Published on December 18, 2007
Ancient China: Ancient China Sarah Ridge 2205-1027 B.C.E. Ancient China: Ancient China Xia Dynasty *2205-1806 B.C.E. Shang Dynasty *1650-1027 B.C.E. *Dates of each Dynasty are estimates Xia Dynasty (2205-1806 B.C.E.): Xia Dynasty (2205-1806 B.C.E.) Xia Dynasty: Xia Dynasty For many years, this Dynasty was thought to be a myth All oral history until archaeological evidence found around 1959 Not universally accepted as a true Dynasty Emperor Xia Yu: Emperor Xia Yu Founder of the Xia Dynasty Selected as leader because he was able to control the “Great Flood” His father was not an Emperor; his was not a hereditary path Life in the Xia Dynasty: Life in the Xia Dynasty Agricultural people who believed in the fair sharing of land Rulers acted as shaman to ask the spirits for guidance Ruling families used dramatic rituals to convince people of their right to rule Shang Dynasty 1650-1027 B.C.: Shang Dynasty 1650-1027 B.C. Shang Dynasty : Shang Dynasty Second hereditary Dynasty in China Lasted almost 600 years Had 31 kings Shang started out as a tribe Led by chief Tang, they overthrew the Xia Dynasty The history of the Shang Dynasty was written by the Zhou Dynasty after they overthrew the Shang First and Last Shang Emperors: First and Last Shang Emperors Shang Tang Benevolent towards his people Made great economic progress during his reign Shang Zhou Zhou was a despot Internal conflicts heightened Dethroned by a rebellion army of slaves Economics: Economics Economics: Economics Ancient Chinese were an agricultural people. They were also hunters and fishermen. They were also artisans. Agriculture: Agriculture Cultivated millet, rice and barley Domesticated chickens and pigs Used hoes and sickles and plows pulled by water buffalos or men Hunting: Hunting Peasant farmers cultivated the land and took part in royal hunts Servants drove noblemen in chariots to hunt animals such as deer, wild boars and hares. While the chariot was moving, the noblemen threw spears at their prey Fishing: Fishing The Ancient Chinese were instrumental in the growth of the fishing industry Division of Labor: Division of Labor Class system and division of labor occurred Nobles Artisans Peasants Farmers Slaves Slave Society: Slave Society Slave society Aristocrats enjoyed luxury Slaves lived in poverty After a slave owner’s death, slaves were often buried alive with them Military: Military Bronze Spear Wars: Wars Ancient Chinese went to war to keep their boundaries safe Warriors: Warriors Citizens were conscripted for military duties Peasant farmers were used as foot soldiers in the army When kings died, 100s of their soldiers were killed and buried in their tomb Weapons: Weapons Weapons were issued in sets Bow, arrows, small bronze knife, sharpening stone, wood shafted bronze halberd, shield of wood framed leather Organization: Organization Ancient Chinese military was strategic and organized. Infantry and archers were organized together in formations consisting of companies Left, right and center each with 100 men. Companies consisted of five squadrons- each with five chariots Art: Art Art: Art Many Ancient Chinese were talented artists Ancient Chinese were the most advanced bronze workers in the ancient world Silk: Silk Discovered how to make silk thread from caterpillars’ cocoons. Became China’s most valuable export Bronze: Bronze They created elaborate bronze vessels. Decorated with intertwining images of real and mythical creatures like birds, tigers, elephants and dragons Cast in molds and assembled later Had a two eyed mask design called a toa tieh Religion: Religion Religion: Religion Worshipped the “Shang Ti” Supreme god Ruled over lesser gods (sun, moon, wind, rain…) Highly ritualized ancestor worship was an important part of religion Sacrifice to gods and ancestors were a major part Human sacrifices were made When a king died (slaves and prisoners) Important events (founding of a temple) Religious ceremonies were incorporated into everyday life. Kings: Kings Believed kings were “exalted beings” whose power came directly from heaven Only kings could communicate with the spirit world Kings received help and guidance from the wise spirits of his ancestors through the “oracle bones” Through human and animal sacrifices, the king won the favor of the powerful gods of nature Ceremonies: Ceremonies Bronze containers hold the food and wine offered in religious rituals Drank alcohol in ceremonies Human and animal sacrifices Buried dead with objects for use in the next world Government: Government Government: Government Feudal society Aristocratic society Kings had considerable power over his subjects When the Emperor died, his son took control of the Empire State of Yin was the center of the world -all other communities belonged to other various regions Royalty: Royalty Territorial rulers were appointed by kings Divided the Middle Kingdom into states ruled by the royal family Some domains had their own armies Lords of other states sometimes were allies or enemies Cities: Cities Had five to seven capital cities over dynasty The Shang dynasty was the first in China to have a group of towns, cities and villages that were under the same ruler with the same religion the same form of writing a military Law and Courts: Law and Courts Law and Courts: Law and Courts The laws and courts of Ancient China were very undeveloped Law: Law Did not have a written law The King was the lawmaker The laws were about the stratification of society Courts: Courts Courts were attended by shamans The King was the judge and jury People who disagreed with the King were killed by his soldiers Writing: Writing Writing: Writing Developed the first writing system Earliest recognizable examples of written Chinese date from 1500-950 BC Inscriptions were believed to relay messages from the gods They were sent to help the kings rule wisely and well Oracle Bones: Oracle Bones Inscribed on ox scapulae and turtle shells - "oracle bones”, and bronze Bronze inscriptions are usually shorter and more primitive Oracle bone inscriptions are highly developed and sophisticated Oracle bone writing Bronze writing Architecture: Architecture Shang rammed earth altars, in a circular to worship Heaven Architecture: Architecture The first towns and cities were built by the Shang dynasty Cities were walled with guard towers on the top of the walls City walls were made by piling dirt and pounding it (“rammed earth”) Chinese architectures first developed palaces for kings. Cities: Cities The center of the city had a palace or a temple Temples were built on high-earth platforms Inside the walls, people lived in rows of rectangular houses on a grid towards the center of the city Homes: Homes Different classes of people lived in different types of houses Middle class Arranged in cities Countryside/poor Caves or man-made caves dug out of the dirt Technology: Technology Technology: Technology In Ancient China, new technologies affected Farming Military Urban and Home Life Art Schedule Farming: Farming They began use of plows, sickles, and hoes. Military: Military They began the use of bows, arrows, and chariots Urban: Urban Capital city walls Charcoal fuel Working mineral Bronze: Bronze Industrialized bronze casting Bronze tools Ritual bronze vessels Bronze weapons (tools and axes) Musical instruments (bells and drums) Pottery and Jade: Pottery and Jade Jade Ritual carvings Great variety of shapes and sizes Pieces in shapes of animals are common Ceramic vessels White or gray with decorations similar to those on bronze Some pots are covered with a thin glaze Chinese Calendar: Chinese Calendar Based on the exact astronomical observations of the longitude of the sun the phases of the moon They established the solar year 365 1/4 days the lunar phase 29 1/2 days The End: The End I hope you learned something new about Ancient China!