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Ancient China (Shang and Zhou Dynasties) Theme: The importance of rivers and the advantage of technology PowerPoint Presentation
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Ancient China (Shang and Zhou Dynasties) Theme: The importance of rivers and the advantage of technology

Ancient China (Shang and Zhou Dynasties) Theme: The importance of rivers and the advantage of technology

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Ancient China (Shang and Zhou Dynasties) Theme: The importance of rivers and the advantage of technology

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  1. Ancient China (Shang and Zhou Dynasties)Theme: The importance of rivers and the advantage of technology Lsn 4

  2. ID & SIG • Book of Songs, dynasty, bronze production monopolization in Shang and Zhou China, mandate of heaven, Shang Dynasty, tian, veneration of ancestors, Yellow River, Zhou Dynasty

  3. Importance of Rivers

  4. rivers agriculture populations cities specialization hierarchy


  6. Population Growth • Settlements began to crop up along the Yellow and Yangzi Rivers • Created a need for recognized authorities who could maintain order, resolve disputes, and organize public works projects • Village-level organizations could only act locally • Small dynasties followed that extended their control over progressively larger regions

  7. Dynasties • “A sequence of powerful leaders in the same family” • Shang Dynasty 1766 to 1122 B.C. • Zhou Dynasty 1122 to 256 B.C. • Tang Dynasty 618 to 907 A.D. • Song Dynasty 960 to 1279 A.D. Shang Dynasty

  8. Characteristics of a Civilization • Intensive agricultural techniques • Specialization of labor • Cities • A social hierarchy (We’ll discuss mandate of heaven in more detail in Lsn 16) • Organized religion and education (We’ll cover Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism in Lsn 16) • Development of complex forms of economic exchange • Development of new technologies • Advanced development of the arts. (This can include writing.)

  9. Agriculture

  10. Yellow River • Takes its name from the vast quantities of loess soil it picks up along its route • Loess is an extremely fine and powder-like soil that gradually builds up in the river bed, raising the river bed and forcing the water out of its established path • Yellow River periodically unleashes terrible floods, earning it the nickname “China’s Sorrow”

  11. Agriculture • Loess soil is extremely fertile and easy to work • Even before the introduction of metal tools, cultivators with wooden instruments could generate large harvests

  12. Crops • Initially, millet was the main crop (especially in the north) • Sometime thereafter, the Chinese began cultivating rice (especially in the south where the Yangzi River is less prone than the Yellow River to devastating floods) • Extensive rice production would require developing a complex irrigation system (made possible by the centralizing authority of the Shang and Zhou Dynasties)

  13. Cities Ruins of Banpo Village near modern Xian

  14. Cities: Shang • Vast network of walled towns whose local rulers recognized authority of the Shang kings • Shang rulers moved their capital six times • Capital at Yin (near modern Anyang) contained a complex of royal palaces and eleven large and lavish royal tombs Royal tomb at Anyang

  15. Social Hierarchy King Wen of Zhou China

  16. Social Hierarchy: Shang and early Zhou • Royal family and allied noble families • Resided in large, palatial compounds and lived on the agricultural surplus and taxes delivered by their subjects • Power tied to bronze • Privileged class of hereditary aristocrats • Rose from the military allies of the rulers • Possessed extensive land holdings and performed military and administrative tasks • Some access to education for those who lived in cities • Detailed rules of etiquette during Zhou era

  17. Social Hierarchy: Ancient Shang and early Zhou • Small class of free artisans and craftsmen • Lived in cities • Those who worked almost extensively for the privileged classes lived reasonably comfortably • Peasants • Semi-servile class that lived in the countryside and did not own land • Provided agricultural, military, and labor services for lords in exchange for plots to cultivate, security, and a portion of the harvest • Slaves • Most were captured enemy warriors • Performed hard labor that required a large work force such as clearing fields or building city walls • During the Shang Dynasty many were victims of human sacrifice during funerals and other religious and ritual observances

  18. Specialization Bronze storage jar from Zhou Dynasty Silk making

  19. Specialization • Bronzesmiths • Jewelers • Jade workers • Embroiderers • Manufacturers of silk textiles • Silkworms are fed mulberry leaves, they molt and spin cocoons, then workers boil the cocoons to produce the raw silk. Silkworm cocoon

  20. Religion and Education Bronze wine vessel used for rituals to honor ancestors during Shang Dynasty

  21. Religion • Ancient China did not have an organized religion or official priesthood • Did not recognize a personal supreme deity who intervened in human affairs or took a special interest in human behavior • Did speak of an impersonal heavenly power– tian (“heaven”)– that was responsible for bestowing and removing the mandate of heaven on rulers

  22. Religion • Instead, the patriarchal head of the family presided over rites and ceremonies venerating ancestors’ spirits • Believed that the spirits of ancestors passed into another realm of existence from which they had the power to support and protect their surviving families if the families demonstrated the proper respect and ministered to the spirit’s needs Burning paper gifts for the departed is one traditional form of ancestor worship

  23. Economic Exchange Cowrie shells used as money

  24. Economic Exchange • Somewhat limited by the mountain ranges and deserts that stood between China and India and southwest Asia • Shipbuilding emerged during Zhou era and facilitated trade • Evidence of • Cowrie shells from Burma and the Maldives • Military technology from Mesopotamia • Jade from central Asia • Tin from Malay

  25. New Technologies Silk making

  26. New Technologies: Silk • During the Zhou era, the Chinese discovered how to make silk from the cocoons of silkworms. • Silk would become China’s most valuable export, eventually linking them with most of the world through trade. • We’ll talk more about this in Lesson 23 on the Silk Roads

  27. New Technologies: Bookbinding • Chinese artisans learned how to bind together long, thin strips of wood or bamboo to make books

  28. New Technologies: Shang and Military Success • Shang ruling elites were able to monopolize production of bronze in the Yellow River Valley by controlling access to copper and tin ores • Allowed Shang forces to defeat Xia forces who were equipped with only stone, wood, and bone weapons • Shang nobles used bronze to make fittings for horse-drawn chariots

  29. New Technologies: Shang and Military Success • Shang were also able to exert military might over the Xia through bows Shang pictograph of composite bow

  30. New Technologies: Zhou and Military Failure • Zhou kings were not able to monopolize bronze production as the Shang had • Moreover, iron technology was spreading rapidly throughout China • Iron ores were cheaper and more abundant than copper and tin so Zhou could not monopolize iron • Subordinates were able to outfit their forces with iron which enabled them to resist the central government • When nomads invaded the Zhou capital at Hao in 771 B.C., the subordinates refused to support the king

  31. New Technologies • The Great Wall of China originated as a defensive barrier against tribal intrusions • Construction started in the seventh century B. C. and spanned over 20 states and dynasties • Two sections were built during the Zhou era • As China unified, the various sections were connected

  32. Art and Writing Writing on bamboo strips Bronze from Sang Dynasty

  33. Writing • The earliest form of Chinese writing was the pictograph • Pictographs were combined into ideographes to represent complex or abstract notions • The combination of “mother” and “child” renders “good” • Unlike most other languages, written Chinese did not include an alphabetic or phonetic component

  34. Writing: Oracle Bones • Principal instrument used by fortune tellers in Ancient China • Diviners inscribed a question on a broad bone such as a tortoise shell and placed it in a fire • The fortune teller used the cracks that developed to divine the question’s answer

  35. Book of Songs • Collection of 331 poems from the Zhou era • Represent a variety of subjects • Political themes • Ritualistic hymns • Life • Love and friendship • Family • Work and play

  36. Burning of Books • Many works were lost when Qin came to power in 221 B.C. and ordered all books on poetry, history, and philosophy burned for fear they would inspire doubts about his government or encourage an independence of mind

  37. Next • Resurgent (Tang and Song) China