Ebert 2-19.pdf

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Asian Studies
ASIA 100
Robban Toleno

Ebert 219Monday September 8 2014700 PMEast Asia has always been part of Eurasia and did not develop in isolation50000 to 10000 BCpeople from northeast Asia to Americas south china to Southeast Asia to the Pacific and AustraliaPottery started to appear at around 10000 BC in Japan Agriculture is a crucial change because cultivating crops allows denser and more permanent settlements The richer the tomb is the more objects they hadMore distinctive of the eastern Neolithic cultures is the use of jadedoes not crackThe late Neolithic period was a time of increased contact and cultural borrowing between these regional culturesThis period must also have been one of increased conflict between communities because people began building defensive walls around settlements out of rammed earthAnother sign of the increasing power of religious or military elites is human sacrifice probably of captivesRice cultivation is a very important technology that made its way to Korea and Japan before writingChina in the Bronze Age The Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties Shang Dynasty developed a complex state with writing and large settlements oracle bones found meaning traditions passed down in early textZhou dynasty overthrows Shang creates a feudal systemZhou is known for archaeological evidence and transmitted texts Geography of Chinese subcontinentChina included Tibet Inner Mongolia Turkestan and ManchuriaThe northern part drained by the Yellow River is colder flatter and more arid than the southMore transportations in the south Droughts in the north Chinese didnt spread to Tibet until recent times because it wasnt suitable for farmingThe northern grasslands had the heartland of Chinastraditional enemies the Xiongnu and the MongolsTHE SHANG DYNASTY ca 15001045 BCIs documented in both excavated and transmitted texts Key excavated textsoracle bone inscriptions found in and near the Shang settlementRuled five successive cities Anyang best known last large palaces temples and altars War booty enslaved and sacrificed captives was an important source of the kings revenue Bronze technology gave Shang dynasty superior weaponsChariots was introduced to china by diffusion across Asia Shang king was also the high priest who gave sacrifices to the god for rain wind and thunderRoyal ancestors intervene with remote Di send curses produce dreams assit the king in battle Shang interred human beings in royal tombsOther people buried with the king has chosen their fate The lower the social scale the lower they lived SILK Trade began very earlyThe primary difference between Shang farmers and their Neolithic predecessors is the huge gulf that separated them from the most powerful in their societyWritingLiteracy is an ally of political control facilitating communication across an expanding realmLogographic each word was represented by a single characterAlthough phonetic systems make learning to read easier there are costs to abandoning a logographic system Those who learned to read Chinese could communicate with a wider range of people than those who read scripts based on speechChinese script played a large role in holding China together and fostering a sense of connection with the pastMetalworkingShang times bronze was used more for ritual than for warWhy then did images of wild animals predominate in Shang China Rebirth in the realm of ancestral spirits being evoked Taotie a fearsome image that would scare away evil forcesDevelopments outside the Shang coreKey elements of Shangs culture however such as their bronze technology spread well beyond the area they controlledPossible that the bronze figures of humans were being used to replace humans in a sacrificial ceremonySanxingdui forced archaeologists to reconsider the political landscape during the centuries when the Shang ruled at AnyangThe Western Zhou DynastyShared most of the material culture of the ShangRose against Shang and defeated itFirst part of Zhou Dynasty was called the Western Zhou periodThree leaders who helped with the conquer of ShangKing wen who expanded the Zhou domainHis son King Wu who conquered the ShangAnd Wus brother who consolidated the conquest and served as regent for Wus heirThe early Zhou period did not mark an abrupt break with Shang cultureThe mandate of heaven Heaven giving the king a mandate to rule only as long as he rules in the interests of peopleTheory was elaborated by early Zhou rulers as propaganda to win over the conquered subjects The Zhou Political StructureEarly Zhou rulers sent out relatives and trusted subordinates to establish walled garrisons in the conquered territories creating a decentralized quasifeudal systemTies of loyalty and kinship linking the Zhou vassals to the king weakened over time Zhou king was killed by a alliance of Rong tribesmen and Zhou vassals Zhou royal house moved east to the area of modern Luoyang Eastern Zhou never fully regained control over its vassals and China entered a prolonged period without a strong central authorityWestern Zhou Society and Culture Highly aristocratic Patrilineal family ties were very important throughout this society Land feudal tenuresSummary Most of the key elements of Chinese civilization originated in China and were not spread elsewhere because they settled in for agricultural reasonsThe Shang Dynasty developed a complex state of writing metalworking and large settlementsThe huge tombs of rulers and the human sacrifices and bronze vessels placed in them offer other important evidence of Shang societyThe invention of writing helped Shang extend its political control writing facilitates sending orders and keeping recordsZhou dynastys parceled out rule was the first stage in the creation of hereditary domains whose lords formed an aristocratic eliteThe book of songs offers glimpses into what life was like for elites and ordinary people alikeThe book of documents in an excellent source for ideas about Heavens connections to the ruler called the Son of HeavenSettlements outside the core regions of Shang and Zhou states that used bronze technology differed in their religious practices and artistic styles suggest that their cultures were distinctAt the beginning of this period China was just beginning to fashion objects of metal by the end bronze workers had centuries of experience in casting all sorts of objects and bronze was used not only for ritual vessels but also for helmetsetc Horses has been domesticated and trained to pull chariotsWriting had become a central feature in the life of the political elite and a substantial body of literature was in circulationDivination by oracle bones had largely disappeared as had the practice of making offerings of human victims except at the burial of rulers where it continued somewhat sporadicallyPreviously alien groups were incorporated into the Zhou political order and more and more of them participated in the culture associated with the Chinese written language
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