Rise of Civilization in China

Describe how geography influenced the development of early Chinese civilization.
Long distances & physical barriers from Egypt, Middle East, & India
Why did main early Chinese civilizations settle along the Yellow River (Huanghe)?
Got is name from the "loess", or fine windblown yellow soil -> fertile & easy to work with. Rainfall is less than 20 inch a year -> best for crops like wheat and millet.
What geographic barriers set China apart from other civilizations?
N: forbidding desert - E: Pacific Ocean - SE: thick rain forests - SW/W: brutal deserts & high mountain ranges.
In what ways did China's geographic isolation affect how the Chinese viewed the world?
Chinese though they were center of Earth -> called their land "Zhongguo" (literally Middle Kingdom)
Discuss the development of China during the Shang dynasty, focusing on its long-lasting contributions to Chinese culture.
Importance of ruler & dynasty follows in many other dynasties after the Shang. Known most for bronze, silk, and writing system. (Silk making: young woman's job) Ancestor worship for remembrance & religion was all about nature. (Bronze ritual vessels, human beings & universe work together) Method of succession.
What social classes developed in Shang China?
Top Level: royal family & class of noble warriors (used leather armor, bronze weapons, & horse drawn chariots) Early Chinese cities: supported a class of artisans and merchants. (Artisans produced goods for nobles & merchants exchanged foods and crafts made by local artisans for salt, shells, and other goods not found in northeastern China) MANY: peasants (grueling lives in thatch-roofed homes and repaired dikes)
How did their writing system unite the Chinese?
Although complex, the writing system fostered unity. Many different parts of China couldn't understand other languages, but they ALL shared the same writing. (Ideographs/Pictographs) Wrote on bones and shells to reach heaven.
Describe how Chinese culture took shape during the Zhou dynasty.
Economy grew, iron-working, farmers produced more food, peasants grew new crops (soy beans), feudal lords organized large-scale irrigation (more productive farming) Commerce also expanded -> money for trade and new roads & canals.
What is the Mandate of Heaven?
Supports the legitimization of present and future rulers: provides justification for right & responsibility/moral superiority (responsible for where someone can be in hierarchy)
How did the Zhou use the Mandate of Heaven to explain its rule?
Expanded to explain the Dynastic Cycle. As long as a dynasty provided good government, it has this "Mandate of Heaven" If rulers became corrupt, they lose the "M of H". The Zhou believed the M of H" was passed to them because the Shang outraged the Gods.
Oracle bones
These are animal bones or turtle shells on which Shang priests wrote questions addressed to the gods or to the spirit of an ancestor. (They interpreted answers by heating the bone and interpreting crack patterns)
A writing system evolved that includes tens of thousands of characters, or written symbols. Each character represents a whole word or idea.
Mandate of Heaven
Heaven gives the king a mandate to rule only as long as he rules in the interests of the people. Remains central from Zhou period forward. They look "into his heart" because he must be MORAL, otherwise his decisions would be skewed.
Shang Dynasty
First Chinese Dynasty. Started large palaces and rich tombs. Shang China was known for numerous cultural achievements, social classes develop, BRONZE, SILK, WRITING SYSTEM; Archeological evidence of formation of government -> drawing)
Zhou Dynasty
Moved from Bronze -> Metal-working, Writing was a central feature of the political elite, Political Expansion (DECENTRALIZATION feudal system -> local lords governed own land, but owed military service to support ruler) & (king's authority was maintained by rituals of ancestor worship and court visits) Head of household (father) takes responsibility for dysfunctional -> mirrors emperor beliefs.