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River Valley Civs in China. World History Ms. Guerin. By the end of this lesson you should be able to answer:. 1. Why is the Yellow River yellow? How is the Yellow River Valley different from Mesopotamia and Egypt? 2. What system of government and social structure did ancient China have?

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river valley civs in china

River Valley Civs in China

World History

Ms. Guerin

by the end of this lesson you should be able to answer
By the end of this lesson you should be able to answer:
  • 1. Why is the Yellow River yellow? How is the Yellow River Valley different from Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • 2. What system of government and social structure did ancient China have?
  • 3. What is the Mandate of Heaven?
  • 4. Explain family hierarchy and ancestor importance (religious).
  • 5. Why is emperor Qin Shi Huangdi famous?
  • 6. What are some tech advances made in ancient China?
china s geography
China’s geography
  • Yellow River valley – starts in Tibetan plateau – name comes from color of loess soil (powderlike, from glaciers) –fertile, but violent floods
  • Lots of rain– don’t need to irrigate, unlike Mesopotamia, but need to control floods
  • pottery and bone tools by 5000 BCE
  • Agriculture also in Yangzi R. valley
slide5
Xia
  • (2200 – 1700 BCE) established hereditary monarchical rule
  • Xia emperor Yu “tamed the Yellow River (Huang He)” by building canals and dredging silt from river – part legend
  • Reflects values of social harmony, selflessness, dedication to work –similar to AES values 
  • Bronze metallurgy – rulers controlled village leaders w/ bronze weapons
second ancient dynasty shang
Second ancient dynasty: Shang
  • 1766-1122 BCE
  • Bronze metallurgy and horse-drawn chariots (from Indo-European migrants – names show Indo –Euro origin) probably enabled takeover of Xia
  • State monopoly on bronze production by controlling access to tin and copper ore
  • Bigger than Xia
  • Military forces, walled towns
  • Royal graves included dogs, servants, cowry shells, etc.
  • Writing! - on oracle bones – predictions
development of writing in china
Development of writing in China
  • Unlike Meso, Indus R. civs, Shang developed writing to serve rulers, not track sales
    • Diviners used broad bones from sheep, turtles, scratched question then heated bone, interpreted cracks that developed.

Can you interpret the cracks here? Read translation on next page.

shang oracle bone reading
Shang Oracle Bone reading

.

Question: Will there be harm in the next 10 days?The king, reading the cracks, said, "There will be no harm; there will perhaps be the coming of alarming news.“

[Verification:] When it came to the fifth day, ding-you, there really was the the coming of alarming news from the west.

ZhiGuo, reporting, said, "The Du Fang [a border people] are besieging in our eastern borders and have harmed two settlements." The Gong-fang also raided the fields of our western borders.

fu hao powerful shang concubine
Fu Hao – powerful Shang concubine
  • Tomb shows high status– lots of bronze, cowry shells
  • Served as general on military campaigns
  • Supervised own estate and presided over sacrificial ceremonies that were traditionally male responsibility
third ancient dynasty zhou
Third ancient dynasty: Zhou
  • Dates 1122-221, but includes Period of Warring States, 403-221 BCE, when Zhou fighting for control
  • defeated Shang dynasty through effective organization of allies in western region
  • NEW Political theory – “mandate of heaven” – emperor intermediary between heaven and earth – but duty to rule w/ high standards, harmony – otherwise, displeased heavenly powers withdraw mandate
class structure
Class structure
  • Royalty– owned lots of bronze
  • Hereditary aristocrats – landowners, most lived in cities, worked as administrators – published table etiquette manual
  • Free artisans/craftsmen, “comfortable” economically
  • Merchants traded w/ oar-propelled boats – w/ Korea in Shang years, more shipbuilding in Zhou
  • Peasants - like Sumerian “dependent clients” – owned no land but worked in exchange for plot usage – underground houses (3 ft down)
  • Slaves – most were enemy warriors – heavy labor and sacrificial victims
importance of family
Importance of family
  • Veneration of ancestors– belief that if ancestors respected, they support you – family cooperation and solidarity important
  • No organized religion (unlike Nile River civ), but family patriarch presided at ancestral rites
  • Before Zhou, male power came through matrilineal descent, this encouraged families to honor females – during Zhou, Chinese society became more patriarchal
demise of the zhou
Demise of the Zhou
  • Zhou state larger than Shang –decentralized
  • Uh-oh - regions set up own armies, built up own stockpiles of bronze weapons and, after 1000 BCE, iron (cheaper!)
  • Yet another blow to Zhou (rhymes) - all over for Zhou dominance.

Warring States Period

china s great unifier emperor qin shi huangdi

China’s Great Unifier – Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi

The Qin Dynasty – 221 B.C.E. – 207 B.C.E.

qin shi huangdi
Qin Shi Huangdi
  • Qin kingdom dominated other states during the warring period
  • 221 B.C.E. imposed centralized imperial rule
  • divided China into administrative regions
  • standardized laws, currency, weights, measures, and script
  • built roads to help communication and the movement of armies
  • built foundation of modern Great Wall of China
  • Built own tomb w/ thousands of individualized terra cotta warriors
slide19

The “Dark Side” of Qin Shi Huangdi

  • scholars who criticized him were buried alive
  • burned all books on ethics, literature, and philosophy  many lost (sob) forever
  • kept only books on military strategy, agriculture
  • Fall of Qin dynasty – 207 BCE.
  • laborers used on public work projects angry; after Qin Shihuangdi’s death they revolted
do now
Do Now:
  • 1. Why is the Yellow River yellow? How is the Yellow River Valley different from Mesopotamia and Egypt?
  • 2. What system of government and social structure did ancient China have?
  • 3. What is the Mandate of Heaven?
  • 4. Explain family hierarchy and ancestor importance (religious).
  • 5. Why is emperor Qin Shi Huangdi famous?
  • 6. What are some tech advances made in ancient China?