China's First Dynasties
Dynasty Example: Definition: A series of rulers from the same family Similar to: What it is NOT:
The Xia (SHAH) Dynasty • Founded by: Yu the Great in 2200 BC • Settled near Huang He (Yellow River) • No written records about life in Xia Dynasty. Knowledge comes from town ruins, ancient stories and legends • Many legends about Xia Dynasty about kings who helped people to solve their problems by working together • Terrible floods during Yu’s lifetime. Yu dug channels to drain water to the ocean. This created the major waterways of north China.
Ancient Story from Xia Dynasty • On a warm spring day, in Xia times, some children went out in the fields to play. In those days, if you had a problem you went to see the local wise woman. In this village, the wise woman's name was Loawnu. • Alarmed at what they saw in the fields, the children ran up the hill to Loawnu's house. "Loawnu," they shouted. "The sky is falling down!" Loawnu smiled at the children. "Don't be worried. Find all the pieces of sky that have fallen, and bring them to me. I'll sew them together again in time for the festival." • The spring festival was nearing. This was a time when the young people gathered from many villages to meet one another and to find husbands and wives. The children's village had been honored this year as the meeting village. It would be a horrible time for the sky to fall down. The village would be disgraced! Off the children ran to pick up the pieces. But some were missing! "Loawnu!" cried the children, as they tore up the hill, breathing heavily. Loawnu only smiled. • The next day, the children ran outside and looked up. The sky looked as it always looked on a warm spring day, clean and fresh and blue. They were so happy. That night, they were amazed! The sky had always been dark at night. That night, it was filled with light! Loawnu had patched the missing pieces of sky with bright twinkling light! How beautiful! How clever! We shall have the happiest spring festival in all the land! How lucky we are to know Loawnu! All the village agreed.
The Shang Dynasty • Established in 1500s BC • Huang He Valley • Shang ruled a broad (large) area in northern China • Shang rulers moved their capital several times. WHY? • To avoid floods or attack by enemies
Shang Dynasty • Social order (classes) became organized KING & ROYAL FAMILY Center of religious and political life Owned land. Passed on wealth & power to sons NOBLES WARRIOR LEADERS Lived in large homes in cities all over China ARTISANS Lived outside city walls. Lived in groups based on what they made (weapons, pottery, tools, clothing) FARMERS Worked long hours; little $$ because they paid taxes SLAVES Important source of labor
Do Now: Shang Dynasty Government Who had the power? Religion Who was in charge? What were some religious practices? Society Social classes Achievements Inventions and innovations
Advances of Shang Dynasty • China’s first writing system • Over 2,000 symbols to express words or ideas • Symbols that are used today were started in the Shang Dynasty • The development of the word: Horse
Advances of the Shang Dynasty • Artisans made: • bronze containers (cooking/religious ceremonies) • axes, knives and ornaments from jade • Military developed: • War chariots, powerful bows, bronze body armor • Astrologers contributed: • Developed a calendar based on the cycles of the moon jade A very tough stone
Oracle Example: Definition: A prediction (an educated guess) Similar to: What it is NOT:
“Fortune Tellers” of the Shang Dynasty • Shang writing has been found on…cattle bones and turtle shells! • Priests carved questions about the future on the bones, then heated them, causing them to crack. The priests “read” these cracks and predicted the future. • Why were these bones called oracle bones? • These bones were called oracle bones because an oracle is a prediction.