China powerpoint

Chinese Civilization
Institutions, World Views, and
Significance, 2205 B. C. E. - 1644
Generalizations About Chinese
• Powerful Central Authority—emperor
• Veneration of Ancestors
• Beginning w/ Han Dynasty, Confucianism
is official governing philosophy
• Chinese citizens mix Confucian beliefs
with Taoism
• Perennial problems—food production,
invasion, and internal strife
Cradle of Chinese Civilization
• Huang Ho (Yellow River) is cradle of
civilization—also termed River of Sorrows—its
floods destroy even as they give livelihood.
• Millet cultivation; stone tools; emergent
• Three cultural heroes: Fu Hsi—invented writing;
Shen Nung—farming and commerce; Yellow
Emperor—government and Taoism
Huang Ho River
Sage Kings 2350-2200
• May not have been historical but were
seen as especially virtuous
• Perceived pattern in Chinese history—
wise rule and order followed by period of
moral laxity, decline, decadence, and
• Chinese history would emphasize public
virtue—obedience to a wise emperor
Shang Dynasty—1766-1050
First “historical” dynasty.
Development of Writing
Bronze age civilization along Huang Ho
Reading of oracle bones
Emergence of “T’ien” concept—heaven—
where God and ancestors dwelled.
Shang Oracle Bones
Chou Dynasty—1050-221 B. C. E.
• Development of “T’ien Ming” or Mandate of
• Myth of Legitimacy—how to justify overthrowing
of Shang
• Central authority weakened in “Spring and
Autumn” periods—771-401 b. c. e.—and
collapse of order in Period of Warring States—
401-256 B. C. E.
• Ironic contribution of Chou dynasty was
providing incentive to develop classical
philosophy in China.
Classical Chinese Philosphy
• K’ung Fu-tzu (Confucius) 551 B. C. E.-479 B.
C. E.
• Public order comes from “jen” or humane
behavior between people.
• Superiors should govern well
• Inferiors should obey
• Shu—reciprocity and chung—doing one’s
• Rectification of Names
Sayings from the Analects: 1
• Fan-ch'ih asked about jen. The Master said, "It is to
love all men." He asked about knowledge. "It is to
know all men." Fan ch'ih did not immediately
understand these answers. The Master said,
"Employ the upright and put aside all the crooked; in
this way, the crooked can be made to be upright."
• Tzu-kung asked, saying, "Is there one world which
may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life?" The
Master said, "Is not reciprocity such a word? What
you do not want done to yourself, do not do to
Sayings from the Analects: 2
• The Master said, "With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my
bended arm for a pillow; I still have joy in the midst of these things.
Riches and honors acquired by inhumanity are to me as a floating
• The Master said, "The determined scholar and the man of virtue will
not seek to live at the expense of humanity. They will even sacrifice their
lives to preserve their humanity."
• The Master said, "The superior man in everything considers
righteousness to be essential. He performs it according to the rules of
propriety (li ). He brings it forth in humility. He completes it with
sincerity. This is indeed a superior man."
• The Master said, "The object of the superior man is truth, not food. . . .
The superior man is anxious lest he should not get truth; he is not
anxious lest poverty should come upon him."
Social Order and Confucius
• Rule of reciprocity promoted both order
and disorder—presumably an evil ruler or
an ineffective husband could be
• See Ban Zhao, Lessons for a Woman
• She accepts some subservience and
humility but also believes in the balance of
Yin/Yang—not the dominance of Yang
• Based on ideas of Lao Tzu
• Tao—the way of heaven—unity
• Balance of yang (maleness—cold,
heaven) and yin (femaleness, warm,
• Government should guide people, not rule
• Founded by Hsun Tzu (298-238 B. C. E.)
• People are evil and must be controlled through
harsh laws.
• Reward good deeds, punish bad deeds
• Utilitarianism—meant that government would
encourage agriculture over other pursuits
• Rule of Law—law is supreme—and law is
standard in entire realm (two ideas that persist in
Chinese state)
Chi’n Dynasty (221-206 B. C. E.)
• Officially legalist
• Standardized form of govt.
• Ended period of warring states
• Began Great Wall of China
• Extended China’s boundaries
to the south
Great Wall of china
Han Dynasty ( 202 B. C. E. -220 C. E.
• Officially Confucian
• Scholar bureaucrats educated in Confucian
classics govern china on a day to day basis.
• Han Wu Ti (r. 141-86) extended China from
Korea to Vietnam
• Wang Mang (9-23) overthrew corrupt Han but
was soon ousted by peasants who were then
ousted by the nobles.
• Conquests of later Han opened up the Silk
Roads to Mediterranean
T’ang Dynasty (618-907)
• Followed Three Kingdoms Period (220-589) and Sui
Dynasty (589-618)
• Chinese government recentralized under emperor
and three key ministers (but local landlords retained
a great deal of power).
• Empress Wu (684-705) relied on Confucian
bureaucrats and used military to extend boundaries
of China.
• Her own Buddhist beliefs added Buddhist tradition
to China.
• Great cosmopolitan cultural flowering facilitated with
contracts from Asia and even Europe
Sung (960-1279)
• Emperor’s power restored
• Confucian bureaucrats pre-eminent
• Wang An-shih (1068-85)—new laws—
maximum prices on grain; tax equity; nonnobles could take Confucian exams.
(Greatest example of Confucian Scholar
• Neo-Confucianism
Yuan Dynasty (1280-1386)
• Established by descendants of Genghis
• Mongols ruled through Chinese Scholar
• Paper currency
• Trade w/ Europe—Marco Polo (12751292)
• Pax Sinatica
Kublai Khan (1215-1294)
Ming (1369-1644)
• Chinese cultural superiority
• Great porcelain ware
• Later Ming rulers were decadent and
China began to lose its cultural superiority.
• Confucianism becomes rigid and less a
guide to practical and effective governing.
Ming Vase