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Ancient China. The Shang Dynasty. The Shang Dynasty. Migration to the Yellow River Valley: Archeological evidence suggests that there were small agricultural settlements in the Chinese river valley as early as 4, 500 B.C.E. The Shang Dynasty dates from 1,700 B.C.E.

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Ancient china

Ancient China

The Shang Dynasty

The shang dynasty
The Shang Dynasty

Migration to the Yellow River Valley:

Archeological evidence suggests that there were small agricultural settlements in the Chinese river valley as early as 4, 500 B.C.E.

The Shang Dynasty dates from 1,700 B.C.E.

Like the river valleys of the Nile and the Fertile Crescent, the Huang He river valley invited early settlement.

Geography of ancient china
Geography of Ancient China

  • Mountains make up 1/3 of China’s area

  • The Himalayas close off China to the southwest

  • The western boarder is closed off by the Kunlun Shan and Tian Shan ranges

  • To the east of these mountains lies the vast Gobi desert

  • China’s coastline touches the Pacific Ocean, though not many of the early Chinese became seafarers

Huang he river valley
Huang He River Valley

  • Three major rivers drain eastern China:

    • Huang He (Hwong huh)

    • Yangtze

    • Xi Jiang (Shee Jyang)

  • The Huang He flows nearly 3,000 miles, from the northern highlands to the Yellow Sea

The Huang He (Yellow River) is associated with great sorrow and

great blessing. The floods produced by this river were often

completely devastating, killing whole towns and cities of people.

Geography affords nationalism
Geography Affords Nationalism

Nationalism:loyalty and devotion to a nation; especially: a sense of national consciousness exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations

What about the geography of China would help to foster nationalism?

Ruling power
Ruling Power

  • Monarchy and Dynasty

  • The Shang dyansty was an aristocrastic society, with a king ruling over the military nobility.

  • Territorial rulers were appointed by him in return for their support in his military campaigns. Underneath the aristocratic class was the priest class.

  • The priests kept the records of the government and were also in charge of religion.


  • The Shang worshipped the "Shang Ti."

  • This god ruled as a supreme god over lesser gods, the sun, the moon, the wind, the rain, and other natural forces and places.

  • Highly ritualized, ancestor worship became a part of the Shang religion.

  • The king served as chief priest (theocratic)

  • Sacrifice to the gods and the ancestors was also a major part of the Shang religion.

  • When a king died, hundreds of slaves and prisoners were often sacrificed and buried with him. People were also sacrificed in lower numbers when important events, such as the founding of a palace or temple, occurred.

Chinese mythology
Chinese Mythology

  • Over the centuries, the Chinese have developed many myths to explain their remote past

  • The most famous myth is regarding the founding of China’s Xia Dynasty. No record has yet supported the existence of this dynasty, thus the Shang is the first official dynasty.

Crops and food
Crops and Food

  • This dynasty was based on agriculture; millet, wheat, and barley were the primary crops grown. In addition to the crops, silkworms, pigs, dogs, sheep, and oxen were raised.

Art and technology
Art and Technology

  • Vertical writing (columns from right to left)

  • -Perfected metal-casting

  • -Produced some of the finest bronze objects ever made

  • -Ivory and jade carvings

  • -Wove and colored silk

  • -Excellent pottery makers (white clay)

The end of the shang
The End of the Shang

  • The fall of the Shang dynasty was much like that of the legendary Xia dynasty, the last king was a cruel tyrant.

  • Instead of the people overthrowing the king, he was killed by a king from a rival kingdom, the Chou kingdom in 1000 B.C.E.

  • The Chou dynasty was part of the Shang kingdom; its civilization was a combination of the Shang culture and that of non-Chinese civilizations.

  • ** During the later dynasties (Qin- Ming, Chinese led the world in engineering, production, and technology).