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Transcript intro-to-chinese

Chinese Dynasties
Postclassical era:
(these are the one’s we’ll
"The Dynasties
This "dynasties song," sung
to the tune of "Frère
can help students remember
the major Chinese dynasties
in chronological order.
• Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han
Shang, Zhou, Qin, Han
• Sui, Tang, Song
Sui, Tang, Song
• Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic
Yuan, Ming, Qing, Republic
• Mao Zedong
Mao Zedong
• — Courtesy of the teachers on the College Board AP-World History
Mandate of Heaven
天命 tien ming
• Social Contract giving emperor (son of
heaven) the “right” to rule as a
benevolent autocrat.
• First Zhou ruler came up with concept to
justify the usurpation of Zhang power.
• Supreme ruler can earn or lose the
Mandate to rule based upon his virtue or
lack thereof.
• Ruler’s personal moral quality dictates the
condition of the society ruled by him
• If he’s in tight with heaven, rain should fall
on crops!
• If drought, it’s his job to relieve people’s
suffering (tax burden)
• If he doesn’t, isn’t moral, people, in
theory, have right to remove him
• Similar to Enlightened Absolutism of
European monarchs.
Qin Dynasty (221206 BCE)
First real unified kingdom in
Chinese history
Famous for Terracotta Army
of the First Emperor (tomb)
8,000 clay warriors
10,000 bronze weapons
First installation of the Great
Wall to protect from Xiongnu
in the north (nomadic
Han Dynasty
(206BCE to 220 CE)
Confucianism made orthodox
Civil Service Exams
Comparable to Rome
Taxation, conscription,
developed, influenced
neighboring cultures
(Han influence reached
Korea and Vietnam)
construction of Great Wall
(raiding Xiongnu)
Silk Road well traveled during
this time, under Han protection
Chinese Histories written in this
Sui Dynasty (581-618 CE)
• Unifies China after period of disunity/
competing dynasties
• Centralized power (taking it away from local control) by appointing
officials via competitive written exams
• Greatest Accomplishment: Grand Canal
• 1000 mile waterway links northern cities
with southern, rice-producing regions,
linking two great rivers, Yangtze and Yellow
• Rebuilt the Great Wall
• Downfall: overworked
and overtaxed its people.
• Second and final Sui emperor
assassinated by Li Yuan (Tang)
Tang Dynasty (618-907)
Famous emperors:
Founder Gaozu (Li Yuan)
Tang Taizong (Li Shimin): Second Emperor
• Forged alliances with outsiders to push into
Korea, Vietnam,
Central Asia
• Empress Wu Zetian
(Wu Zhao):
China’s first and only
Female emperor
Achievements of the Tang Dynasty
• Expansion of empire to restore northern and western lands
• Control over Korea (668)
• Strengthened central government
• Expansion of roads and canals
• Promotion of foreign trade
• Agricultural improvements
• Revival of civil service exam
• Fall of Tang: overtaxed people; overextended empire; Muslim
victories in Central Asia; Chinese rebels sack Ch’ang-an in 907
• Impressive
• Eastern
terminus of
Silk Road
• Nexus for
make it a
cosmopolitan city
• 2 million
Tang Cultural Flowering
• Poetry valued, tested in civil service exams and composed at social
gatherings (Li Bo)
• Buddhism fully infused in Chinese life (origin stories, festivals)
• Monasteries play roles of schools, banks, warehouses for
safekeeping); becoming largest landholders through gifts from
• Buddhism developing into two schools in China:
Pure Land: appeals to laypeople. Simple act of calling on the Buddha
Amitabha and his chief boddhisattva helper could lead to rebirth in
his paradise
Vs. Chan (Zen in Japan) more popular with educated elite.
Emphasized “mind to mind transmission” via a teacher vs. scripture;
enlightenment through meditation and monastic self-discipline.
Song Dynasty (960-1127) and Southern Song
• Restores unity: rival warlords divide China after fall of Tang
• Smaller empire, but stable and prosperous
• Manchurian people (Jurchen) conquered northern lands,
established Jin Empire
Hallmarks of the Song Dynasty
• Tea and rice become “typically” Chinese (replacing wheat, millet
and wine of Tang Dynasty)
• First population explosion
• Foot binding for women becomes widespread
Achievements of the Tang and Song Era
“Golden Age” of China
• Science and Technology:
Moveable type (printing)
Mechanical clock
Paper money
Magnetic compass—sailing
• Agriculture
• Import and cultivation of fast-ripening rice from Vietnam
• Flourishing trade (Silk Roads’ second major era)
• Development of sea trade with Korea, Japan, Indian Ocean, Persian
Gulf, Africa
• Golden Age of poetry and art
Heavy Snow on Mount Guan by Hsu Dao-Ning
Magpies and Hare by Tsui Bai
Thousand Li of River and Mountains by Wang
Classic Landscape
Chinese Societal Changes in Tang and Song
• Increasing social mobility
Formation of gentry class (upper) via rigorous civil service exam
Decline of old aristocratic family power
Urban middle class
Laborers, soldiers, servants
Women in Tang and Song Dynasties
• Tang era women have more freedom, participate more
in social life (Steppe nomads influence)
• Reversion in Song Dynasty to more patriarchal control
• Revival of Confucianism
• Economic growth
• Textile industry takes over traditional weaving work of
rural women
• Upper class women in cities see biggest decline in
• Concubines, courtesans, prostitutes on the rise as
prosperity increases in elite families, reduces wives’
negotiating power
• Foot binding represents status, wealth, beauty
“Chinese Girl with Bound Feet”
What Is Foot binding?
Picture Source: BBC The Guide to Life, the Universe and
X-rays of Bound Feet
Why did women bind their feet?
• Standards of beauty
• Marriageable
• Status symbol
• Way to control women
Zhou Guizhen, 86,
says she regrets
binding her feet. "But
at the time, if you
didn't bind your feet,
no one would marry
you," she says.
Lotus shoes for women with bound feet
Just how big is a lotus shoe?
The Chinese Xinhua News Agency announced, in
1998, that the last factory to manufacture shoes
for bound-feet women in Harbin, China, had
ended production.
The End