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Ancient Chinese Civilization

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Ancient Chinese Civilization
Chapter 4
Pages 74 - 97
Geographic and Cultural
Influences
The Physical Setting
China is very large with lots of variety
 Mountains
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Desert
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North
Open Plain
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West, Northwest, Southwest
Southeast
Coastline

East / Southeast
Major Rivers of China
Geographic and Cultural
Influences
The Physical Setting

Different Regions

Qinling Mountains – run across China from West to
East
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Northern China
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Separates two main rivers
Divides China into North and South
Shorter growing season
Wheat main crop
More extreme temperatures
Southern China
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Rice Main crop
Milder temperatures
Longer growing season
Geographic and Cultural
Influences
Physical Setting
Heart of China is called China Proper
 Main River Systems

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Huang – called Yellow River because of its loess

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Chang
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Over 3,400 miles long
Xi
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Soil that has a yellow tint
Also called China’s sorrow because of devastating floods
Southern China
Throughout China’s history it has controlled
entire region at one time or another
Geographic and Cultural
Influences
China’s Isolation

Had the least cultural diffusion of any ancient
civilization

Mainly due to geographic location
Gave them strong sense of identity and
superiority
 Referred to themselves as Zhongguo or Middle
Kingdom
 Thought they were the only truly civilized
people

The
Shang
Dynasty
The Shang Dynasty
Two mythical theories of ancient belief
Man named Pagu awoke from 18,000 years of
sleep to create the universe
 Yu drained floodwaters so people could live in
China

Establish line of kings
 Line of kings called Xia

However is came to pass Ancient China started
on the Yellow / Huang River and they were
called the Xia
 Invaded by Shang people, they started the first
Chinese Dynasty(video)

The Shang Dynasty
Government and Culture
Moved their capital several times
 Created a complete Bureaucracy

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Bureaucracy – government with different levels and
responsibilities
Had an advanced military
Chariots
 Bronze weapons

The Shang Dynasty
Economy and handicrafts

Economy based mainly on agriculture

Millet and rice
Made silk from silkworms
 Bone crafts, ivory and jade
 Established foundations for later ceramic art
 Learned how to use white clay (kaolin) and
they would glaze it to make it stronger

The Shang Dynasty
Astronomy and calendars

Used two calendars

Solar

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Used for planting
Adjusted by priest off of the lunar calendar
Important to king
• He got his popularity from the type of harvest
Lunar

Personal events
The Shang Dynasty
Religion

Believed in animism and ancestor worship
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Spirits indwelled in everything
Believed in an all powerful dragon that lived in the sea

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Also worshipped the sun, wind, clouds and moon


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Became the kings symbol
Some had festivals to honor them
Believed on one main god called Shangdi who
controlled everything
Priest used oracle bones to determine dream
interpretations
The Shang Dynasty
Language and Writing
Spoke many dialects
 Early forms of writing were pictographs
 Later developed into ideographs


Two parts

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Idea sign
Phonetic sign
Developed into modern calligraphy
The Shang Dynasty
Fall of the Shang
People began to migrate towards China Proper
 Shang had to defend its borders against these
invaders
 Eventually the Zhou would align with others
neighboring peoples
 The Zhou justified their overthrow by saying
that the Shang were corrupt


This would be a pattern for future overthrows in
China
Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
1050 B.C.
No centralized government, gave control to members of
royal family
Believed God in heaven would determine who would rule
China

Mandate of Heaven
Leaders began losing control
They were being attacked from outside invaders
False alarms occurred about capital city being attacked
Later a force actually did attack, no one came to help
Capital destroyed in 771 B.C. – became warring states
Warring States
Qin Dynasty
One of the Warring States began to win (video)

State of Ch'in (Qin)
Cheng was the leader

Titled himself Shih Huang Ti (1st emperor)
Lasted 15 Years, but many changes


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Name for China came from Qin
Established Autocracy (all power with emperor)
Built walls to protect themselves, once connected would
be Great Wall of China (video)
Liu Bang would eventually conquer the emperor
and start the Han Dynasty
Qin Dynasty
Han Dynasty
Chinese have called themselves Han ever since
Longest ruling emperor was Liu Ch’e

Commonly known as Wu Ti
Civil Service System

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Han established a centralized civil service system to
govern China (day to day business)
Had a system of examinations to select the best for the
job
Theoretically it was open to anyone
Really only people with money for training could get in
the program
Video
Han Dynasty
Other Accomplishments

Used process called leveling to help out in bad
agricultural times

Use of price controls to help the economy
Expanded area through military outpost cities
 Developed Silk Road for trade (video)
 Population grew to about 50 million during Han
 Lasted until 220 A.D.

Han Dynasty
Philosophies of Ancient China
Philosophers in the Zhou dynasty were
trying to harmonize the country

Believed two force were at work

Developed into concept of dualism

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Yin – female, dark, passive
Yang – male, bright, active
Not in conflict, but interdependent
Lead to a further belief that extremes do not last
Extremely modern for the time in which they lived
Symbol of the Yin Yang
Yin Yang shows the
balance between the
Yin and Yang
Came of study of the
stars
See next slide for
astronomical
deductions
Symbol of the Yin Yang
Philosophies of Ancient China
Confucius and Laozi

Confucius was the leading philosopher of the times

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Teachings came from Analects
His teaching would eventually become Confucianism
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Taught importance of family, respect, respect for elders, and
respect of ancestry
Sought to end political disorder of the time
Not concerned with life, death and life after death
Concerned with political and social ideas
Taught that people should accept roles and perform duties
Taught only virtuous and moral leaders should be in office
Taught people had a right to rebel against harsh or unjust
rulers
Mencius was the most influenced person of the time by
Confucius
Video
Philosophies of Ancient China
Confucius and Laozi

Daoism
Founded by Laozi
 Dao is defined as the way
 Described as a force that governed the universe and
nature
 Shunned politics
 Appealed to many peasants because it dealt with
natural forces

Philosophies of Ancient China
Legalism and Buddhism

Qin dynasty was the most legalistic

Probably the reason for its failure
Han Dynasty adopted many but not all of the
legalities
 Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism all were
prevalent in Ancient China (video)

Chinese Life and Culture
Family and Social Life
Each family kept a detailed genealogy (family
tree)
 Respect, honor, and family name were very
important to Chinese
 Many generations would live in the same house
 Women had very few rights, but were very well
respected

Chinese Life and Culture
Economy

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Mostly agricultural
Trade not a significant factor
Arts and Sciences

Five Classics (books)

Used to train civil servants
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Book of History – government
Book of Changes – predicting future
Book of Rites – ceremonies and manners
Spring and Autumn Annals – history of city-state of Lu
Book of Poems – poems
Chinese Life and Culture
Science and Technology

Discovered the year was slightly longer than 365 days
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Came up with system to fix it (Leap Year)
Observed sun spots
Developed a system to track planet movements
Invented paper
Learned how to dye cloth
Learned how to glaze pots
Developed herbal and mineral medicines
Auteur
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