The Xiongnu, Raiders from the Steppe: Nomadic tribes who went through
cycles of organization. Every time they got organized, they raided Northern
China. Big fans of beheading. This was a basic, major issue for all Chinese
governments, but nobody ever solv
Was the Tang Dynasty (618-907) a true Chinese dynasty?
No, the imperial family of the Tang dynasty was not culturally purely
-Areas of North Korea were part of the Tang Dynasty
I. What is a dynasty?
A. A succession of rulers all claiming legitimac
Was Wu Zetian a feminist?
Yes, although she did it to promote her own interests rather than those of
women as a whole
A. Since its inception in the late 18th century, there have been three major
phases. No other culture in world history has de
Did An Lushan rebel because he was a Sogdian Turk?
No, he rebelled because the central court had alienated itself from the border
generals. The traditional Chinese position on the fall of the Tang was that the
government gave tremendous power to foreign g
Su Shi, Parable of the SunVery important reading!
Su Shi (1037-1101): The greatest Chinese literati ever. WE have more of his
stuff than anyone else. Incredible satirist, so smart he almost got himself
Su Che (1039-1112): Su Shis brother, also an a
The Discovery of Crystalized Sugar
A Treastise on Crystallized Sugar by Wang Zhuo (preface, 1142)
Sugar was purple
Did it make sense to call the Five Dynasties the Five Dynasties?
Yes, because the government of the Song China grew out of the northern
Guo Xi Advice on Landscape
Guo Xi 1020-1100
Guo Si (D. 1123)
Text is too well-written to be created by the father. Guo Xi passed the civil
service exams at the highest level, making him a genius.
Did the Song dynasty create its empire by force?
Fang Lue inscription for the temple of Auspicious Response (1106
-Temple workers credited good things happening to various gods, who were
then promoted or demoted in the religious hierarchy based on godly
Did the Chinese recognize the
Zhu Qiqian A Song Dynasty Silk-tapestry Bag with Strap
-Boy was found dead by the side of the road, identified by his bag which
was custom embroidered by high class woman
Did Chinese culture change radically during the Song Dynasty?
Yes, cultural changes
Dragons, Tigers and Elixirs: Alchemy in Medieval China
3 ways to make pure elixirs: lab, within the body, or through sex
Was the Jin (1115-1234) a Chinese Dynasty?
Yes, the Jurchen gradually created a Chinese-style government
A Dream of Splendors Past in the Eastern Capital
Long, strange text describing life in the capital of the Northern Song
Did Literati marriage patterns change in the Southern Song?
No, the pattern emerged in the 10th and 11th century
Zhu Xi, Redacted Centrality and Commonality
-47th on the NY Times 100 most important people in history
Did Zhu Xi create a systematic philosophy?
Yes, his system of thought was both systematic and philosophical. He was a
great at popularizing and shaping
Did the Mongols actually create a Chinese Dynasty?
Yes, they had all the structures and elements of Chinese traditional dynasties
I. Founding of the Yuan
A. Edict translated in Langlois China Under Mongol Rule
-Proclaimed themselves a dynasty and claimed
Did the literati change during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644)?
By Chinese definition, since the character did not change then the people
signified by the character were no different.
I. The Ming Founding
A. Zhu Yuanzhang (September 21 1328-June 24 1398) was
Was the Ming government a viable system?
I. General Form
A. The emperor had absolute power
B. Government officials were selected by exams after the rule of Zhu
All founding emperors disliked the exams, but they were almost always
Did the Invention of the stirrup lead to shock cavalry tactics?
No, shock cavalry tactics actually preceded the invention of the stirrup
I. The Western Perspective
A. In 1962, Lynn White Jr. in Medieval Technology and Social Change
argued that the stirrup
Was Buddhist monasticism always foreign in China?
I. Indian Buddhist Monasticism
A. There is very little scholarship on Indian monasticism
B. The available documents are problematic because:
1) All date from after Buddhism reached China,
2) They are norma
-Oracle bone inscriptions=bones with holes drilled into it, cracked
and cast to predict the future. The predictions were carved into the
bone and were the first written Chinese characters.
-Found at Angyang.
Are Chinese Characters Ideograms?
what is a chi
Was prehistoric China Chinese?
Yes. By later definition the original (or imagined original) culture was
Chinese because they supplied fundamentally Chinese myths which
formed the basis for culture
I. Two Aspects of Culture
A. ongoing culture is what peopl
Did Shang Religion legitimize the state?
No. Based on our available oracle bone inscriptions, Shang religion
did not provide religious sanction for Shang rule
I. Religion and the State
Religion: the belief in and worship of a superhuman god, a particular
Heaven's Mandate=divine affirmation of the ruler. Used as
justification for over 3000 years
Was the Zhou able to overthrow the Shang because of their
Yes, the Zhou chariot force provided the decisive advantage at the
Battle of Muye in 1046 BCE
The Odes were very important poems compiled by Confucious. They
are frequently associated with stretched allegories, but taken
extremely seriously, as was all poetry, in china
Was Iron smelting invented in southern China?
No, it was first introduced into
The World of the Zuozhuan- written texts credited to the editorial
hand of Confucius, input his philosophy into history, mutually
Anecdotes from the Warring States-"Aaron Sorkin" version of a
history book, gives historians a window into
Did Confucius create a systematic philosophy?
No. Confucius was neither systematic nor entirely philosophical in the
western definition of the word
I. Definition of Western Philosophy
A. Importance of education/inquiry
B. Inquiry into the nature of things
Did Confucius' followers continue his ideas?
No, the diverged significantly, but in so doing approached being
-Ru are ritual specialists used by new emperors to run the ceremonial
openings of court
-not until Han dynasty did emperors truly ad
Were the other schools of thought viable by themselves?
No. The logicians were irrelevant, the Moists too impractical and the
legalists too openly concerned with power. Without Confucianism,
these schools could not have survived
I. The Logicians
Were Laozi and Zhuangzi talking about the same thing?
Yes, both were exploring a metaphysical conception, but from
I. The two kinds of Dao
A. The Methodological Dao
-The specifics of how to act given your role in society->Confucius
Laws of Qin before the Empire: With discovery of codified laws, we
were surprised to learn that the Qin were not much harsher than their
Was the Qin Dynasty a Legalist empire?
Yes, it almost perfectly carried out a legalist program
I. Qin C
Sima QIan is so influential that he configures everything we know about the
history of China. His Letter to Ren An is a long, bitter letter putting forth
his world view
DId the Western and Eastern Han dynasties fall because of a failed
Did Transcendents isolate themselves from society?
No, the transcendents defined themselves with respect to society, so they
were not isolated
A. Socially isolated figures on mountaintops or residing in the heavens
B. Some rulers were very i