Shelves: non-fiction In short: this is the perfect basis to built upon further knowledge about China. A coherent book, well balanced chapters and sub chapters and an interesting mix of topics. So why did I only give it three stars? Imagine it like this: you go eat at a restaurant and order a steak medium cooked with a beer and some salad and fries to go with it. When you someone In short: this is the perfect basis to built upon further knowledge about China. When you someone asks you how it was, you answer: good and nothing more.

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In Yangzi valley rice was cultivated as early as BCE The technology was fairly advanced Pottery, basketry, and wooden tools In northern China, millet was the grain of choice as early as BCE Domesticated animals Both cultures domesticated dogs and pigs Sheep became key animals in the north Water buffalo and cows domesticated in the south. Oracle bones have writing on them that informs us of Shang culture. Writing Earliest evidence of full sentences appeared on oracle bones of the late Shang.

The Shang language is clearly ancestral to modern Chinese. With writing came a higher level of abstract thinking. Chinese logographic script had an important impact on the development of Chinese civilization. It was very difficult to learn so those who mastered writing formed an elite. Logographic script did not change to reflect changes in pronunciation. Thus scholars could read writing of their ancestors and other throughout China whose spoken language they could not understand.

The logographic nature of the language also made it more likely that neighbors who learned it would assimilate Chinese culture. Bronzes Thousands of Shang bronze ritual objects survive Cups, goblets, cauldrons All shapes and sizes The sheer numbers of bronzes provide evidence of Shang rulers to organize people and materials.

Decorations on bronzes change over time — sometimes borrowing from neighbors and other times using traditional patterns. Bronzes also show willingness of Shang elite to use large quantities of a valuable resource on rituals. Bronze technology used as far west as Sichuan Sanxingdui site represents a bronze age culture contemporary with the late Shang that seemed wholly separate from the Shang in artistic traditions and beliefs. The early Zhou is the first period from which texts have been transmitted.

The Zhou viewed their victory over the Shang as one of noble warriors defeating a decadent culture. The Zhou introduced important religious changes Human sacrifices declined. Divining with oracle bones declined and a new divination system base on Yijing I Ching emerged. Three Zhou rulers given credit for bringing stability King Wen Laid groundwork for attack on Shang King Wu Led the successful conquest of the Shang Duke of Zhou All three became symbols of morally sound leadership Zhou established a kind of feudal system of subordinate lords to rule the state.

The king and lords closely linked through rituals and marriage. The lords appointed their own officers and both the lords and officers positions became hereditary. Zhou society quite hierarchical Shifted from the Shang tradition The animal mask taotie disappeared in favor of birdlike imagery and bold ribs and spikes Zhou literature Earliest Chinese poetry came from the Zhou Book of Songs, which became one of the Confucian classics, started as collected folk songs.


The Cambridge Illustrated History of China



The Cambridge illustrated history of China


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