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Transcript of Ancient China
Chapter 6 Section 1
Essential Question: How do the people, events, and ideas that shaped ancient China continue to influence the world?
Geography Shapes Ancient China
Geographic Features of China
: What effect did the physical features of China have on its early development?
China's civilization developed because two rivers brought water and silt that made farming possible.
Cities grew along the banks of the rivers.
Located on the
eastern side of Asia.
China lies about the same distance north of the equator as the United States.
Its lands are bordered on the east by the
Yellow Sea, the East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean.
Deserts edge northern and western lands.
To the north
to the west
The Pamir, Tian Shan, and the Himalaya
mountain ranges form a tight curve marking the western border.
(Refer to map)
China was geographically isolated.
The huge mountain chains, vast deserts, large expanses of water acted as barriers between China and other lands.
made the spread of ideas and goods to China difficult.
As a result,
Chinese civilization developed along very distinct lines. There were fewer outside influences to shape China's culture.
Two River Systems
Two major rivers flow toward the Pacific Ocean
Chang Jiang, or the Yangtze River
, is found in central China.
to the north is
also known as the
In ancient times, most Chinese
farming was done in the very rich land between the Chang Jiang and Huang He. Their flood waters deposit yellowish silt that makes the soil fertile.
This land, called the North China Plain, has always been the center of Chinese civilization. (Refer to map and find)
China has a varied climate, much like the United States.
Western China is dry
like the western United States-because it is mostly deserts and mountains, it is sparsely populated and has little farmland.
Northeast China has seasons like New England-cold winters and warm summers.
In contrast, the
is like the southern region of the United States-
mild winters and hot, rainy summers.
These different climates allow China to produce a variety of crops.
Rice in the moist south.
Wheat, soybeans, and millet are grown in the drier north.
See Three Gorges Dam on p.148 and watch Animated Map
The Shang Dynasty
How did the Chinese language develop?
Read intro on p.149
About 1766 B.C., Shang family kings began to control some cities.
They set up a
, a family or group that rules for several generations.
Kings were responsible for religious activities.
They claimed to rule with the gods' permission.
Shang kings controlled the central portion of the North China Plain; their relatives ruled distant areas.
The Shang used chariots to defend themselves against the
who lived to the north and west.
They made war with nomadic people like the Zhou (joh)
In Shang culture, respect for one's parents and ancestors was important.
Family was closely tied to religion.
Chinese believed that the spirits of their ancestors could bring good fortune.
Families paid respect to their father's ancestors by sacrificing animals in their honor.
Men ruled within the family.
Shang kings claimed to be able to influence the gods.
They received messages from the gods through
These were animal bones on which Shang royal priests scratched questions to the gods.
Next, they touched the bones with heated rods to crack them and interpreted the cracks.
They scratched the answers on the bones. The scratches were an early form of writing.
Shang developed their system of writing with
-simple drawings that represent words or ideas.
(See chart on p.149)
Chinese system of writing used a
huge number of symbols.
To be barley able to read and write, a person needed to know at least 1,500 characters.
An educated person needed to know at least 10,000 characters.
One advantage of the Chinese writing system is that you can read Chinese without being able to speak it.
People all over China could learn the written language, even if their spoken languages were different.
The system helped unify a large, varied land.
How did the idea of the Mandate of Heaven help the Zhou take over Shang?
Read introduction on p.150
The Zhou and the Dynastic Cycle
Zhou kings established a new dynasty in China
Chinese dynasties rose and fell in a pattern.
Historians call the pattern of the rise and fall of dynasties in China the
. Look at diagram on p.150.
Like the Egyptians, the Zhou kings thought that trouble would come if rulers lost heaven's favor.
To justify their conquest, Zhou leaders declared that the last Shang king had been a poor ruler. They claimed that the gods had taken away the Shang's right to rule and given it to the Zhou.
Eventually, the idea that a good ruler had approval from the gods became part of Chinese culture.
When a ruler was bad or foolish, the people believed the approval of the gods would be taken away.
This idea was called the
Mandate of Heaven.
The Chinese people believed that troubles such as peasant uprisings, invasions, floods, or earthquakes meant that the Mandate of Heaven had been taken away.
Then it was time for new leaders, and the Mandate of Heaven might pass to another noble family.
Like the Shang, Zhou did not have a strong central government.
Kings put people with family ties or other trusted people in charge of regions.
Those local rulers, or lords, owed loyalty and military service to the king...in return, the king promised to help protect their lands.
As their towns became cities, the lords grew stronger.
More groups came under their rule
The lords became less dependent on the king.
They began to fight among themselves and with other peoples.
The lands they added to their control expanded Chinese territory.
The Time of the Warring States
Invasion of Chinese lands was a constant theme in Chinese history.
After 800 B.C., nomads from the north and west invaded China.
In 771 B.C., invaders destroyed the capital city of Hao and killed the king.
The king's family escaped to Luoyang and set up a new capital.
Because the kings were weak, the lords fought constantly.
As their power grew, these warlords claimed to be kings within their own territories.
This action led to a period called the Time of the Warring States...which began around 403 B.C.
Essential Question: How do the people, events, and ideas that shaped ancient China continue to influence the world.
The significance of geography in development of Chinese culture.
The Chinese writing system.
Watch Animated map
Read Key Ideas
Labeling Map Of East Asia
Use p.A37-A39 and p.144-145
Bodies of Water
East China Sea
South China Sea
Chang Jiang (Yangtze River)
Huang He (Yellow River)
Dynasty web sites
The Legacy of Ancient China
During the time of the Han Dynasty, only the Chinese knew how to make silk. It was much desired as a luxury fabric both by the Chinese and by people outside of China.Chinese silk was important in opening trading routes to the west.
A Trans-Eurasian Link
Overland trade routes were called Silk Roads because traders carried silk and other goods on caravan trails.
The trails stretched westward from China through central Asia to Mesopotamia and Europe-5,000 miles. (See map on last slide)
Because they stretched across two continents, Europe and Asia, they were called trans-Eurasian. China was part of a huge global trade network.
By 100 B.C., the Silk Roads were well established.
Traders made fortunes. Trips could take several years.
Cities along the route provided food, water, and shelter, as well as goods for trade.
Goods leaving China included silk, paper, jade, and pottery.
Exchange goods coming from the west included sesame seeds and oil, metals, and precious stones.
One trade item the Chinese especially valued was Central Asian horses.
Why were the Silk Roads important to Chinese civilization?
Ideas and cultural customs traveled along the Silk Roads too.
This spread of ideas and customs is called cultural diffusion. It can occur whenever one group of people comes in contact with another group of people.
Geographically, China was isolated. But, the Silk Roads open new opportunities.
For example, such things as Central Asian military techniques, Buddhist teachings, and western cultural styles reached China. In turn, Chinese art, silks, and pottery influenced the cultures to the west.
The Spread of Buddhism
During the Han dynasty, Buddhist missionaries entered China along the Silk Roads and introduced the religion to the Chinese people.
At first, foreign ideas attracted few followers.
However, in the turbulent years after the fall of the Han Dynasty, Buddhism's promise of an escape from suffering became attractive to many Chinese people.
Chinese Buddhists modified Buddhism to make it fit better with their own traditions.
Buddhism spread to Japan and Korea from China.
Influential Ideas and Beliefs
Key Question: How important were Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism?
The standards set by Confucianism remained significant in Chinese education and government.
Today, Confucius's ideas about social duty are still important in Chinese villages.
Confucianism also became a very influential philosophy in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
Daoism had a lasting influence in China. By the 500s, it had become a religion with priests, rituals, and volumes of collected writings. Unlike Confucianism, however, Daoism remained primarily a Chinese belief system.
Together, all 3 make up the major religions or ethical systems that have influenced Chinese life.
Most people's beliefs include elements of all 3.
They have followers all over the world. Buddhism is most widespread, with around 379 million followers in 130 countries.
There are about 6.5 million Confucianists and about 2.7 million Daoists worldwide.
Chinese Inventions and Discoveries
Key Question: In which aspects of Chinese life did the Han make great advances?
More grain available for trade.
Perfected a plow-more efficient because it had 2 blades.
Better iron tools helped increase crop production.
Collar harness for horses-allowed horses to pull much heavier loads.
Invented the wheelbarrow-made it easier for farmers to move heavy loads by hand.
Began using water mills-used river power to grind grain.
In a land of mostly farmers, these inventions were valuable.
In A.D. 105, paper was invented in China.
Before that, books were made of costly silk.
The inexpensive paper was made from a mixture of old rags, mulberry tree bark, and fibers from hemp plants.
This made books available in a country that placed high value on learning.
Affected the government-previously, all government documents had been recorded on strips of wood. Using paper made is much more convenient.
It is beautiful and long lasting.
Can be dyed brilliant colors.
For 3,000 years, only Chinese knew the secret to making silk.
Because it was rare, it became an excellent trade product.
It allowed them to get silver and gold from lands west of China.
At one time, one pound of silk was worth one pound of gold.
Getting gold and silver was important because the country did not have rich deposits of either mineral.