River Dynasties of China

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Transcript River Dynasties of China

River Dynasties of China
A dynasty is a sequence of rulers
considered members of the same family.
The Xia Dynasty of China (from c. 2100 to c.
1600 BC) is the first dynasty to be described in
ancient historical records
The earliest written record of Chinese past so
far discovered dates from the Shang Dynasty in
perhaps the 13th century BC and takes the
form of inscriptions of divination records on the
bones or shells of animals—the socalled oracle bones.
The Zhou Dynasty was the longest-lasting
dynasty in Chinese history, from 1066 BC to
approximately 256 BC.
The Mandate of Heaven is a well-accepted and popular idea among the people
of China, as it argues for the removal of incompetent or despotic rulers, and
provided an incentive for rulers to rule well and justly. The concept is often
invoked by philosophers and scholars in ancient China as a way to curtail the
abuse of power by the ruler, in a system that otherwise offered no other check to
this power. The Mandate of Heaven had no time limitations, instead depending
on the just and able performance of the ruler. In the past, times
of poverty and natural disasters were taken as signs that heaven considered the
incumbent ruler unjust and thus in need of replacement.
More than 26 dynasties ruled China until 1911.
The Qing dynasty collapses and is replace by
the Republic of China
Decline of Dynasties
• From 1027 to 256 B.C.
– Period of warring states
– Invaders came from the North and disrupted
the dynastic cycle
• Prior to invasions warfare was honorable
and fought with rules, after there was no
law and order
In China, as in West Asia, Africa, or Europe,
most people have spent most of their time
farming for the last ten thousand years. In
northern China, people mostly farm wheat,
while in southern China it is mostly rice.
In the Shang Dynasty (about
2000 BC), the earliest period we
know much about, people in
China worshipped a lot of
different gods - weather gods
and sky gods - and also a higher
god who ruled over the other
gods, called Shang-Ti.
Around 1500 BC, people began to use
written oracle bones to try to find out what was
going to happen in the future. By the time of
the Chou Dynasty (about 1100 BC), the Chinese
were also worshipping a natural force called t'ien,
which we usually translate as Heaven. Like
Shang-Ti, Heaven ruled over all the other gods.
Heaven also decided who would be the
Emperor or Empress of China. The emperor or
empress could only rule as long as he or she
had the Mandate of Heaven (as long as
Heaven wanted him or her to rule). You knew
when the emperor or empress had lost the
Mandate of Heaven because he or she would
then be overthrown by somebody else who
would become the new emperor or empress.
China’s Leader
• Mandate of Heaven- a just
ruler had divine approval
– A wicked or foolish ruler
could lose the Mandate of
• How would the Mandate
of Heaven work in United
States politics?
Around 600 BC, under the Eastern Chou
Dynasty, and for the next two hundred years,
there were a lot of new ideas in Chinese
religion. First, a Chinese philosopher named
Lao Tzu (he may be mythical) created the
philosophy of Taoism, which became very
Taoists believe that there is a universal force
flowing through all living things, and that
respecting that force is essential to a happy life.
Confucianism holds that people should do their
duty and follow their leaders and the gods
faithfully. Order is the way to peace. If everyone
just does what they are told, and what they are
supposed to do, there won't be any fighting and
nobody will be upset.
Buddhism has played an
enormous role in shaping the
mindset of the Chinese people,
affecting their aesthetics,
politics, literature, philosophy
and medicine.
Emperor Ming (58–75 CE)
precipitated the introduction of
Buddhist teachings into China.
Buddhism is a religion and
philosophy encompassing a
variety of traditions, beliefs and
practices, largely based on
teachings attributed
to Siddhartha Gautama,
commonly known as the Buddha
But these new philosophies did not end the old
religious practices. Everybody kept on
worshipping their ancestors and the traditional
Chinese gods, and they kept on believing in
the Mandate of Heaven.
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The ancient Chinese invented many things we use
today, including paper, silk, matches, wheelbarrows,
gunpowder, the decimal system, the waterwheel,
the sundial, astronomy, porcelain china, lacquer
paint, pottery wheel, fireworks, paper money,
compass, seismograph, medicines, dominoes, jump
rope, kites, tea ceremony, folding umbrella, ink,
calligraphy, animal harness, playing cards, printing,
abacus, wallpaper, the crossbow, ice cream, and ...
well, you get the idea.
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• Family was central
– Most important virtue
was respect for one’s
• Writing
– Helped unite diverse
– How could a unified
writing system do this?
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dynasties were
protected by
the Himalaya
Mountains to
the west and
Yellow Sea to
the east
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dynasties were
protected by
the Himalaya
Mountains to
the west and
Yellow Sea to
the east
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Chinese civilization originated in various
regional centers along both the Yellow
River and the Yangtze River valleys in
the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said
to be the Cradle of Chinese Civilization
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The Yellow River Carried silt, and deposited it
along it’s banks
“China’s Sorrow”
Nickname for the Yellow River floods
1887 flood killed over 1 million people
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Women stayed in
the home
Feet would be
purposely disfigured
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Developed advanced ways of shaping