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Early Civilization in China


Problems-floods, earthquakes, peasants revolt, invaders attack empire, ... The legend of a man-god, Yu who drove out serpents and dragons along the Huang He. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Early Civilization in China

Early Civilization in China
Old DynastyTaxes people too muchStops
protecting peopleLets roads and walls fall apart
treats people unfairly.
The Dynastic Cycle
New Dynasty brings peace builds roads and canals
gives land to peasants protects people.
Generations go by. New dynasty becomes
New dynasty claims Mandate of Heaven.
Problems-floods, earthquakes, peasants revolt,
invaders attack empire, bandits raid provinces.
Old Dynasty loses Mandate of Heaven.
Geography of China
  • 1)Natural barriers isolated ancient China from
    all other civilizations.
  • Distance.
  • To east- Pacific Ocean.
  • To west- Täklimakän Desert and the icy 14,000
    miles of the Plateau of Tibet.
  • To the southwest- Himalayan Mountains.
  • To north- Gobi Desert and Mongolian Plateau.
  • To the southeast- thick jungles.

Geography (Continued)
  • 2) This isolation contributed to the Chinese
    belief that China was the center of the earth, so
    they called themselves The Middle Kingdom.

Geography ( Yes More )
  • 3) Two major river systems flow from the
    mountains of the West to the Pacific Ocean.
  • Huang He (Yellow River)- named for loess.
  • (loh-uhs) fine yellow soil from Mongolia and
  • Yangzi ( also River of Sorrows and Chinas

  • Loess settles to the bottom and raises
    water level. Dikes are constantly built and
    repaired to keep the river from flooding. If the
    dikes burst, crops would be destroyed, and mass
    starvation would occur.

  • 4) Chinas natural barriers did not completely
    protect them from outsiders. Invaders from the
    West and North attacked again and again.

  • The legend of a man-god, Yu who drove out
    serpents and dragons along the Huang He. He also
    drained land so people could live along rivers
    and cross them. According to Chinese
    civilization, Yu founded the kingdom Xia (sheah).

Religoin ( Continued again )
  • The chief god was Shang Di. There were many gods
    of nature, such as spirits living in mountains,
    rivers, and seas.
  • Yin was the force linked to Earth, darkness, and
  • Yang was the force linked to Heaven, light, and
  • Harmony balance must exist between the two for
    the well of the universe.

Speaking to the Spirits
  • Chinese believed spirits of ancestors had power
    to bring good fortune or disaster to the living
    members of the family. They offered ancestors
    food, wine, and special prayers.

Oracle Bones
  • Oracle bones are animal bones and tortoise
    shells on which priests scratched questions for
    the gods or ancestors. Priest applied a hot
    poker to the bone causing it to crack. Priest
    interpreted the cracks to see how the god had
    answered them.
  • The king was the link between the people and
    the gods.

Chinese Writing
  • Ideographs express signs that represent thoughts
    or ideas not sounds.
  • Pictographs stood for objects.
  • Each character represents a word or ideas that
    can be made up of several strokes.

Dont You Just Love Chinese Writing? Heres more!
  • No links between Chinese written language and
    spoken language. Although Chinese speak many
    languages and dont understand each other they
    all have the same writing system and all can read
    it. So Chinese written language helped unify a
    large and diverse land.
  • To be barely literate a person must know 1,000
    different characters. To be well educated you
    must know 10,000 characters.

Words to Know
  • Zhongguo Name Chinese used for their land The
    Middle Kingdom.
  • Loess Fine, wind blown yellow soil.
  • Clan Group of people who claim a common
  • Yin and Yang Terms used to describe the two
    forces Chinese believed must be balance in the
  • Ideograph Pictures that express abstract
    thoughts or ideas.
  • Oracle Bones Used by Shang priests to
    prophesize the future.

Yes, Even More Words To Know
  • Calligraphy Finely styled handwriting done with
    ink and brush.
  • Mandate of Heaven The support of the gods for a
    ruling family.
  • Dynastic Cycle The rise and fall of dynasties.

Shang Rise of Cities
  • By 1800 B.C., farms and villages were built all
    along the Huang He River.
  • The first records of Chinese civilization came
    about 1766 B.C. when Shang dynasty came to power.

Shang Technology and Artistry
  • People skilled in special crafts made up a
    separate class in Chinese society.
  • Lived outside city walls.
  • Manufactured weapons, jewelry, and religious
    items for nobles.
  • Excelled in bronze working.
  • Silk became most valuable export.

Arent you tired of my stupid remarks? Well too
bad heres more Shang!
  • They learned how to make silk cloth from threads
    of silk worm cocoons. Women took care of the
    silk worms by weaving threads into cloth and
    colored cloth with dyes. Only royalty and nobles
    could afford silk robes.
  • According to legend, a group of visiting
    Byzantine monks stole some silkworm eggs
    concealed them in hollow bamboo walking sticks
    smuggled them to the west.

The Fall of the Shang(Bout time, eh?!)
  • In 1027 B.C., the Zhou people overthrew the
    Shang and set up their own Dynasty period. The
    Zhou told the people that the gods had become
    angry with the Shang and now the Zhou have been
    chosen to rule.

The New Zhou Dynasty!
  • To justify their conquest, Zhou leaders declared
    that final Shang King had been such a poor ruler
    that the gods had taken away the Shangs rule
    given it to the Zhou. This justification
    developed over time into a broader view that
    royal authority came from Heaven. A just ruler
    had divine approval known as the Mandate of

What the Zhou thought...
  • A Wicked or foolish king could lose the Mandate
    of Heaven thus lose the right to rule. The
    Mandate of Heaven became central to the Chinese
    view of government.
  • The historians described the pattern of rise,
    decline, replacement of dynasties as the
    dynastic cycle (2nd slide).

How the Zhou explained chaos
  • Flood, riots, and calamities might be signs
    that the ancestral spirits were displeased with a
    kings rule. In that case the Mandate of Heaven
    might pass to another noble family. This was the
    Chinese explanation for rebellion, civil war, and
    rise of new dynasties. Dynastic rule was finally
    overthrown in the early 1900s.

  • Feudalism is a political system in which nobles
    or lords are granted the use of lands that
    legally belong to the king. In return, the
    nobles owe loyalty and military service to the
    king and protection to the people who live on
    their estates.

Local Lords
  • Local lords lived in small walled towns and had
    to submit to the superior strength control of
    the Zhou rulers. Gradually, as towns grew into
    cities, and expanded into surrounding territory,
    the lords grew stronger. Local lords became less
    dependant on the king.
  • More and more they fought among themselves and
    with neighboring peoples for wealth and

  • Zhou built roads canals. These stimulated trade
  • Zhou introduced coined money which also improved
    trade. To run the daily operations of growing
    cities, a new class of civil servants emerged.

More Innovations!
  • They developed blast furnaces that allowed them
    to produce cast iron (iron poured into molds).
    Iron farm tools helped make farm work easier and
    more productive.

Innovative aren't they!?
  • They produced the first books by taking thin
    strips of wood and bamboo and glued them together.

The Bigger They are the Harder They Fall!
  • The Zhou ruled from 1027B.C. to 256B.C. For the
    first 300 years the empire was peaceful and
    stable. Gradually Zhou rule weakened. They could
    not control noble families. As power of nobles
    grew they claim to be kings of their own

The Zhou Collapsed
  • Peasant foot soldiers cavalry replaced
    chariots in battlefield. The crossbow was also
    introduced. Traditional Chinese values
    collapsed. The dynastic cycle is about to bring
    a new start!

  • This is the end. Happy? We are too.
  • Jamie Pitts Animation and some typing.
  • Will Sparks Information, most typing, and
    some animation.
  • Zac Payne Sounds, pictures, and very little
    typing. ( Also did the web page )
  • Justin Sane Did all the work producing while
    we sat around and looked stoopid!

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