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China: A Brief Background Introduction. Early China in Eastern Hemisphere Context . Chinese Agriculture = c. 4000 BCE; Chinese Civilization = 1766 BCE. Early Traditional Chinese Yin/Yang Values.

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early china in eastern hemisphere context
Early China in Eastern Hemisphere Context

Chinese Agriculture = c. 4000 BCE; Chinese Civilization = 1766 BCE

Earliest Chinese Civilization: Warrior Aristocratic Rule in Shang (1766-1122 BCE) and Western Zhou (1122-700s BCE)

Oracle Bones

War Chariot

shang oracle bone on lady hao s childbirth
Shang Oracle Bone on Lady Hao’s Childbirth

Que divined: Lady Hao will give birth and it will be good

Prognostication: The King read the cracks and said: “If it be on a ding day that she give birth, it will be good. If it be on a geng day that she give birth , it will be prolonged auspiciousness.”

Verification: [After] thirty-one days, on jiajin, she gave birth. It was not good. It was a girl

Early Zhou Continue Shang Aristocratic Ways, But Late Zhou (770 – 200s BCE) China Really Divided into Warring States
late zhou roots of new classical china
Late Zhou = Roots of New, Classical China
  • Great Thinkers try understand what makes best world:
    • Legalists say must have harsh rule for order
    • Daoists say small or no government best
    • Confucius says rule by excellent men, for sake of all, is best (eventually becomes China’s ruling belief – but not for several centuries)
  • All assume patriarchal family, some male dominance
basic confucian ideas
Basic Confucian Ideas
  • Ruler & state should serve all the people
  • Educated gentlemen make the best officials
  • Peasants are foundation of state; craftspeople are OK; merchants have little value
  • Women should submit to men
qin shi huangdi unifies rules china 221 210 bce
Qin Shi Huangdi Unifies, Rules China 221-210 BCE
  • Marks end of aristocrat-dominated era Early Chinese Civilization
  • Creates unified bureaucratic-centered state – needed to end wars among small states, be able withstand nomad attacks
  • Later Scholars say fell because of its harsh Legalist philosophy
confucian era lasts 2000 years
Confucian Era Lasts 2000+ Years

Han Era, 206 BCE – 220 CE

(Era of Disunity = 220 – 581)

Tang Era, 618 - 906

Song Era, 960 - 1276

(Mongol Conquest Era = 1200s – 1368)

Ming Era, 1368 – 1644

Qing Era, 1644 - 1911