Chinese Empires, Confucianism, Taoism

• After almost 800 years in
power, the Zhou declined.
• As they declined, China broke
into many smaller countries
governed by warlords.
• The last few hundred years of
the Zhou was characterized by
turmoil during the Warring
States Period.
• Born in 551 BC
• Lived during the turmoil of the Warring
States Period.
• Believed that society could be ordered if
rulers and subjects adhered to five basic
relationships. For example:
• Ruler (be just and wise)- subject
(be loyal and obedient)
• Father-children
• Husband-Wife
Generally, he taught:
• Filial Piety (Respect for elders,
• Politeness
• Education
 NOT a religion
 A code of ethics of how to live and how to govern
 Ruler should practice kindness and wisdom, subjects
should be loyal and law abiding
 Lays foundation for Chinese bureaucracy.
Government workers must be educated in
Confucianism and good governance.
• Laozi taught that natural
rhythms are important
• Things in nature follow “the
Dao” or “the Way.”
• They do not seek glory
or to stand out, they
are in harmony with it
• Taoism influenced China by
emphasizing nature in art
and science
• Circle represents unity
of earth and heaven
• Light side is yin (earth,
feminine, passive)
• Dark side is yang
(heaven, masculine,
• Daoist (Taoist ) symbol
 Shi Huangdi builds Qin Dynasty- China’s first Emperor
 He centralizes government
 Forced labor
 High taxes
 Oppressive- based
on legalism, emphasis
on law and order
 Built Great Wall
 Only lasted 15 years
• Built to keep
invaders from
the North and
West out of China
• Expanded to
current size in
1500’s AD
 After the Qin Dynasty fell, China erupted into civil war
 The Han emerged as the most powerful dynasty and
expanded the empire
 Buddhism becomes a
big deal in China at this time
 Instituted civil service
exams based on Confucianism
 Highly organized
Bureaucracy (Mandarin)
 This civil service system
was used until 1911!
 The Chinese invented the first paper
 Porcelain is a ceramic material made from
clay and fired at a very high temperature.
This makes porcelain very strong and
usually glassy in appearance. Porcelain
is often called “China.”
 Waterclocks
 Compass
 Gunpowder
 Silk is made from the silk worm. It was an incredibly
labor intensive process. But, it is strong, lightweight,
and beautiful.
 People all over the world traded for Chinese silk fabrics
 So important for export that the trade route that
connects China to the Mediterranean is called the
Silk Road