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MMW 4 8.06.08

MMW 4 8.06.08 - MMW 4 Chinese manufacturing superior luxury...

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MMW 4 8/06/08 Chinese manufacturing: superior luxury goods/products for the use of elites (?? lack of attention to manufactured items' potential for productive economic use ?) Noteworthy items : (luxury goods – products to be consumed by elite groups Porcelain (fine China), silk (handling of silk, paintings, etc.), paper (a world leader able to control the supply) gunpowder: generally, fairly limited use in military applications -- some use for projectiles (missiles, explosives) in sieges (not great against the main enemies: nomads) -Since enemies move around – projectiles for fortified buildings isn’t useful metal works: -Leading world position like paper bronze: long established tradition in China – Greeks prized in weaponry iron: superior Chinese technology permitted advanced iron work production at levels that England would achieve only 700 years later! but tended to be confined to use in weapons and art not pressed into (productive) service for tools, machines to great extent Other innovations: arts and sciences -Also world leader Moveable type – development allows for mass production of reading materials – leading to its literacy: -Helps with general health of people Agricultural advancements Spread of iron plows – important tool use, new/advanced crops (cotton, quick-ripening rice) Mathematics and astronomy -Religious reasons for understanding this -Needed to “get heaven” – get cosmic order Timekeeping Navigation portable compass suitable for shipboard use -Do not need to travel by stars which provide problems -in use by 1100, permitted advances in open-sea navigation stern-mounted rudder Trade and commerce achievements: critically important, but problematic -- see below 3. Religion in China: key features The decline of Buddhism after suppression in 845 -Became so popular that it became a threat – monestaries were seen by government as centers of power -Foreign -Potential to undermine rule of Chinese government -Series of attacks on the Buddhist religion
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-in 845 drastically declined – not exterminated Victory of Confucianism/Neo-Confucianism as the ordering philosophy of traditional Chinese society -Buddhism represented a practice only practical for some people – the upper class a. Buddhism -- a promising start wasted (?) and then extinguished the Mahayana (“Greater Vehicle†) innovation -- a Buddhism for the masses, a shift toward theism/devotionalism Image: Theravada Buddhist monks in Laos -Way of the elders – best way is to go into monesteries and keep pounding at the religion until they achieve enlightenment -Referred to by Mahayana as Hinayana – lesser vehicle -Thailand – instead of the Manastic ideal that something would be important – monks have varying motivations Image: Paradise Amitabha Buddha , late 9th century China Image: Mahayana as the " Export Vehicle " -Mahayana denies that there is a God – denies that there is existence in many ways -Devotional practice/worship practice – statue of the Buddha becomes a diety -Becomes a theistic religion – easier to swallow for mass audience
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