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Transcript of Ancient China
Ancient China was located in south eastern Asia along the coastline of the Pacific Ocean. It spanned an area of 9,706,961 km². Ancient China was bordered by the South China Sea to the southeast and by the East China Sea towards the east, separating China from Korea, Taiwan, and Japan.
Ancient Chinese coins had holes in the centre. To keep their coins safe and to be able to carry their wealth easily, coins were strung together on a string or rope. This was called a string of cash. Like the ancient Indians, the ancient Chinese also decorated their coins with pictures of mythical and magical creatures as well as designs. They believed coins were lucky.
In ancient China there were two kinds of houses which are poor people's houses and rich people's houses. There were lots of poor people's houses and not very many rich people's houses. Poor people's houses were made of rammed earth which was like mudbrick and were generally one room. Usually the roof was made of thatch. These houses were similiar to the houses in West Asia, Egypt, Greece and Africa. Rich people's houses were much bigger than poor people's houses. It had a high wall made of rammed earth all the way around them, with no windows and just one door, to keep the family safe. This was the screen wall, which kept people from seeing into your courtyard as they walked by, for privacy. There were two storeys and a balcony on the inside of the upper storey overlooking the courtyard.
A rich person's house
A poor person's house
Rice was the first grain that people farmed in Ancient China. Along the Yang-tse River there is archaeological evidence of rice farming as early as 5000 BC. People cooked rice by boiling it in water, the way they do today. Rice doesn't grow in Northern China but instead people in northern China gathered wild millet and sorghum. People in Northern China were farming millet by 4500 BC. They ate it boiled into a kind of porridge. Tea is a drink people associate with China . In China tea grows wild and by about 3000 BC people had begun to drink tea. Wheat was not active to China, so it took much longer to reach China. In Northern China people first began to eat wheat in the Shang Dynasty, about 1500 BC. People brought wheat to China from West Asia. People in China boiled wheat like millet. Farmers also kept animals such as goats, pigs, and chickens. People that lived close to rivers ate fish as well.
Map of Ancient China
Crime and punishment in Ancient China
Most of the laws of Ancient China came from the moral teachings written in the legal-code books. The basic law was devotion of children to parents and obedience to the government. The rest of the laws consisted of orders that were handed down by the emperors. It was the duty of important Chinese officials to teach the laws to the people, who would gather twice a month for this purpose. If the laws were broken the punishments were severe. The seriousness of each crime determined the form of punishment that would be received. A mild punishment would be considered as a beating with a bamboo stick. Any girl who insulted her parents was strangled and if she wounded them she would be tortured and cut into pieces.A father was responsible for the conduct of his children and his servants. If they committed any crimes that he could have stopped them from committing he was charged. A most serious crime was stealing from a member of the family. Several crimes were punished by banishment which was often for life. Criminals could also have their cheeks branded by red-hot irons. This left scars on the face so that other people would always know that the person had been convicted of an offence. Crimes against the emperor brought the accused no mercy. They were not allowed any support from their families and all their possessions were taken away from them. If found guilty, they were tortured cruelly and executed the same day.Soldiers were usually chosen to be executioners and they were proud of the strength that they needed to carry out their duties. The executioner would accompany his victim to the torture chamber.
It is difficult to be sure about China's early history. It lasted from about 2205 BC to 1279 AD which is almost three and a half thousand years. It was home to one of the earliest civilisations found around the world. However, Ancient China was different from the other civilizations as the other three civilisations have faded away or been completely overtaken by new people but China still exists.
Clothing in Ancient China was a symbol of status. The rich and the poor dressed quite differently. The poor people, or peasants, wore clothing made of a rough material made from plant fibre called hemp. Hemp was durable and good for working in the field. Clothes made of hemp were loose fitting pants and shirts. Wealthy people wore clothes made of a soft, light and pretty material called silk. The Chinese were the first to make silk and kept how to make it secret for hundreds of years. Silk garments were generally long robes and they could be dyed specific colours or with fancy designs. In Ancient China there were many rules about the colours and who got to wear what type of clothes.Only certain people like high ranking official and members of the emperor's court were allowed to wear silk.Lower ranking people like peasants could possibly be punished for wearing silk clothing. There were also rules describing colours people could wear like the emperor could only wear yellow. The colours of the the clothing also symbolized emotion. For example, White clothing was worn during someone died and red was worn to show joy and happiness. Hair was considered important in Ancient China. When the Mongols conquered China during the Yuan Dynasty they brought cotton clothing with them. Cotton clothing became popular among the poor because it was cheaper, warmer, and softer than hemp.
Wealthy women in silk robes
A man threshing rice and wheat
Tools and Inventions
The Ancient Chinese used rice paper, stone printing, stone carvings and tools made from iron.They were famous for their inventions and technology. Many of their inventions had lasting impact on the entire world.Other inventions led to great feats of engineering like the Grand Canal and the Great Wall of China. Some of their notable inventions were silk, paper,printing, the compass, gunpowder, boat rudder,umbrella, porcelain, the wheelbarrow and much more.
Paper was invented by the Chinese as well as many interesting uses for paper like paper money and playing cards.In the 2nd century BC, the first paper was invented In 868 AD and around 105 AD the manufacture later perfected. In the 9th century gunpowder was invented by chemists trying to find the Elixir of Immortality. Not long after, engineers figured out how to use gunpowder for military uses such as bombs, guns, mines, and even rockets. They also invented fireworks.
A string of cash
Ancient Chinese Tools and Equipment
When Ancient China Was Formed
Merchants and tradesmen traveled in large caravans. They would have many guards with them. Traveling in a big group like a caravan helped in defending from bandits. Camels were popular animals for transport because much of the road was through dry and harsh land. Most people in Ancient China travel on foot or on horses. If you were rich travel in a cart pulled by oxen or mules.
Roles of women and men
Boys and girls also have a different place in the family. A boy works for his family and looks after his parents when they're old. Also boys are expected to marry and have children. Most boys do the same job as their father, and learn by working with him from an early age. Only the sons of wealthy families have an education. They were taught at home by tutors. Girls were taught to look after the home and, if their family is rich, to deal with servants. Most girls also learn to make cloth, sew, and entertain. When a girl marries, her parents have to give an expensive gift to the husband's family. Then she goes to live with her husband's family. She does not support her parents in their old age, but looks after her husband's family instead. All families in Ancient China want several sons.
The Ancient Chinese people have been using chopsticks for nearly 4000 years.
Puyi, the Last Emperor of China, became ruler when he was only 3 years old.
According to legend, in 2700 BC silk was discovered in the emperor's garden by Hsi-Ling-Shi, the wife of Emperor Huang-Ti.
In China, giant pandas existed as far back as two to three million years ago. They were considered a symbol of clout and bravery.
The walls of the Great Wall Of China were unified during the Qin Dynasty.
After viewing our presentation, we hope you have learnt something new about Ancient China.
Sit back and enjoy our Animoto. :)
By Melissa, Catherine and Nicolette
China is often considered the longest, continuous civilization. It is the third largest country in the world. Ancient China is well known for their fables and legends. Did you know that Ancient China covered most of China's history?