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Chapter 5

EARLY SOCIETY IN EAST ASIA


VOCABULARY
 Shang Empire
 Zhou Empire
 Mandate of Heaven
 Yin and Yang
 Silk production
 The Warring States Period
 The State of Chu
 Yu
 Xia dynasty
 Huang He
 Yangshao Society
 Loess
 Book Of Songs
 Oracle bones

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CHINA
FACTS AND FIGURES

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CLIMATE ZONES

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ARABLE LAND

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CHINESE POPULATION
1600
2050
1400
2000
1200 1995

1000 1981

1970
800

600 1953
1949
1851
400 1911
18121887

200 2
1210 1753
105 755 1381 1562 1650
0 1083

0 500 1000 1500 2000

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The Yellow River

 3000 Miles: Tibet to the Yellow Sea

 Loess –
 Deposits fertile, light colored soil

 Periodic flooding: “China’s sorrow”

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THE YELLOW RIVER

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FACTS AND FIGURES
 the first Homo sapiens arrived in the area sometime after
40,000 B.C.E. as part of the great migration out of Africa.

 7000 BCE – beginning of crop cultivation

 6000 BCE people in western Asia discovered metallurgy

 Only 12 percent of the total land area is arable, compared


with 23 percent in the United States.

 The frontier regions in the Gobi Desert, Central Asia, and the
Tibetan plateau were sparsely inhabited by peoples of
Mongolian, Indo-European, or Turkish extraction.
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METALLURGY IN CHINA
 By 3000 B.C.E., artisans in West Asia were also making
bronze.

 By 1400 B.C.E., the Chinese were making bronze decorative


objects as well as battleaxes and helmets.

 Around 1500 B.C.E. in western Asia the Hittites made new


weapons from it iron.

 After 1200 B.C.E., in China, bronze was increasingly replaced


by iron…

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A Chinese blast furnace, pouring out iron

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JADE AXE SCEPTER
(1100 BCE)

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CEREMONIAL DAGGER
(1028 BCE)

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Prehistoric Society: Yangshao

 5000-3000 BCE
 Banpo Village
 Painted pottery
 Bronze tools

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Prehistoric Society: Yangshao

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THE THREE SAGE-KINGS
(c. 2852 BCE to 2070 BCE)

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THE THREE SAGE-KINGS
(c. 2852 BCE to 2070 BCE)
CULTURE HERO
“A culture hero is a mythological hero specific to
some group (cultural, ethnic, religious, etc.) who
changes the world through invention or discovery.

A typical culture hero might be credited as the


discoverer of fire, or agriculture, songs, tradition, law
or religion…”

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EMPEROR YAO
Yao gets credit for three great
achievements:

1) He adapted the “patterns” of the


heavens to fashion a pattern for social
activity

2) Created a reliable clock for planting


and harvesting; and a calendar

3) He invented government institutions

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EMPEROR SHUN
Shun gets credit for:

1) Offered sacrifices to the god Shang


Di, as well as to the hills, rivers, and
the host of spirits

2) Divided the land into twelve


provinces

3) Being the originator of the music

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EMPEROR SHUN

King Shun passed


the throne to Yu
instead of to his
own son…

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EMPEROR YU
• Famed for his introduction
of flood control

• Inaugurating dynastic rule


in China by founding the
Xia Dynasty, and for his
upright moral character

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EMPEROR YU

• Yu divided the Chinese


"world" into nine zhou (joe)
or provinces.

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EMPEROR YU and the GREAT FLOOD

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EMPEROR YU and the GREAT FLOOD

In the Book of Documents, Yu is quoted as saying:

“The inundating waters seemed to assail the


heavens, and in their extent embraced the
hills and overtopped the great mounds, so that
the people were bewildered and
overwhelmed…”

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EMPEROR YU and the GREAT FLOOD

In the Book of Documents, Yu is quoted as saying:

“… I opened passages for the streams


throughout the nine provinces and conducted
them to the seas. I deepened the channels and
conducted them to the streams."

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EMPEROR YU and the GREAT FLOOD
• Gun is the name of a villain in some versions of a Chinese
flood myth.

• He was appointed by Emperor Yao to control the flood.

• Self-expanding soil, Xirang, which he stole from the


Supreme Divinity, who was angered by the act.

• Gun used the magical Xirang earth to block and barricade


the flood waters with and patch up dams, dikes, and
embankments.

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The Earliest Dynasties

 Xia
 C. 2200 BCE
 Organized through village
network
 Hereditary monarchy
 Flood control
 Shang
 1766-1122 BCE
 Zhou
 1122-256 BCE

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Social Order

 Ruling classes great advantage


 Palatial compounds, luxurious lifestyle
 Supported by agricultural surplus, tax revenues
 Defended by monopoloy on bronze weaponry
 Hereditary privilege
 Support class of artisans, craftsmen
 Evidence of long-distance trade, merchant class
 Large class of semiservile peasants
 Slave class

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Family and Patriarchy

 devotion to family, ancestor veneration


 connection of spirit world to physical world
 Ritual sacrifices
 Father ritual head of family rites
 Earlier prominence of individual female leaders
fades in later Shang, Zhou dynasties

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QUESTIONS

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Shang Dynasty

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Shang Dynasty

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Shang Dynasty

 Bronze metallurgy from 1200 BCE


 State monopoly
 Horse-drawn chariots, other wheeled vehicles
 Large armies
 Political organization: network of fortified cities, loyal to
center
 1000 cities
 Capital moved six times
 Impressive architecture at Ao, Yin
 Other regional kingdoms coexist: Sanxingdui

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Shang Dynasty

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SHANG DYNASTY
(1600 – 1046 BCE)
Taoism is thought to have developed during this time

• Wan-Nien measured time over a one-year period by measuring


the shadows throughout a day using a sun-dial and a water
clock.

• He established the two solstices of the year and, after that, the
two equinoxes and so created the calendar known as the Wan-
lien-li or the "perpetual calendar".

• Before Wan-Nien, the Chinese believed there were 354 days in


a year but Wan-Nien proved there are 365.

SOURCE: https://www.ancient.eu/Shang_Dynasty/ 35
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Shang Dynasty

 The I-Ching (also known as The Book of Changes) was


either written or compiled at this same time (c. 1250-1150
BCE).

 The I-Ching is a book of divination with roots going back


to the fortune tellers of the rural areas and their oracle
bones

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Shang Dynasty Burial Practices

 Hierarchical social structure

 Live burials alongside deceased member of ruling class


 Sacrificial victims, mostly slaves
 Wives, servants, friends, hunting companions
 Later replaced by statuary, often monumental

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Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BCE

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Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BCE

 Aggregation of villages opposed to Shang


leadership
 Decentralization of authority
 Development of cheap iron weaponry ends Shang
monopoly on Bronze
 Early money economy
 Feudalist society

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Battle of Muye (1046 BCE)

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Battle of Muye (1046 BCE)
 The Shang ruling class considered the Zhou
“semibarbarious country cousins”.
 An army of 50,000 troops against a Shang army of
700,000
 People tired of Shang leaders put up no resistance
 Shang king commits suicide
 Zhou created the “Mandate of Heaven” for legitimacy

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Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BCE

 Over 866 years


 Western Zhou (1122–771 BCE)
 Eastern Zhou (770–256 BCE)
 Zhou capital moved eastwards where it was safer from
invasion
 Spring and Autumn era (722–481 BCE)
 Warring States era (463–222 BCE)

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Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BCE
 Tribute and gift over trade
 Fortress cities
 Artisans were a hereditary caste of serfs attached
to states or courts
 Ministers were chosen based on birth rather than
talent.
 Battles conducted under code of chivalry

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Zhou Dynasty, 1122-256 BCE
Eastern Zhou (770 – 256)
 Laozi, Confucius, Mencius and Mozi, who all
lived during the Eastern Zhou period

Spring and Autumn Period (772 – 476 BCE)


 Chinese schools of thought such as Daoism,
Confucianism and Legalism were born.

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Decline of the Zhou Dynasty

 Decentralized leadership style allows for building


of regional powers
 Increasing local independence, refusal to pay Zhou
taxes
 Iron metallurgy allows for widespread creation of
weaponry
 Northern invaders weaken Zhou dynasty,
beginning 8th c BCE
 Internal dissention: the Period of the Warring
States (403-221 BCE)
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1122-256 BCE

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Period of
the Warring
States
(403-221 BCE)

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Period of the Warring States (403-221
BCE)

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Period of the Warring States
(403-221 BCE)
Seven states were the chief contenders that fought for the control and
unification of China.

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Period of the Warring States
(403-221 BCE)
• The first official Chinese cavalry unit was formed in 307 BC
by King Wuling of Zhao.

• War Chariots were still of major importance in nomadic


marksmanship and the art of Reconnaissance.

• The Seven Warring States fielded massive armies, sometimes


up to 200,000 men.

• Complex logistics were required for such large forces, thus


creating Government Bureaucracies.
SOURCE: https://theancientchinesemilitary.weebly.com/the-warring-state-period.html

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Oracle Bones and Early Chinese Writing

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Oracle Bones and Early Chinese Writing

 Ox and chicken bones


or turtle shells that
were used by Shang
rulers for divination
and to communicate
with the gods.

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• Divine
Intervention

• Veneration of the
Ancestors

• The Spirit Realm


influences the
Physical Realm

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Oracle Bones and Early Chinese Writing

 Used for communicating with spirit world,


determining future
 Question written on animal bones, turtle shells
 Then heated over fire, cracks examined for omens

 Evolution of Chinese script


 Pictograph to ideograph

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Oracle Bone from Shang Dynasty

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Zhou Literature

 Confucius (discussed in chapter 8)


 Book of Changes
 Manual for divination
 Book of History
 Book of Etiquette (Book of Rites)
 Book of Songs
 Little survived
 Often written on perishable bamboo strips
 Many destroyed by Emperor of Qin dynasty in 221 BCE

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Nomadic Peoples of Central Asia

 Steppe nomads
 Poor lands for cultivation, extensive herding activities
 Horses domesticated c. 4000 BCE, bronze metallurgy
in 2900 BCE

 Extensive trade with sedentary cultures in China


 Tensions: frequent raiding

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Southern Expansion of Chinese Society

 Yangzi Valley
 Yangzi river: Chang Jiang, “long river”
 Excellent for rice cultivation
 Irrigation system developed

 The State of Chu


 Autonomous, challenged Zhou dynasty
 Culture heavily influenced by Chinese

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