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Dynastic China. Zhou, Qin, and Han. Introduction. Isolated Could not learn from other cultures Rare invasions Distinctive identity Intellectual theory Harmony of nature – yin and yang Seek Dao – the Way Avoid access Appreciate balance of opposites. Introduction continued.

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Dynastic china

Dynastic China

Zhou, Qin, and Han


  • Isolated

    • Could not learn from other


    • Rare invasions

    • Distinctive identity

  • Intellectual theory

    • Harmony of nature – yin and yang

    • Seek Dao – the Way

      • Avoid access

      • Appreciate balance of opposites

Introduction continued
Introduction continued

  • Thesis – China emerged with an unusually well-integrated system in which government, philosophy, economic incentives, the family, and the individual were intended to blend into a harmonious whole

Patterns in classical china
Patterns in Classical China

  • Pattern of rule

    • Dynasty (family of kings) – created strong political institutions and economy

    • Dynasty weakened; subsequently taxes declined and societal divisions grew stronger

    • Invasion or internal rebellion

    • New dynasty emerged

Patterns in classical china continued
Patterns in Classical China continued

  • Mandate of Heaven – justification for Chinese imperial rule

    • The right to rule is granted by Heaven, thus granting the ruler prestige, supreme power and religious importance.

      • Son of Heaven

    • The right to rule is based on the virtue of the ruler. If the ruler is not virtuous they will lose power.

    • The Mandate of Heaven justifies rebellion as long as the rebellion is successful – if successful, the new ruler was granted the Mandate of Heaven.

Zhou dyansty 1029 258 bce
Zhou Dyansty (1029-258 BCE)

  • No powerful central government

    • Relied on an alliance system with regional princes and nobles (Feudalism)

    • Princes received land in return for troops and taxes

    • Over time this alliance grew weaker and princes disregarded the central government

Zhou dynasty continued
Zhou Dynasty continued

  • Contributions to the development of China

    • Extended territory to “Middle Kingdom” (land between the Huang he and Yangtze

    • Established the “Mandate of Heaven”

    • Greater cultural unity

      • Banned human sacrifice (encouraged restraint)

      • Standardized language – Mandarin

Qin dynasty 221 207 bce
Qin Dynasty (221-207 BCE)

  • Qin Shi Huangdi – “First Emperor”

    • Centralized his authority by ending the feudal system

      • Nobles ordered to attend court (Qin then took control of their lands)

      • Destroyed fortifications that were not necessary

        • Officials selected from non-aristocratic groups

Qin dynasty continued
Qin Dynasty continued

  • Supported Legalism

    • Chinese political philosophy that emphasized the need for order above all other human concerns

    • People needed a strong government and code of law

      • Clear rules and harsh punishments

Qin dynasty continued1
Qin Dynasty continued

  • Expanded the empire south and pushed toward the Korean Peninsula

  • Relied heavily on conscripted labor to build massive palaces and the emperor’s mausoleum

  • Built Great Wall to guard against invasion from the north

  • Executed those that who criticized him

  • Burned books of philosophy, ethics, history, literature

Qin dynasty continued2
Qin Dynasty continued

  • Innovations

    • National census – for purpose of taxation and labor

    • Standardized coins, weights, measures

    • Uniform written language

    • Irrigation Projects

    • Built an extensive system of roads to facilitate communication and troop movement

    • Promoted manufacturing – silk

Han dynasty 202 bce 220 ce
Han Dynasty (202 BCE – 220 CE)

  • Maintained the centralization of power established by the Qin, but reduced the repression

  • Expanded territory (Korea, Indochina)

  • Established a period of peace

  • Supported Confucianism

    • Built shrines

    • Stressed Confucian values in government

Han dynasty continued
Han Dynasty continued

  • Invasions – Xiongnu

    • Xiongnu were a nomadic group from central Asia that often invaded Chinese villages and trade centers

    • Han attempted to appease Xiongnu by offering them tribute and arranged marriages

    • Emperor Wudi put an end to this struggle by invading central Asia with armies as large as 100,000 soldiers

      • Crossbow

      • Defeated the Xiongnu and stretched Chinese territory into Central Asia