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Ancient China?

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    Posted: 09-Sep-2005 at 18:28
How was life like in 3000-1100 B.C. China??
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2005 at 11:44

Okay...

Yangshao culture (c. 3950-c. 1700 bc),

Longshan culture (c. 2000-c. 1850 bc)>>

Xia Dynasty (ij) C [2100 BC C 1600 BC]

Shang Dynasty (̳) C [1600 BC C 1066 BC]

 

A1 The Shang Dynasty (1766-1027 bc)

The Shang dynasty was marked by important advances in the use of bronze, for weapons and artifacts as well as for tools. Among objects shown here are a ge, or haldberg, (upper left), a badge of rank, and a yeh (second from left), an axe used in human sacrifices. The mattock and axe (bottom left) are made of stone.Dorling Kindersley

The Shang dynasty ruled the territory of the present-day north-central Chinese provinces of Henan, Hubei, and Shandong and the northern part of Anhui. The capital, from about 1384 bc on, was situated at Anyang near the northern border of Henan. The chief crops of the predominantly agricultural economy were millet, wheat, barley, and, possibly, some rice. Silkworms were reared, as well as pigs, dogs, sheep, and oxen. Bronze vessels, weapons, and other tools have been found. The Shang was an aristocratic society. At the head was a king who presided over a military nobility. Territorial rulers were appointed by him and compelled to support him in military endeavours. This aristocratic class was served by a literate priestly class responsible for administration and divination. Shang people worshipped their ancestors and numerous gods, the principal of whom was known as Shang Di, the Lord on High.

The account of the fall of the Shang dynasty that appears in traditional Chinese histories follows closely the story of the fall of the Xia. The last Shang monarch, a cruel and debauched tyrant, was overthrown by a vigorous king of Zhou (Chou), a state in the valley of the River Wei on the north-western fringes of the Shang domain. The culture of Zhou was a blend of the basic elements of Shang civilization and certain of the martial traditions characteristic of the non-Chinese peoples to the north and west.
>>


(i.e. www.chinahistoryforum.com)



Edited by Windlore
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Sep-2005 at 11:51

Is the Xia dynasty real ?

 "According to traditional historiography, the first dynasty to appear in China was the Xia dynasty (2183-1752 BCE?). The legendary sage king Yu was its founder, at least as the story goes. In fact, many non-Chinese historians doubt the existence of the Xia dynasty, at least as described in classical Chinese accounts.

Sarah Allen has adumbrated a convincing theory regarding the Xia dynasty. She argues that the Xia was the "mythical inverse" of the Shang dynasty. In other words, Shang dynasty elites imagined themselves and their society to have certain characteristics. Part of their self-identification involved positing the existence of a preceding dynasty with the opposite characteristics. This (alleged) preceding dynasty was the Xia. Later, Zhou dynasty elites placed great emphasis on the story of the Xia dynasty as part of their conception of history and the Zhou dynasty's place in the overall course of events. Allen explains:

Within the Shang myth system, there was also a dualism, the antecedent of later yin-yang theory, in which the suns, sky, birds, east, life, the Lord on High were opposed to the moons, watery underworld, dragons, west, death, the Lord below . . . and a myth in which the Shang ancestors who were identified with the suns, east . . . had vanquished a previous people, the Xia, identified with the underworld, dragons, west. . . . When the Zhou conquered the Shang, this myth was reinterpreted in the light of their own historical context as a similar historical event at a later period and the Xia came to be regarded as a political dynasty.(2)

The Shang people (or at least the elites of Shang society) naturally regarded their own mythical origins in positive terms. They therefore attributed the opposite qualities to an imagined Xia people. As a result, the elites of the Zhou dynasty regarded the Xia dynasty as an actual political entity, and later generations of Chinese historians took the Zhou chroniclers at their word. The table below illustrates the matter from the Shang point of view. If Allen is correct, it was the imagination of members of the Shang dynasty that created the idea of a Xia dynasty. Such imaginary creations are common in human history.

ALLEGED SHANG ASSOCIATIONS

ALLEGED XIA ASSOCIATIONS

SUN (OR SUNS)

MOON (OR MOONS)

SKY

WATERY UNDERWORLD

BIRDS

DRAGONS

EAST

WEST

LIFE

DEATH

LORD-ON-HIGH

LORD BELOW

 

(i.e. http://www.east-asian-history.net/textbooks/PM-China/ch2.htm)

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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14-Sep-2005 at 16:56
Okay, like any other culture, life in ancient and medieval period sucked
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  Quote JiNanRen Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Sep-2005 at 15:25
Not Harrapa, they had personal flush toilets for every house in 3000 B.C.E!!!!
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Sep-2005 at 20:12
Yes, it's not so simple. Many have the idea that we live in the best of possible worlds and that nonthing in the past was better, something that historiographic records, that only reach back to about 2500 years, in the middle of the violent Iron Ages, seem to confirm. Yet the ancient had a different idea and believed that before the sad Iron and Bronze ages, better times had existed, being (metaphorically) called Silver and Golden Ages. I suspect that this widespread legend (simmilar for Greeks and Indians at least) hides a vage memory that there were better times before the age of wars and slavery they lived in.

Sticking to topic, I find most fascinating that the Chinese were able to keep their language and culture despite all invasions, starting by the Shang. Would this imply that the Xia state was already developed enough to "impress" the invaders and the population large enough to avoid being assimilated?

Curiously enough, the alleged associations to Xia and Shang seem to have paralels in my country, in the opposite extreme of Eurasia. Basque mythology shows that ancient Europeans probably venerated ctonic (underground) divinities, being the concept of the dragon-god not unknown at all either.

NO GOD, NO MASTER!
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  Quote Guests Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Sep-2005 at 20:57

Originally posted by Maju


Sticking to topic, I find most fascinating that the Chinese were able to keep their language and culture despite all invasions, starting by the Shang. Would this imply that the Xia state was already developed enough to "impress" the invaders and the population large enough to avoid being assimilated?

Curiously enough, the alleged associations to Xia and Shang seem to have paralels in my country, in the opposite extreme of Eurasia. Basque mythology shows that ancient Europeans probably venerated ctonic (underground) divinities, being the concept of the dragon-god not unknown at all either.

That's an interesting way to explain why the beliefs in Xia and Shang dynasty are so different.

But how can bronze emerge so suddenly after the LongShan culture?

 



Edited by Windlore
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