5. Creation of States: Early China: Shang and Zhou

    Dynasties
 

I.  What Impact Did Geography Have on the

    Development of China?

 

    A. Rivers

         1. Yellow River

            - loess

            - farming settlemets by 5,000 B.C.E.

            - millet, wheat and barley cultivation

 

         2. Yangtze River

            - farming settlements by 3,000 B.C.E.

            - rice cultivation

 

    B. Mountains and deserts

         - isolate the region in the north, west and south

 

    C. East open to trade and migration

 

II. What Were the Origins and Organization of the

     Early Chinese Dynasties? 

     According to Chinese Tradition: need for cooperation

 

    A. Xia Dynasty (c. 2200-1570 B.C.E.)

            - Early rulers organized Yellow River communities

                 for the building of irrigation canals and flood control projects

            - Believed to have wielded political authority indirectly by

                controlling local leaders

 

    B. Shang Dynasty (1570-1027B.C.E.)

            - employed horses, chariots and bronze weapons to

                extend their authority

 

    C. Shang political and social order

            1. King

                 - religious function

                        > seen as an intermediary between heaven

                                 and earth, duty to perform important

                                 religious rituals

                 - military and administrative duties

 

            2. Warrior and administrative elite

 

            3. Commoners

                 - peasants, artisans, miners who were subject to

                        the upper classes

 

            4. Slaves > numerous

 

     D. Social Organization

            1. cities > administrative, military centers

    

            2. villages > organized by clans

 

            3. Households > patriarchal

                 - elite > extended families with numerous retainers and servants

                 - commoners > nuclear family units

 

    E. Religion

            1. Polytheistic :

                 - Shangdi > transcendent god

                 - spirits

                 - deceased ancestors

 

            2. Importance of rituals, human sacrifice

 

            3. Belief  in the possibility of communicating with

                            the spirits >  Oracle bones

 

    F. Writing > logographs

 

    G. Patriarchal order and the status of women

            - Women were subject to the authority of men

             - Marriages were arranged, dowries were paid

             - Founding of marriage and family attributed to

                 legendary Empress, Nu Wa

            - Upper-class women were tutored in writing, the arts and music

            - Women, at times, could exert political influence

 

III. What Brought the Fall of the Shang Dynasty and

       What Was the Organization of the Zhou Dynasty

       That Replaced It?

 

    A. Zhou Dynasty (1122-256 B.C.E.)

             - either a regional ally or opponent that defeated in

                   battle the Shang who had fallen into disfavor due to

                   moral corruption and neglect of the kingdom 

            - ruled by the Mandate of Heaven

            - king was responsible for maintaining order and

                  Harmony and offering sacrifices to Shang-ti, the

                  spirits and ancestors 

 

    B. Political Structure

            1. Decentralized feudal system

                 - king ruled over his own domains

                - vassals were assigned territories

 

            2. Duties of the Vassals:

                 > perform religious rituals and make

                        sacrifices to their ancestors

                 > to govern, dispense justice, collect taxes and maintain armies

 

            3.  Shi

                 - a new class of educated men who served as

                        teachers and administrators

 

    C. Decline of the Zhou

            - Due to growing independence of feudal vassals

                 and lack of support

            - 771 B.C.E. the capital was attacked and moved

                 from Xian to Loyang in the east

            - Real power devolved to the local rulers

            - Period of Warring States (403-221 B.C.E.)

                > political rivalries, rebellion, warfare

 

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