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CHINA ’ S FLOURISHING CIVILIZATION 1100 BCE – 200 CE Version 2. The Three Dynasties Three Ways of Life Society and Culture. The Enduring Zhou. Chinese keep track of time by the last name of the ruling family. Zhou (JOH) dynasty Qin (CHIN) dynasty Han (HAHN) dynasty. The Enduring Zhou.

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china s flourishing civilization 1100 bce 200 ce version 2


The Three Dynasties

Three Ways of Life

Society and Culture

the enduring zhou
The Enduring Zhou
  • Chinese keep track of time by the last name of the ruling family.
    • Zhou (JOH) dynasty
    • Qin (CHIN) dynasty
    • Han (HAHN) dynasty
the enduring zhou3
The Enduring Zhou
  • Claiming “Mandate of Heaven” the Zhou family defeated the ruling Shang family in 1028 BCE.
  • Zhou emperors ruled for 800 years!
the enduring zhou4
The Enduring Zhou
  • Called their kings the Son of Heaven.
    • Who would defy a ruler called that????
zhou powers
Zhou Powers
  • First few Zhou emperors invaded and conquered many of the lands that make up China.
  • They set up “states” and put relatives in charge.
    • Figured on family loyalty.
zhou powers6
Zhou Powers
  • The relative who was governor of the state could give out land to nobles – depending on the nobles’ loyalty.
    • Peasants worked the land under the nobles’ orders.
did the system work
Did the System Work?
  • Family loyalty vs. GREED.
  • Greed won!
zhou power
Zhou Power
  • Local lord had total authority on his lands and built his own army.
  • In time, they were stronger than any “Son of Heaven” Zhou.
lack of zhou power
Lack of Zhou Power
  • 771 BCE – Zhou kings realized they were being outpowered on the battlefields.
  • Were not major power players between 771 – 200 BCE.
maybe the zhous were not the most powerful kings but they are remembered for
Maybe the Zhous were not the most powerful kings – BUT they are remembered for …
  • Building roads
  • Expanded foreign trade.
  • Obtained horses and created CAVALRY.
  • The crossbow.
  • Iron plows for farming
  • Irrigation
  • Writing by symbols.
zhou china
Zhou China
  • Became the most densely populated country in the world.
    • No famines = lots of people.
    • Wars were just between nobles = not many people died = lots of people.
the mighty qin
The Mighty Qin
  • China gets their name from the Qin family.
  • 221 BCE Qins had wiped out the Zhous.
  • Conquered northern China.
  • Strong, centralized authority!
the mighty qin13
The Mighty Qin
  • Qin Shihuangdi (SHUR-HWONG-DEE)
    • Kept local nobles from becoming too powerful to control.
    • Devised weight and measure system
    • Standardized money
    • Standardized writing
    • Law code for all China.
the mighty qin14
The Mighty Qin
  • Shihuangdi wasn’t QUITE a nice guy.
    • Used slaves and forced labor to accomplish all that building.
the great wall of china
The Great Wall of China
  • The Qin realized they needed better defense in the north.
    • Nomadic attacks
the great wall of china16
The Great Wall of China
  • Walls had been built, but none were connected.
  • Qin changed that!
  • 300,000 peasants toiled to build the 1,400 mile wall.
    • Thousands died.
qin s strict rules
Qin’s Strict Rules
  • Qin Shihuangdi in 213 BCE ordered all books burned not dealing with “practical” things
    • Agriculture
    • Medicine
    • Magic
    • 460 scholars who resisted were executed.
qin s strict rules18
Qin’s Strict Rules

“Anyone referring to the past to criticize the present … shall be put to death.”

Qin Shihuangdi

qin s strict rule
Qin’s Strict Rule
  • Subjects hated him.
    • Thought he had lost the Mandate of Heaven.
    • Nobles hated his destroying their power.
    • Peasants hated his forced labor gangs.
    • Scholars hated his burning of books.
210 bce qin died
210 BCE: Qin Died
  • The dynasty itself came to an end.
  • BUT New ways of of organizing a nation were kept for nearly 2000 years.
the glorious han
The Glorious Han
  • 207 BCE: Liu Bang (LYOH BONG) overthrew the Qin government.
  • Military official with a peasant background.
  • 202 BCE defeated all who challenged him.
the glorious han22
The Glorious Han
  • Family ruled until 220 CE, more than 400 years.
  • Used Qin government structure but without the cruelty.
    • Well, MOSTLY without cruelty.
the glorious han23
The Glorious Han
  • Greatest Leader was Wudi (WOO-DEE).
  • Ruled 141 – 87 BCE.
  • Dynamic and talented.
  • Expanded China’s borders.
the glorious han24
The Glorious Han
  • Wudi sent a general and explorer to see what was west of China.
  • General Zhang Quian (JAHNG CHYEN) came back 13 years later.
the glorious han25
The Glorious Han
  • General Zhang Quian had his army wiped out and had been a captive for ten years.
  • Described a people with huge cities of people with short hair, riding in chariots and wore embroidered robes.
  • General Zhang Quian had been to ROME.
  • For the first time, China was made aware there was another kingdom as great as theirs.
the silk road
The Silk Road
  • Wudi, hearing the tales, started expanding trade routes called THE SILK ROAD.
  • Allowed trade of Chinese silk for Middle Eastern and European products like gold, glassware, wool and linen.
  • Took 7 years for a round-trip!
pax sinica
Pax Sinica
  • Pax Sinica = Chinese Peace.
  • 400 years of prosperity and stability.
wudi reforms during the pax sinica
Wudi Reforms during the Pax Sinica
  • Government agents stored excess food in good times – to use in famine times.
  • Chose government people on skills NOT because of family connections.
    • Took tests in what became the CIVIL SERVICE.
rise of the mandarins
Rise of the Mandarins
  • Since usually only the rich could afford an education – they were the ones that could pass the tests.
  • Mandarins: Well-education civil servants controlled the government until the 1900s CE.
end of the hans
End of the Hans
  • 220 CE.
  • Left a lasting legacy in government, technology, science and the arts.
section 2 three ways of life
Section 2: Three Ways of Life
  • Confucianism
  • Daoism (Taoism)
  • Buddhism
  • Kongzi
    • Born 551 BCE to poor family
    • 12 years he wandered China looking for a position as a government advisor.
    • Found a better way to spread his ideas for peace – be a teacher.

Basic Beliefs of Confucianism

  • Ethics to live by:
    • Respect for family, especially elders.
      • Filial Piety
    • Reverence for past and its traditions


  • Taught “filial piety” (children’s respect for parents)
  • Believed parent / child relationship represents society in miniature and that teachings at home prepare children for life in community.


  • Government was to set example of righteous conduct.
  • Rulers must be
    • Ethical
    • Have integrity
    • Inspire loyalty
    • Understand proper behavior
    • Appreciate culture
confucianism after confucius
Confucianism After Confucius
  • The Zhou government did not accept Confucius’s teachings during his life.
  • Later scholars added their ideas.
  • Made Confucianism into a religion.
confucianism after confucius38
Confucianism After Confucius
  • During the Han Dynasty, Confucius’ teachings provided the basics for Wudi’s civil service system.
  • Basis of Chinese society and government until 1900s.


  • Time: 500 BCE
  • Origination: China
  • Founder: Laozi “Old Master”
  • Written Documents: Dao De Jing, a classical writing.
laozi low dzuh
Laozi (LOW-DZUH)
  • Rejected formal social structures of Confucius.
  • Shunned public life – so little is known about him.

Basic Beliefs of Daoism

  • Emphasis on harmony and nature, simplicity
  • Ying and Yang, two opposing forces present in all nature; must be in balance to achieve harmony.
  • By emphasizing harmony with nature, Daoists deeply influenced Chinese painting and poetry.
a person could be both a daoist and confucian
A person could be BOTH a Daoist and Confucian
  • Confucianism was knowing your place in the social order.
  • Daoism emphasized harmony with the individual attuned to nature.
buddhism in china
Buddhism in China
  • Buddhism reached China as the Han Dynasty was collapsing.
  • Emphasis on personal salvation in Nirvana appealed to many.

Pagodas instead of Stupas

buddhism blended with chinese religions
Buddhism Blended with Chinese Religions
  • Confucianism could follow its Eightfold Path.
  • Daoists could admire the meditation.
  • Buddhism was widely embraced by China by 400 CE.
section 3 society and culture family life
Section 3: Society and CultureFamily Life
  • Family did not relate as equals.
  • Hierarchy – levels of importance.
  • Head of Family was eldest male.
  • Next was all the males by age.
family life hierarchy
Family Life Hierarchy
  • Next was the mother
  • All daughters down to youngest or childless daughter-in-laws.
  • All family expected obedience from those beneath them.
family rules
Family Rules
  • Family members knew their rules and not doing their duties as expected brought dishonor on the family.
  • Duty to ancestors kept you loyal even after death.
family rules49
Family Rules
  • Han Families were not EXTENDED.
    • Different generations living together.
    • Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Grandparents.
  • Families were like today’s NUCLEAR FAMILIES.
    • Parents and Children
family rules50
Family Rules
  • Father assigned children’s careers, determined education, arranged marriages, controlled finances and gave rewards and punishments.
  • Had to provide for old, sick and even lazy.
status of women
Status of Women
  • Women were SUBORDINATE to men.
  • Girls subservient to fathers and brothers.
  • When married, subsurvient to husbands and inlaws.
  • If she became a mother of a son – her son had authority over her when he grew up.
status of women under the han
Status of Women under the Han
  • Women could inherit property
  • Own something on their own after they married.
  • Could remarry after a husband’s death.
society and economy
Society and Economy
  • Three Classes.
    • Landowners
    • Peasants
      • 90% of the population!
    • Merchants
the landowners
The Landowners
  • Lived in mansions surrounded by walls to protect them from bandits.
  • Wealth rarely lasted past a few generations.
    • ALL sons inherited from their father.
    • The “pie” of land became smaller and smaller.
    • Less power.
the peasants
The Peasants
  • Supported the rich by their labor.
  • Lived in villages and tended the land of the nobles.
  • Paid rent for the land.
  • Paid taxes and one month a year had to do public works projects.
  • Later they could be drafted into the army.
the peasants56
The Peasants
  • Floods and famines took their toll.
  • Taxes also prevented them from getting ahead.
the bottom of the social ladder the merchants
The Bottom of the Social Ladder:The Merchants
  • Shopkeepers, traders, bankers, government workers.
  • Tended to be richer than the landowners.
  • Held in contempt because pursuing profit was “unworthy” of a “superior” individual.
literature in china
Literature in China
  • Five Classics
    • Written before Confucius.
    • Oldest is BOOK OF SONGS
      • Written 1000 – 600 BCE.
      • 305 of earlies poems.
        • Politics, ritual, romance themes
the five classics
The Five Classics
  • Book of Documents
    • Early Zhou history
  • Book of Changes
    • Kind of a Nostradamus book
  • Spring and Autumn Annals
    • History
  • Analects
    • Confucius
science and technology
Science and Technology
  • Chinese astronomers had calculated the proper length of a year.
    • 365 ¼ days = 1 year
science and technology61
Science and Technology
  • First to use telescopes in China.
  • 240 BCE first to record what is today known as Halley’s Comet.
chinese medicine
Chinese Medicine
  • First to recognize that nutrition was important.
  • Herbal medicine
  • Acupuncture – restores the balance between the Yin and Yang
farming and transport
Farming and Transport
  • Irrigation diverted rivers to get water to remote fields.
  • Realized fertilizer helped land.
  • Veterinary medicine began.
  • Canals used as roadways.
  • Silk – made from worms.
  • Paper invented 100 BCE.
    • Used first for wrapping and clothing before they discovered excellent for writing.
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Casting bronze and iron.
  • Suspension bridge
  • The compass,
  • Gunpowder.
  • China had these a thousand years before Europe.