao Zi)
Dao De Jing (The Way of the Tao)
 Proper forms for human behavior
 Nature takes its course
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein
under license.
China during the Period of the
Warring States
The Rise of the Chinese Empire:
The Qin

The Warring States



Civil war between principalities
New forms of warfare
The Qin Dynasty (221-206 B.C.E.)








Qin Shi Huangdi (Ch’in Shih Huang Ti), 246 B.C.E.
Legalism adopted
Highly centralized state
Reforms
Restriction of commercial activities
Aggressive foreign affairs
Beyond the Frontier: The Nomadic Peoples and the Great
Wall of China
Fall of the Qin
Han Dynasty (202 B.C.E.-221
C.E.)
 Liu
Bang (Liu Pang), Han Gaozu (Han Kao Tsu)
 Commoner of peasant origin
 Abandoned the Legalistic system
 Confucianism and the State
 State Confucianism: Integration of
Confucianism and Legalism
 Political structure
 Civil service exams
Society and Economy in the Han
Empire


Peasants
 Free peasantry, taxes, military service, forced labor
 Farm plots reduced to about one acre per capita
 Forced to sell to large landowners, thus becoming
tenants
Trade and manufacturing
 Problems for merchants
 Government directed trade and manufacturing
 Silk Road
 Guangzhou (Canton)
Trade Routes of the Ancient World
Decline and Fall of the Han
 Wang
Mang, 9-23 C.E.
 Reformist, seized power
 Xin dynasty proclaimed in 9 C.E.
 Collapsed when Wang Mang killed in 23
 Cao Cao (Ts’ao Ts’ao)
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
The Han Dynasty
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
The Great Wall with Tower
north of Beijing
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
The Western Terminus of the
Great Wall at Jiayugan
Daily Life in Ancient China


Cities
 Usually on major trade routes
 Centers of administration and economic functions
 Chang’an – nearly 40 square kilometers
Family
 Filial piety
 Five relationships
 Women
• Subservience
• Confucian thought accepted dual roles of men and women
• Some women were a force at court

Housing
 Most lived in the countryside
 Staple food was millet in the north and rice in the south
Chinese Culture



Metalwork and sculpture
 Bronze
• Clay molds produced work of clear line and rich surface
decoration
• Gave way to iron casting
 Terra-cotta army from Qin Shi Huangdi and later of the Han
Language and Literature
 Writing
• Ideographic and pictographic
• Common written language
 Chinese Literature
Music
 Music seen as a means of achieving political order and refining human
character
 Music important both in court life and among common people
©2004 Wadsworth, a division of Thomson Learning, Inc. Thomson Learning™ is a trademark used herein under license.
Ruins of Jiaohe
Discussion Questions




What was the Mandate of Heaven? How did it shape the
goal and priorities of Chinese government?
What factors contributed to economic growth during the
Zhou period? What role did the government play in
promoting growth?
What values are expressed in Confucianism? How were
those values manifested in Chinese society?
What were the most important accomplishments of the
Han dynasty? What led to the dynasty’s demise?
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