king cheng tang of shang of china in chinese born zi l in chinese 1675 bc 1646 bc
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king cheng tang of shang of china in chinese born zi l in chinese 1675 bc 1646 bc
Tang was jailed by Jie of Xia. Shang people paid a heavy ransom.

Yin Yi was a chef cooking for Tang. He called attention to his political ambition and vision by intentional inconsistency in his cooking. Later Tang freed him of his slave status and appointed him as the right chancellor. Yin Yi assisted four Shang kings.

King Cheng Tang of Shang of China (in Chinese:"湯", born Zi Lü, in Chinese:"子履") (1675 BC-1646 BC).
tang s vow http ctext org shang shu speech of tang
湯誓 – Tang’s Vow
  • The king said, \'Come, ye multitudes of the people, listen all to my words. It is not I, the little child, who dare to undertake a rebellious enterprise; but for the many crimes of the sovereign of Xia, Heaven has given the charge to destroy him. Now, ye multitudes, you are saying, "Our prince does not compassionate us, but (is calling us) away from our husbandry to attack and punish Xia." I have indeed heard (these) words of you all; (but) the sovereign of Xia is guilty, and as I fear God, I dare not but punish him. Now you are saying, "What are the crimes of Xia to us?" The king of Xia in every way exhausts the strength of his people, and exercises oppression in the cities of Xia. His multitudes are become entirely indifferent (to his service), and feel no bond of union\'(to him). They are saying, "When wilt thou, O sun, expire? We will all perish with thee." Such is the course of (the sovereign) of Xia, and now I must go (and punish him).\'
the battle of mingtiao
The Battle of Mingtiao鸣条之战
  • The Battle of Mingtiao was a battle between the Xia Dynasty and the Shang Dynasty. This semi-mythological battle resulted in a Shang victory which created the circumstances for the elevation of the Duke of Shang to the throne of China.
battle of mingtiao 1600 bce
Battle of Mingtiao 鸣条之战 1600 BCE
  • Use of Spies and found out people were discontent;
  • 知己知彼,百战不殆【zhījǐzhībǐ,bǎizhànbùdài】 Know the enemy and know yourself, and you can fight a hundred battles with no danger of defeat.
  • Weak first/strong later by clipping off Jie of Xia’s wings, completing a strategic Siege(First took over a vassal state; dependent state, Ge; then Wei, Gu and Kunwu, the last of which being a military pillar to Jie of Xia.
  • Be extremely cautious/careful/prudent/discreet since
  • 百足之虫,死而不僵【bǎizúzhīchóng,sǐ\'érbùjiāng】 a centipede dies but never falls down; old institutions die hard.
  • During an outing, Tang saw someone trying to catch birds by setting up nets in four directions. While getting his nets ready, the hunter murmured, now no birds could escape. Tang criticized him for being too cruel. The hunter removed three nets upon Tang’s advice.
  • 网开一面【wǎngkāiyīmiàn】 leave one side of the net open - give the wrongdoer a way out.
a case in which a chancellor punished the king
A case in which a chancellor punished the king
  • “伊尹放太甲” Yin Yi punished the third king of Shang by sending him into an exile for three years, during which period, Yin Yi personally administered the state affairs. Tai Jia became a good king later. Yin Yi wrote three pieces known as “太甲训” Instructions of Yi (collected in the Book of Documents) to praise Tai Jia after his metamorphosis.
shang dynasty 1600 bce 1046 bce city of anyang henan province
Shang Dynasty (1600 BCE-1046 BCE)City of Anyang, Henan Province
  • Peak of the Bronze Age—the new development in technology, specifically the whole metallurgical industry involved mining, smelting, refining, and blending different metals to produce the right kind of bronze, hard enough to be powerful, soft enough to be moldable. This is clearly a state-run large scale business. Because of this technology, Shang rose to power.
  • 17 generations, 31 kings
Artistic features:


【húnrán yìtǐ】 one integrated mass; a unified entity; an integral whole.


【dòngjìng jiéhé】

Still movement (oxymoron)

四羊方尊/樽 Four-Ram Square Wine CupThe zun 尊zūn) or yi 彝 used until Northern Sòng is an ancient type of Chinese bronze wine vessel with a vase-like form, dating from the Shang Dynasty.

s m w d f ngd ng
Simuwu Rectangle Ding, also known as Simuwu Ancient Sacral Square Vessel or simply Simuwu Ding, was produced in the late Shang Dynasty, and the largest existing bronze ware in the world.

Only the son of heaven can boast nine dings.

司 母戊大方鼎[sīmǔwù dàfāngdǐng]
oracle bones ji g w n pictographic script
Oracle Bones--甲骨文

【jiǎgǔwén】 pictographic script found on oraclebones, it was widely used in divination, which marked the origin of Chinese writing;

Turtle carapaces/Plastron

and ox scapulae with inscriptions scratched into them were discovered about 1900 in the area of Xiaotun, a village in Henan province.

Looks like “夫妻肺片”

A famous Sichuan dish translated as “husband and wife’s Lung Slices…”

Oracle Bones--甲骨文【jiǎgǔwén】 pictographic script
conquerors were absorbed by the chinese language
In Race and Culture: A World View, Thomas Sowell states that “Nor have the conquerors always had a more advanced culture, ... eventually absorbed by the English and as various conquerors were absorbed by the Chinese...”[1] Conduct a case study on one or more instances in which various conquerors were somehow tamed by the Chinese language when gunpowder, another unique Chinese invention, failed to save the nation from time to time. Conquerors were absorbed by the Chinese Language
human sacrifices in shang
Among its cruel practice was to bury slaves alive together with a king or queen upon his or her death. As recorded and photographed in The Cambridge History of Ancient China, as many as 400 victims were found in a Shang tomb. Later emperors used terra-cotta figurines for soldiers, horses, and chariots, as witnessed in the tomb of the first emperor of Qin Dynasty.

The sacrifice of a high-ranking male\'s slaves, concubines or servants upon his death (called Xun Zang 殉葬 or more specifically Sheng Xun 生殉) was a more common form. The stated purpose was to provide companionship for the dead in afterlife. In earlier times the victims were either killed or buried alive, while later they were usually forced to commit suicide.

Human Sacrifices in Shang
functions of writing

To legitimize their rule, Shang kings relied heavily on divination, ancestral worshipping, and other forms of “Spiritual imperialism” page 10 in the source book.

Commemorative inscription on bronze ritual vessels;

Record keeping;

Record keeping by knotted ropes in ancient times;

Functions of writing
military supremacy
Military Supremacy
  • Shang infantry were armed with a variety of stone or bronze weapons, including máo spears, yuè pole-axes, ge pole-based dagger-axes, the composite bow 複合弓 (傳統弓), and bronze or leather helmets.

Famous for his physical strength—dragging nine bulls backward; shifting pillars with caresses/ease

(like changing a light bulb)

武王伐纣Zhou of Shang, name of the last ruler of the Shang Dynasty (c. 16th-11th century B.C.) reputedly a tyrant.
chairman mao s comment on zhou
Chairman Mao’s Comment on Zhou
  • Zhou of Shang is quite accomplished: he defeated the non-Chinese offences from the East. (As a matter of fact, Zhou had a road built so that his troops could get to those tribes/states in the East in a flash. As in Rome, road construction plays its military function.)
  • Zhou expanded his territory to Shandong, Anhui, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Fujian.
  • He unified the Southeast and safeguarded his people.
daji zhou s concubine
Daji (妲己; Pinyin: Dájǐ) was a favorite concubine of King Zhou of Shang, the last king of the Shang Dynasty in ancient China. She is a classic example of how a beauty causes the downfall of an empire/dynasty in Chinese culture. She is portrayed as an evil fox spirit in the Chinese novel Fengshen Yanyi. Daji, Zhou’s Concubine
daji s cruelty
Daji’s Cruelty
  • Daji said that her greatest joy was to hear people cry in physical torment. Once, she saw a farmer walking barefoot on ice and ordered his feet cut off so she could study them and figure out why they were so resistant to low temperatures. On another occasion, she had a pregnant woman‘s belly cut open so it satisfied her curiosity to find out what happened inside. To verify an ancient saying that “a good man’s heart has seven apertures”, she even had the heart of the minister Bi Gan 比干 (King Zhou\'s uncle) dug out and subjected to her fertile scrutiny.
  • Daji was best known for her invention of a method of torture known as Paolao (炮烙). A bronze cylinder covered with oil was heated like a furnace with charcoal beneath until its sides became extremely hot. The victim was made to walk on top of the slowly heating cylinder and he was forced to shift his feet to avoid the burning. The oily surface made it difficult for the victim to maintain his position and balance. If the victim falls into the charcoal below, he would be burnt to death. The victim was forced to "dance" and scream in agony before dying eventually while the observing King Zhou and Daji would laugh in delight.
zhou s cruelty
Zhou’s Cruelty
  • Once an official gave his own daughter to King Zhou, hoping to please him; however, the girl would not do things she was asked. Displeased, the king had her killed. In addition, he had her father smashed literally into human jam.
bi gan as one of caishen
Another account identifies 财神

【cáishén】 the God of Wealth. as Bi Gan, put to death by order of Zhou Xin, the last Shang emperor, who was enraged that a relative should criticize his dissolute life. Zhou Xin is said to have exclaimed that he now had a chance to verify the rumour that every sage has seven openings in his heart.

Bi Gan as one of Caishen 财神
god of wealth
God of Wealth
  • in Chinese religion, the popular god (or gods) of wealth, widely believed to bestow on his devotees the riches carried about by his attendants. During the two-week New Year celebration, incense is burned in CaiShen\'s temple (especially on the fifth day of the first lunar month), and friends joyously exchange the traditional New Year greeting “wish you wish you happiness and prosperity” (“Gongxi facai”恭喜发财).
zhao gongming as a military god of wealth
Zhao Gongming as a (Military) God of Wealth
  • The Ming-dynasty novel Fengshen Yanyi relates that when a hermit, Zhao Gongming, employed magic to support the collapsing Shang dynasty (12th century BCE), Jiang Ziya, a supporter of the subsequent Zhou-dynasty clan, made a straw effigy of Zhao and, after 20 days of incantations, shot an arrow made of peach-tree wood through the heart of the image. At that moment Zhao became ill and died. Later, during a visit to the temple of Yuan Shi, Jiang was rebuked for causing the death of a virtuous man. He carried the corpse, as ordered, into the temple, apologized for his misdeed, extolled Zhao\'s virtues, and in the name of that Daoist god canonized Zhao as CaiShen, god of wealth, and proclaimed him president of the Ministry of Wealth. (Some accounts reverse the dynastic loyalties of Zhao and Jiang.)
zhou daji
Star Gathering Palace/Tower


jiǔ chí ròu lín 酒 池 肉 林Wine Pool; Meat Forest

The pool capacity: 3000 people

Go boating

當時妲己發明了一種桃花妝.就是用各種花瓣的汁液凝成脂粉.塗在面頰上.這種脂粉被稱之為『燕脂』.所以.中國女性使用胭脂 的歷史大概自此開始.與妲己有關.

Daji invented a powder from various petals’ nectar

Zhou & Daji
zhang hongnian
Hongnian Zhang is an internationally known Chinese American artist who works in the Western academic tradition.  His paintings are in private, corporate and museum collections in America, Europe and Asia.  His work was included in Sotheby\'s first American auction of Chinese contemporary art, held in New York City in March 2006.

Sotheby\'s is a global company that engages in art auction, private sales and art-related financing activities. Founded in 1744.

Zhang Hongnian张红年
a song of a fallen nation the siren by john william waterhouse circa 1900
Another time, Zhou asked his court master musician to compose a piece of decadent music. Story goes that upon hearing his own composition, the master musician Yan got himself drowned in the River of Pu. In the Spring and Autumn Period, master musician Juan of Wei took a stroll at midnight of the river bank and heard the music, something like sirens in Homer’s Odyssey or Lorelei/Loreley in German. He reconstructed the piece and later it was named as a song of a fallen nation.

靡靡之音【mǐmǐzhīyīn】 decadent music.

a song of a fallen nationThe Siren, by John William Waterhouse (circa 1900).
siren in homer
Siren in Homer
  • In Odyssey Book 12
  • The theme of temptation as a psychological peril is portrayed by the sirens who lure sailors to their deaths by seduction. They represent the ideal audience—they sing about the most glorious moment of your life, thus tempting you to stay the hero or warrior they are portraying you as. Your own weakness makes you vulnerable; your greatest weakness comes from inside you.
sirens in homer
Sirens in Homer
  • They approach the island of the lovely Sirens, and Odysseus, as instructed by Circe, plugs his men’s ears with beeswax and has them bind him to the mast of the ship. He alone hears their song flowing forth from the island, promising to reveal the future. The Sirens’ song is so seductive that Odysseus begs to be released from his fetters, but his faithful men only bind him tighter.
the song of a fallen state w ng gu zh y n
The Song of a Fallen State亡国之音 ( wáng guó zhī yīn )
  • Yan, a court musician for King of Zhou, was asked to compose a piece of music;
  • Yan threw himself into River Pu after he heard it himself;
  • Juan, a court musician for Duke Ling of Jin State, reconstructed the piece after he heard it by the river in the middle of a night;
lorelei sign on the bank of the rhine http dictionary reference com browse lorelei s t
Lorelei sign on the bank of the Rhine
  • Lorelei refers to a quasilegendary nymph of the Rhine who lured sailors to shipwreck on her rock by singing: a creation of Clemens Brentano in a poem of 1800.