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The Classical Period: China (Cultural)
Transcript of The Classical Period: China (Cultural)
The Classical Period: China (Cultural)
The Shang Dynasty
Between 1500-1050 B.C.E., the Shang Dynasty reigned all of China. The Shang Dynasty established and maintained a loosely organized authority over small settlements in the Yellow River Valley. The Shang capitol, Anyang, created palaces, irrigation projects, warehouses, and granaries. Art such as bronzework, ritual vessels, stone and jade carvings flourished because of the Shang Dynasty as well. These innovations created a pathway for China's success in cultural advancement in art, architecture, and expansion for territory.
The Zhou Dynasty
Reigning from 1050-250 B.C.E., the Zhou Dynasty became the longest lasting dynasty in Chinese history. Although the Zhou dynasty did not possess a powerful government since it was ruled by regional princes and noble families, they still contributed greatly to the development of Chinese culture. The Zhou Dynasty extended the territory of China by encouraging settlers to move into the Yangtze River valley. That expanded settlement from the Huange to Yangtze river became China's core and provided rich agriculture lands with wheat-growing in the south and rice-growing in the north. However in 700 B.C.E., its decline resulted from political infrastructure and nomadic invasions.
The Qin Dynasty
In 221-206 B.C.E., The Qin Dynasty began ruling in 221-206 B.C.E. Shi Huangdi became the first Emperor of China in 221 B.C.E. Huangdi was an effective but brutal ruler but contributed to China's culture while in his reign. He ordered a national census which provided data for the calculation of tax revenues and labor service. The government made a Chinese written script uniform that created a single base language which educated Chinese could communicate with. Along with language, the government furthered agriculture by sponsoring irrigation projects and promoted manufacturing, particularly silk cloth. However, the activist government burned many books because they thought Shi Huangdi would disrupt his autocratic rule.
The Han Dynasty
The founder of confucianism was a Chinese man named Confucious. He expressed his belief in centralized control, peace, and order. Confucius stressed the virtues of one's spcial superiors. After his death in 500 B.C.E., his writings of wisdom were compiled together by his students. Confucianism exerted a significant influence in preaching political virtue and good government with other societies including Japan, Korea, central Asia, an Vietnam. Over time, Confucius's political and social philosophy became foundational for one of humanity's greatest and enduring civilizations all throughout 551-479 B.C.E.
During the Qin and early Han periods in 221-207 B.C.E., legalism sprang up as a system of political thought. Legalist writers prided themselves on their pragmatism and disdained Confucian virtues in favor of authoritarian state ruled by force. Human nature was thought to be disciplined and restraint. However, legalism did not capture the widespread approval rom people as it did for Confucianism. Despite that, Legalism only furthered the idea of branching out from having one ideology and religion.
By: Kristy Miranda
During the Classical Period between 1600 B.C.E. and 600 C.E., China acquired customs that stayed the same throughout their civilizations but also experienced change and progress. Although China stayed accustomed to their culture such as their forms of language and architecture, which did not particularly change from what it is today, China changed its forms of government, dynasties, and religions. However, because of China's strong culture and diverse government, its empire was able to reign for a long period of time.
After the Qin Dynasty's end in 206 B.C.E. due to massive revolts and Shi Huangdi's death in 202 B.C.E., the Han Dynasty rose to power in 207 B.C.E. Han rulers expanded Chinese territory, pushing into Korea, Indochina, and central Asia. Because of this expansion, it gave rise to direct contact with India and allowed the Chinese to develop contact with the Parthian Empire in the Middle East and trade was conducted with the Roman Empire and Mediterranian. The Han Dynasty improved state bureaucracy and emphasized the values of Confucian philosophy which was supported by Wu Ti. The Han Dynasty collapsed after two centuries due to weak central control and nomadic invasions which was similiar to the Qin Dynasty's downfall.
The Great Wall of China
In 206 B.C.E., the Great Wall of China was built. The emperor of the Qin Dynasty, Shi Huang Di, ordered the construction for the Great Wall of China. The wall extended connected existing walls to protect the Chinese people from the Mongols. The Great Wall helped prevent northern invaders, like the Mongols, from attacking China. The building of the wall established protection for all of China and decreased invasions and attacks from enemies. The Great Wall of China contributes to the architectual development in Chinese culture.
The Silk Road
During 206 B.C.E. all the way to 220 A.C.E., an ancient route was established between the East and West. The Han Dynasty gained political contact with many Kingdoms of Central Asia. The Silk Road became a trading route between China and the West. Under the Han Dynasty, the Chinese government activley encouraged this trade. Most trade was carried by nomadic merchants. The Silk Road provided a way for people to trade food which provided a way for people to share and obtain from other cultures.
During the Zhou Dynasty, daoism arose at the same time Confucianism did. Daoism mostly appealed to people in the upper class who had more interest in elaborate spirituality. It produced a durable division in China's religious and philisophical culture. Laozi furthered the new religion of daoism and stressed that nature contains a divine impulse that directs all life. Daoist harmony best resulted through humility and frufal living. This became an increasingly formal religion in the Han Dynasty. The Chinese government persuaded Daoist priests to express loyalty to emperors at their temple services which only heightened their compatibility with Confucianism. With this exchange, religion in China developed into a far larger significance in Chinese culture.
Around 300 B.C.E, Buddhism arose at the same time Daoism did. Buddhism first became popular in China during the Han dynasty was deeply coloured with magical practices, making it compatible with popular Chinese Daoism. Chinese Buddhists taught the indestructibility of the soul and Nirvana became a kind of immortality. Buddhism also taught the theory of karma, the values of charity and compassion, and the need to suppress the passions. Until the end of the Han dynasty, there was a connection between Taoism and Buddhism. It was widely believed that Laozi, the founder of Daoism, had been reborn in India as the Buddha. Many Chinese emperors worshiped Laozi and the Buddha on the same altar.