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Sovereigns and Five Emperors; the written history of China begins with. Shang Dynasty years ago when turtle shells with ancient Chinese writing. History of China. Humans have lived in the region of the world known nowadays as China for over. 1 million years. The development of agriculture during the. CHINESE HISTORY TIMELINE. BC. Shang Dynasty. City-state confederation ruled by priest-kings. Zhou Dynasty. Mandate of Heaven.


China History Pdf

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of A History of China, by Wolfram. Eberhard This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no. CHINESE HISTORY. CHAPTER I. GEOGRAPHICAL REMARKS. Chains of mountains, extensive deserts, rivers, seas, and the wide ocean, constitute the natural. China: a new history / John King Fairbank and Merle Goldman.—2nd. enl. ed. Introduction: Approaches to Understanding China's History. 1.

Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Tansen Sen. Painted handscroll illustrating the apochryphal ten Kings of Hell Sutra. Some souls wear wooden cangues and hand fetters; all have only a loincloth. Ksitigarbha, dressed as a monk, appears at the end of the scroll, rescuing souls from hell. BacK cover:

Mair Association for Asian Studies, Inc. Formed in , the Association for Asian Studies AAS —the largest society of its kind, with close to 8, members worldwide—is a scholarly, non-political, non- profit professional association open to all persons interested in Asia. For further information, please visit www. Published by the Association for Asian Studies, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Written permission must be secured to use or reproduce any part of this book.

For orders or inquiries, please contact: Association for Asian Studies, Inc. ISBN pbk. China—Civilization—Foreign influences. Aliens— China—History. Culture diffusion—China. Mair, Victor H. S Although authors of the series have distinguished themselves as scholars as well as teachers, the prose style employed in KIAS booklets is accessible for broad audiences. This series is particularly intended for teachers and undergraduates at two- and four-year colleges as well as advanced high school students and secondary school teachers engaged in teaching Asian studies in a comparative framework and anyone with an interest in Asia.

Lucien-Ellington utc. Tsutsui Global India circa CE: He is the author of Buddhism, Diplomacy, and Trade: He is a specialist on medieval vernacular Buddhist literature and, for the last two decades, has led an international team of scholars and archaeologists investigating the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age mummies of the Tarim Basin. Columbia University Press, Neolithic settlements in China 18 2. The Shang dynasty 19 2. The Western Zhou dynasty 22 2.

The Warring States period 25 3. The Western Han dynasty 32 3. The world in 50 CE 34 3. The Silk Routes 36 3. The Yunnan-India route 37 4. Buddhist pilgrimage sites in India 51 4. The Tang dynasty 54 5. The Song dynasty: Medieval Asian ports and cities, ca. The Mongol empire 74 5. Tomb figurines of foreigners in China 7 1. Tribute mission 10 1. Mummy from Xinjiang two views 18 2. Shang bronze 20 2.

Mask from Sanxingdui 21 2. Statue from Sanxingdui 21 2. Cowry container from Yunnan, Dian Culture 21 2. Rock drawings of chariots 23 2. Belt hooks 24 2. Cowries 26 3. Silk textiles 35 3. Glass beads 37 3. Oracle bone 39 3. The Buddha 41 3. Image of the Buddha in a Han dynasty tomb 43 4. The Chinese Buddhist hell 47 4. Buddhist site on Mount Wutai, as depicted on a wall-painting at Dunhuang 52 4.

Sogdians depicted on a Chinese stele 56 4. Manichaean deities from Turfan 57 4. The bodhisattva Ksitigarbha 61 5. Porcelain brush stand 68 5. Chinese compass 71 5. Song dynasty ship from Quanzhou 72 5. The Mongol attack on Japan 73 5. A mosque in Quanzhou 76 5. Tribute of a giraffe 76 G1. There are several commendable features of Traditional China in Asian and World History that should make it a lively as well as informative read.

Although this Key Issues booklet will assist students in gaining a basic chronological understanding of traditional China, the authors stay focused upon the theme of Chinese interaction with other cultures and provide engaging multiple examples of it in various manifestations ranging from Chinese perceptions of foreigners to vivid descriptions of China-related regional and international commerce and the roles of religious pilgrims in fostering intercultural contacts.

The utilization of this number of graphics is unprecedented since I began editing the series, but readers can be assured that each one strengthens the value of the booklet. It is difficult to imagine how these authors could have done a better job producing such a concise, yet rich, basic introduction to traditional China, and thoughtful students and instructors who read and reflect upon the booklet will most probably hereafter, if this is not presently the case, conceptualize traditional China as substantially involved in regional and world history and by no means isolated from other cultures.

Working with Tansen and Victor was certainly a pleasure and I am grateful for their openness to suggestions and persistence in crafting such a good booklet. However, this booklet would not have been possible without the work of several people. Special thanks go to Keith Knapp, who read the initial proposal for this booklet and to Jeffrey Richey and Charles Hayford, who provided excellent specific suggestions on the completed first draft manuscript.

Patricia Martin assisted us in finding images and obtaining permission for their use. We also want to thank various institutions and presses for giving us copyright permission for illustrations, maps, and the primary sources included in the Appendix. We are grateful to Paula Roberts for help with editing and proofreading. We would also like to thank the two anonymous reviewers of the manuscript for helpful suggestions and useful comments. Above all, we wish to express our gratitude to Lucien Ellington and Jonathan Wilson for inviting us to write this volume in the first place and for guiding us through every step of the way.

If this volume succeeds in meeting the purposes for which it was intended, much of the credit should go to them. Similarly, the passive role of Chinese dynasties in their interactions with neighboring societies, emphasized in earlier studies, also has come under serious scrutiny.

It shows how the cross-cultural linkages established by traders, missionaries, immigrants, military and diplomatic missions, and other travelers transformed Chinese society in fundamental ways. It also illustrates the important role of Chinese dynasties in cross-regional and cross-continental networks and their role in influencing societies far distant from the Central Plains, the area around the Yellow River that would later become the nucleus of China.

The first chapter outlines the value, as well as the shortcomings, of the ancient Chinese records on neighboring societies and foreign kingdoms.

These records not only provide detailed accounts of cross-cultural interactions; they also offer significant insights into the Chinese perception of foreign societies and in some instances the views of foreign peoples about Chinese society. This chapter also examines early Chinese attitudes toward the role of the emperor and perceptions of China in the wider world, especially with regard to diplomatic interactions, foreign trade, and religious exchanges.

Demonstrating that the Central Plains from an early period interacted with neighboring societies and acquired foreign technologies and ideas, the second chapter explores the pre-Han period of Chinese history i. These agents were also responsible for transferring goods and ideas from the Central Plains to other regions of the world. The networks of cross-cultural interactions between the Central Plains and other settled and nomadic societies, as this chapter argues, seem to have been established long before the period usually acknowledged.

Some of these early networks developed into the so-called Silk Routes with, as explained in chapter 3, the expansion of the Han empire BCE— CE into Central Asia and the spread of Chinese civilization to the coastal regions.

Indeed, travelers and traders from still more far-flung regions of the world started arriving in Han China through these conduits, bringing with them exotic goods and ideas. This chapter focuses on three aspects of the formation of the Silk Routes: The transmission of Buddhist doctrines to China was a significant event in Asian and world history.

Not only did the acceptance of the doctrine drastically transform the lives of the people living in the Central Plains; it also created unique linkages among kingdoms and societies extending from present-day Iran to Japan. Chapter 4 outlines the history of China from the third through the tenth centuries within the context of the formation and expansion of these unique linkages. Issues addressed include the impact of Buddhism on Chinese society; the role of Buddhism in fostering the exchange of ideas, commodities, and diplomatic missions among various other regions of Asia; and the importance of the Buddhist-centered India-China exchanges to Asian and world history.

The final chapter charts the emergence of China as a major participant in cross-cultural commerce from the tenth to the mid-fifteenth centuries. It analyzes the changes in economic policies during the Song — , Yuan — , and Ming — dynasties that influenced world trade.

In addition to examining how the explosion of trading activity influenced Chinese society, including changes it brought to Chinese cuisine and the enhanced role of the merchant class, this chapter outlines the formation of Chinese diasporic communities in Southeast Asia and the resulting spread of Chinese culture across the Indian Ocean. The appendix offers a selection of primary sources that underscore the theme of cross-cultural interactions between the Central Plains and the outside world.

These are Chinese notices on foreign peoples and societies from before the Common Era to the fifteenth century. The selections are meant to give readers a basic understanding of the wide-ranging, complex, and often ethnocentric nature of the sources employed in writing this book.

A Note on Terminology Two terms in this book perhaps need to be clarified. The first is Central Plains, which refers to the main part of the Yellow River valley, especially the area that is now Henan Province.

To make this volume easier to read for non-specialists, we have decided not to use diacritical marks for Sanskrit, Japanese, and other non-Sinitic terms. These interactions took the form of exchanges of commodities as well as armed conflict.

Perhaps the defining moment in the early history of such interactions took place in BCE, when the so-called barbarians invaded and pillaged the capital of the Zhou dynasty — BCE. Thereafter, the threat from neighboring tribes was highlighted in Chinese sources and the methods of dealing with them were articulated by various scholars, philosophers, and strategists, including the earliest Ru Confucians, those who followed the way of the sage, Confucius , for whom Zhou culture set the standard for excellence in civilization.

These accounts usually highlighted the cultural superiority of the Chinese people and the military supremacy of the Chinese court and employed a Confucian framework in depicting the Chinese emperor as the Heaven-mandated ruler of the world. The foreign kingdoms in this context were all perceived as tributary states of the Chinese dynasty. The foreign people, who were often named with characters using Chinese radicals for various animals especially insects and canines , were frequently depicted in these dynastic histories as uncivilized, lacking proper social norms, and submissive to the authority of the Chinese court Yang ; Waley-Cohen ; Abramson The religious texts and stories about the Buddha and the land in which he dwelled depicted a society that was on a par with that of the Chinese.

In fact, some Chinese Buddhist monks argued that India should be recognized as the center of the world. Such views of India in Chinese Buddhist writings persisted until around the tenth or eleventh century Sen Sometime in the eleventh century, Chinese traders and merchants started to venture into foreign markets.

There was a keen interest in foreign goods and commodities at the Song court, which established various customhouses at its port cities. These customhouses, through Chinese and foreign itinerant traders, started collecting material on foreign people and kingdoms, and some of these materials were compiled to form new ethnographic records of foreign lands. There were also instances in which people accompanying traders and mercantile ships wrote eyewitness accounts of foreign regions.

These notices and records were significantly different from the dynastic histories described above. Unlike the Confucian worldview presented in the dynastic histories and the utopian perception of India found in Chinese Buddhist works, these works were more focused on the description of urban dwellings, flora and fauna, and goods produced and traded by the foreign kingdoms. The compilers of the work, Sima Tan ca. They were also witness to one of the most glorious periods of Chinese history under Han Emperor Wu r.

The father and son team established a format for later court historians who were likewise charged with writing dynastic histories essen- tially, the history of the preceding dynasty. Tomb figurines of foreigners in China. They are described as a people with no writing system and no knowledge of pro- priety or righteousness Watson [] The cruelty and violent nature of the Xiongnu, especially toward Han China, are depicted throughout the work.

As an example, the leader of the Xiongnu, a person named Modu his name is also spelled as Modun, Maodun, etc. However, the laws of the kingdom are portrayed as just, even though extreme at times.

Anyone convicted of theft has his property confiscated. Minor offenses are punished by flogging and major ones by death. No one is kept in jail awaiting sentence longer than ten days, and the number of imprisoned men for the whole nation does not exceed a handful. In the dialogue, which is included in its entirety in the appendix to this volume, Zhonghang Yue rationally explains to the envoy the contemptuous perceptions the people in Han China seem to have about the social and cultural customs of the Xiongnu, including the practice of sons marrying stepmothers upon the death of the father.

Enough of this blabbering and mouthing! Just because you wear hats, what does that make you? As a consequence, the Han court was forced to negotiate a peace agreement with the Xiongnu in exchange for large quantities of precious goods and sometimes Chinese princesses for the Xiongnu chieftain. The sovereign-vassal relationship between the Chinese dynasties and foreign kingdoms, which was symbolized by the tribute missions sent to the court in China by foreign kings, originated in the Confucian view of the wider world and the place of the Chinese ruler within this world order.

Confucius and later Confucian scholars perceived China as the center of the world, calling it Zhongguo, the Middle Kingdom. The emperor of the Middle Kingdom was known as the Son of Heaven because he had acquired legitimacy through the mandate to rule from Heaven, a concept that originated during the Zhou period and was later incorporated into Confucian texts as part of the governing ideology.

Within this framework, the Chinese ruler was also perceived to be the sovereign of foreign peoples and lands, especially because the latter were considered uncivilized, greedy, unruly, and barbaric.

Tributary missions from foreign kingdoms to the Chinese court were meant to confirm this sovereign-vassal relationship Fairbank With the acceptance of Confucianism as the state doctrine during the Han dynasty, the concepts of the Son of Heaven and the sovereign-vassal relationship became integrated into Chinese statecraft and foreign affairs.

Most officials who served at the court, including those responsible for compiling dynastic histories, were trained in Confucian teachings.

Thus, in the diplomatic exchanges and correspondence between the Chinese court and foreign kingdoms these viewpoints were repeatedly emphasized, even when the Chinese ruler had no military control over the kingdoms that sent tributary missions.

During the Three Kingdoms period —80 , for example, the Wei court —65 wrote to the female ruler of Japan in the following way: I am very fond of you. Tsunoda and de Bary For a study of diplomatic interactions between Chinese and Japanese rulers, see Wang The bestowal of honorary titles and return gifts were the usual ways in which the Chinese rulers thanked the tribute senders. One such instance took place during the Tang dynasty — when the founding ruler, Emperor Gaozu r.

Why should we order Koguryo to be our subject in order to acquire for us greatness and honor? It cannot be allowed [for them] not to be subject. Moreover, the Middle Kingdom is, for the barbarians, like the sun to all the stars. There is no reason to descend from superiority to be on a level of equality with those in the barrier zone. Pan Indeed, the solicitation of tributary missions from foreign kingdoms continued during the Song and Ming dynasties.

Tributary missions during the Song dynasty are particularly noteworthy because the dynasty had been thoroughly defeated by three of its northern neighbors, the Khitans, Tanguts, and Jurchens. The Song court was forced to sign peace treaties that required sending annual tribute to these three foreign kingdoms.

It was also humiliated into recognizing the victors as political equals and sharing the symbolic Mandate of Heaven. The tribute system during the Song period, as described later in the book, focused more on the pragmatic fiscal needs of the state than on maintaining the Confucian world order.

Book:History of China

Tribute mission. Song continued to portray tributary missions as recognition that the Chinese emperor was the sovereign head of the entire world. Proper protocol and the relative status of the tributary kingdoms, as the following selection from Songshi Dynastic History of the Song indicates, remained a concern for these officials. The imperial order was issued to give them the same treatment in reception as given to the envoys of the kingdom of Zhunian Cholas, in southern India.

According to the Department of State Affairs, [however,] [the kingdom of] Zhunian is subject to [that of] Sanfoqi i. Now, Pugan is a large kingdom, and [therefore] it cannot be looked down upon as a kingdom subject to another. It is desirable to treat it [in reception] like Dashi Arabia , Jiaozhi present-day Vietnam and other [kingdoms].

All the imperial edicts should be written on a silk with flower design in gold and backed with white paper, be kept in a gilt box locked with a silver key, be covered with a brocade wrapping cloth, and be sent with the envoys.

This suggestion [made by the Department of State Affairs] was adopted. The kingdom of Zhunian, or Chola — , in southern India, which is mentioned in the record, instead of being subject to Srivijaya ca.

Despite such factual mistakes, exaggerated Confucian viewpoints, and other shortcomings, the records of foreign kingdoms in the Chinese dynastic histories offer vital information about the interactions between China and other parts of Asia and the world. These records underscore the fact that these complex interactions between ancient China and the neighboring regions, as well as far-flung foreign peoples, had existed unhindered since before the Common Era.

The Holy Land of the Chinese Buddhists The Confucian perception of barbaric foreigners was sternly challenged by Chinese Buddhists for what they considered to be mistaken views on India. Confucian and also Daoist adherents in China were stunned by the fact that a growing number of Chinese, including commoners, elites, and even some rulers, were following the teachings of a foreigner, reading and reciting in a foreign language, and making pilgrimages to a foreign land.

Some criticized the followers of Buddhism and argued that the doctrine was meant to control the unruly foreigners and offered nothing to the civilized society of the Chinese.

Others engaged in composing polemical literature attacking the Buddha and Buddhist doctrines. But, like Buddhist doctrines, the perception of India as a holy land and civilized territory penetrated Chinese society, so much so that the Confucian scribes found it difficult to portray the Indian subcontinent as just another barbaric land.

The Chinese Buddhist pilgrims who visited India and returned to China to write about their journeys were instrumental in developing the perception of India as a holy and civilized land.

Their works were widely read and cited by non-Buddhist writers, including the composers of dynastic histories. The fact that the records of pilgrimages were eyewitness accounts that detailed not only the practice of Buddhism in India but also the lives of ordinary people and the sophisticated governance system employed by their rulers, made it difficult for the Confucian and Daoist critics to present a dramatically different picture of India.

Failing that, the Daoists at one point tried to argue that the founder of their religion, Laozi, had gone to India to teach the Buddha or was himself transformed into the Buddha and was, thus, responsible for making India a civilized country. These three pilgrims were Faxian ?

These three were among hundreds of Chinese monks who made pilgrimages to India during the first millennium CE. And, while there were other Chinese monks who wrote about their journeys to India, no accounts are as detailed and influential as those written by Faxian, Xuanzang, and Yijing.

In Loulan Kroraina , in eastern Central Asia, for example, Faxian reports seeing natives who dressed like the Chinese but followed the customs of India. The local Buddhist clergy, according to him, read Indian books and practiced speaking the Indian language. Perhaps more noteworthy, however, is the account of how one of the Chinese monks accompanying Faxian was mesmerized by Buddhist sites and monastic institutions in India.

From here to the south all [the region] is Madhyadesa. Its people are rich. The inhabitants of Madhyadesa dress and eat like people in the Middle Kingdom.

Sen Indeed, in the context of Chinese discourse on foreign peoples, in which foreign eating habits and clothing were usually held up against the sophistication of Chinese culture, this statement indicates the unique status of the Indians in the Chinese world order. Another Chinese pilgrim to be confronted with this notion of China as a borderland area was Xuanzang. Nalanda Monastery just after he decided to return to Tang China, Xuanzang was reminded of the peripheral position of China in regard to the Buddhist world centered in India.

As the people are narrow-minded, with deep moral impurity, saints and sages do not go there. The climate is cold and the land is full of dangerous mountains. What is there for you to be nostalgic about? For them, the Indian view must have come as a shock. They were undoubtedly also astounded by the writings of a Chinese monk called Daoxuan — , who in the seventh century passionately argued that India, not China, should be considered the center of the world.

Daoxuan framed his argument with calculations of the distances between the geographical determinants of the mountains and seas and the two countries, as well as a comparison of the levels of cultural sophistication achieved in India and China. The Chinese writing system, on the other hand, he pointed out, had no legitimate origins and lacked a fixed alphabet Sen These depictions and perceptions of India among the Chinese Buddhists made the issue of the place of China in the wider world much more complicated than the Confucianists assumed.

The Confucian court scribes who composed the dynastic histories ended up using accounts of India found in Buddhist writings and rarely attempted to portray India as a less sophisticated region than China, as they did with nearly all other lands outside China. Consequently, considering typical Chinese views of foreign peoples and regions, Chinese perceptions of India were unique. Chinese Traders and Foreign Markets By the early tenth century, foreign trade and commerce had emerged as important concerns of both the people and the courts in medieval China.

This is reflected in the appearance of a new genre of Chinese writing that recorded foreign kingdoms and regions without either the Confucian or Buddhist frameworks described above. Information about overseas regions presented in these works was collected either by foreign traders arriving at the ports of China or by Chinese merchants traveling abroad.

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries witnessed the establishment of Chinese diasporic communities in parts of Southeast Asia and the founding of a vast Chinese maritime network. As a result, many of the Chinese records on foreign regions written after the tenth century deal with the maritime world. One of the key sources for judging the Chinese perception of foreign kingdoms and peoples during this period is Zhufan zhi Description of Foreign Peoples.

A person named Zhao Rugua, who was charged with overseeing maritime activity in the southern Chinese port of Quanzhou, compiled this work in the twelfth century, drawing on information gathered from itinerant merchants. The chapters describe the main products and exports of foreign kingdoms, their economic conditions and military prowess, and the tribute missions sent to the Song court.

The section dealing with foreign commodities states their place of origin and the ways in which they were produced. The kingdom of Srivijaya in Southeast Asia and the Arab region were the most important trading partners of China during this period.

Many of the commodities entering the markets in Tang and Song China originated in the Arabian Peninsula and were supplied through the ports of Srivijaya. Merchants from both these regions were active in the coastal regions of China and frequently appeared at the Song court as tribute carriers.

Describing this trade between Song China and the Arab ports through Srivijaya, the work notes: The Dashi or Arabs are to the west and north or northwest of Quanzhou at a very great distance from it, so that foreign ships find it difficult to make the voyage there direct.

After these ships have left Quanzhou they come in some forty days to Lanli, where they trade. The following year they go to sea again, when with the aid of the regular wind they take some sixty days to make the journey. The products of the country are for the most part brought to Srivijaya, where they are sold to merchants who forward them to China. Hirth and Rockhill The country of Majia is reached if one travels from the country of Maluoba i.

This is the place where the Buddha Mohammed was born. In the House of the Buddha the walls are made of jade stone of every colour. Every year, when the anniversary of the death of the Buddha comes round, the people from all the countries of the Dashi assemble here, when they vie with each other in bringing presents of gold, silver, jewels and precious stones. Then also is the House adorned anew with silk brocade.

Farther off there is the tomb of the Buddha. Continually by day and night there is at this place such a brilliant refulgence radiance that no one can approach it; he who does loses his sight. Whosoever in the hour of his death rubs his breast with dirt taken from this tomb, will, they say, be restored to life again by the power of the Buddha. In fact, whenever these Chinese scribes and officials were confronted with foreign religions such as Christianity, Islam, or Manichaeism, they tended to use Buddhist terminology to describe them.

In other words, the experience of virtually all alien faiths by medieval Chinese was shaped by the formative encounter between China and its first major foreign faith, Buddhism. Information about Mecca improved significantly during the Ming period, as the document in the appendix indicates, due to the visit to the region by Admiral Zheng He. Indeed, the seven voyages of Zheng He, outlined in chapter 5, significantly added to Chinese knowledge of the maritime world.

Accompanying Zheng He on the voyages were writers who kept detailed records and notes about the places the entourage visited. The book offers detailed information about the ports and kingdoms Zheng He and the accompanying officers visited. Similar to Zhufan zhi, Yingyai shenglan provides a minute account of the economic and commercial conditions in these maritime kingdoms but also includes descriptions of social conditions and customs.

Writing about Hormuz, for example, Ma Huan, a Muslim, reports: The king of the country and the people of the country all profess the Muslim religion; they are reverent, meticulous, and sincere believers; every day they pray five times, [and] they bathe and practice abstinence. The customs are pure and honest. There are no poor families; if a family meets with misfortune resulting in poverty, everyone gives them clothes and food and capital, and relieves their distress.

Mills As the above discussion indicates, the Chinese notion of foreign peoples and lands was diverse and multifaceted. It should, however, be noted that these sources offer only a partial view of Chinese perceptions. There were many foreigners who settled in the ports and towns of China and frequently interacted with the Chinese.

Foreign Buddhist monks traveled across China to transmit the teachings of the Buddha. Thus, many ordinary Chinese may have had their own ideas and beliefs about foreigners, beliefs that are not necessarily represented in the sources mentioned and cited in this chapter. Known as Yuanmou Man Homo erectus yuanmouensis , Lantian Man Homo erectus lantianensis , and Peking Man Homo erectus pekinensis respectively, these hominids produced distinctive stone tools. Some may have been able to control and use fire.

Studies of the remains of Homo erectus and Homo sapiens in China make it clear that these species did not live in isolation. The Neolithic cultures of China, such as the Yangshao ca. These Neolithic settlements extended from the modern province of Jiangsu in southern China to the northwestern provinces of Qinghai and Gansu. Archaeological evidence indicates extensive interactions not only among these settled societies but also with the nomadic tribes in the Central Asian steppe region.

Foreign goods such as jade were most likely acquired by the Neolithic settlements located in present-day Qinghai and Gansu provinces, which bordered the Central Asian steppe region, and then passed on to the people in the Central Plains. Human figurines found at several Neolithic sites are evidence of contacts with people outside the Central Plains. Neolithic settlements in China. The earliest of these so-called Tarim mummies dates from the beginning of the second millennium BCE Mallory and Mair These people and their relatives on the steppe may have played an important role in introducing Figure 2.

Mummy from Xinjiang two views. Photos by Wang Da-Gang. The rest of this chapter examines these two technological imports as evidence of cross-cultural interaction between the Central Plains and foreign peoples in early Chinese history. It also describes the use of cowries, seashells that were utilized as currency, by the Shang dynasty as evidence of contacts between the Central Plains and the southern regions, extending to the Indian Ocean.

Made from alloyed copper and tin, bronze was harder than any previously known metal. Initially, bronze was used to manufacture weapons, but later agricultural implements, ritual vessels, and sculptures were also made from this new metal. In the Central Plains, evidence of bronze metallurgy first appears almost two millennia later, from sites belonging to the Erlitou Culture ca.

The Shang dynasty. The technology needed to manufacture bronze seems to have been passed on to the Erlitou people by the neighboring Qijia and Siba cultures among others , located in present-day Gansu Province, indicating an eastward transmission of bronze-making technology from Southwestern Eurasia through Central Asia to the Central Plains Mei That the use of bronze was widespread is evident from various archaeological sites belonging to the Shang dynasty.

Exquisite bronze vessels, for example, have been discovered in large quantities at Anyang, one of the capitals of the Shang dynasty. Many of these vessels are ritual items that were used either as containers for making offerings to dead ancestors or as burial items.

Many of these objects have delicate carvings and designs. During the Shang dynasty, bronze was also used to make weapons, chariots, and agricultural implements. Shang bronze.

In truth, this martial aspect of Lady Hao is probably related to her northern or northwestern affinities, since it was customary for women of the steppe to fight alongside the men Mallory Bronze artifacts from the Sanxingdui site in Sichuan show close links between objects produced in the local region, but the ultimate origins of its metallurgical and cultural traditions are not clearly understood. Two famous bronze arti- facts from Sanxingdui are a Figure 2. Mask from Sanxingdui.

These artifacts indicate Historybye Similarly, the bronze-making tradition of the Dian Culture c. One of the most striking bronze artifacts from the Dian Culture is a two-meter-long bronze coffin. There are also several bronze cowry containers, indicating, as dis- cussed below, the trade and use of cowries in the Yunnan region. Figure 2. Statue from Sanxingdui.

The bronze pieces found at Shang, Sichuan, Yunnan, and other regional sites indicate that the metal was used mostly by the elite of these societies. Although weapons Figure 2. Cowry container from Yunnan, and agricultural tools were also Dian Culture. The Western Zhou dynasty. The use of bronze to make ritual items continued during the Western Zhou period even after iron metallurgy was introduced to China, once again through Central Asia, in the first millennium BCE.

In fact, it took about six centuries for iron eventually to replace bronze. Chariots and Horse Riding Chariots and horse-riding skills were similarly introduced to the Central Plains as a result of interactions between the settled peoples and nomadic tribes. While chariots were already in use during the Shang period and entered China as early as BCE Shaughnessy , horse-riding skills developed much later, perhaps as late as the fourth century BCE Goodrich Archaeological remains and rock drawings clearly demonstrate an eastward transmission of chariotry from the Caucasus through Central Asia to China by — BCE.

Other resemblances suggest that the Chinese chariots used during the Shang and Zhou dynasties were derived from those used in the Caucasus, though with appropriate modifications for local conditions. There is some, albeit extremely limited, evidence of their use in battles during the Shang dynasty.

This evidence, found in the form of inscriptions on Shang oracle bones, indicates that chariots were used by neighboring adversaries of the Shang to the north and northwest and sometimes captured from them.

It was only during the Western Zhou period that the use of chariots became widespread in the Central Plains and they were employed as an important element of regional warfare. Still, even during this period chariots did not emerge as key strike weapons in battles in and around China but retained their chief role as mobile command and observation platforms.

The use of chariots in warfare started to decline sometime in the fifth century BCE with the introduction of cavalry, another technological import from the Central Asian steppe.

Rock drawings of chariots. After Shaughnessy Domesticated horses were in use across most of Eurasia in the third millennium BCE, including by the pastoral nomadic tribes in the Central Asian steppe regions.

While horses were used for chariots in Shang China, horse riding became prevalent only during the second half of the first millennium BCE. The reason for the late development of horse riding in China may have been cultural. The attire of the people in China, for example, was not convenient for riding horses.

Proper gear, including trousers, belts, and saddles, was needed to foster the horse-riding tradition. Interactions with the Central Asian steppe people facilitated the introduction of such equestrian gear into China, and by the fourth century BCE cavalry and mounted archers had become integral parts of warfare among the warring states in the Yellow River valley.

The use of cavalry created a demand for horses in China, which had limited pastoral lands in which to breed horses appropriate for warfare. Throughout most of its history, China had to depend on horses supplied by Central Asian and Tibetan traders. In fact, horses became one of the most important imports of the Chinese dynasties. Commodities exchanged for horses included silk and tea, the latter especially during the Song and Ming periods, and princesses were occasionally married off to steppe rulers in order to secure horses or peace.

When China was militarily strong, expeditions were sometimes launched to obtain horses by force. Belt hooks. The Warring States period.

Although rulers of China keenly recognized the power of the horse in the hands of nomadic warriors, a fundamental lack of affinity for this temperamental creature, which is difficult both to rear and to handle, meant that other means of projecting military strength had to be discovered.

This the leaders of China found in the technique of massed infantry. The latter development resulted from the emergence of new modes of sociopolitical organization of human resources during the Warring States period — BCE such as the extension of military service from the aristocracy to the peasantry; increasing complexity of the bureaucratic administration, including the creation of districts linked to the central government; and the emergence of a class of civil servants.

Another key factor in the emergence of large, well-coordinated armies of foot soldiers was the widespread adoption of iron weapons. Supplying hundreds of thousands of soldiers with metal weapons had been unthinkable in the preceding Bronze Age, when bronze armaments were reserved exclusively for aristocratic members of society Mair Initially, it seems, cowries were used as jewelry and ritual items and eventually, during the Zhou dynasty, especially because they could not be counterfeited, as currency Li Like bronze objects, cowries are found in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces.

In fact, Yunnan may have been one of the thoroughfares through which cowries reached the Yellow River valley. A major source of cowries in China was the Maldives, a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, from which they were brought to the coastal regions of eastern India or Myanmar and then transported overland to Yunnan.

These cowries most likely were transported along the eastern coast of China and up the Yellow River to the Central Plains. Although there is no evidence that people from Central Plains were active in maritime activities at this early stage, the region clearly had access to commodities traded in the maritime world.

Scholars have suggested the existence of a so-called Nusantao trading and communication network of the Southeast Asian natives that, since at least the third millennium BCE, linked the maritime world from the Pacific to the Indian Ocean and especially the coastal regions of China to Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia Solheim The Name China and Contact with the Wider World Interactions between China and the neighboring regions intensified after BCE, when the Zhou dynasty gradually started disintegrating and the regional governors began asserting more autonomy.

In order to expand their territories, these regional governors began encroaching on the areas settled or used as pastoral lands by their tribal neighbors. These conflicts between the expanding states of the Central Plains and peoples in the border areas may have been the reason for the unfalteringly antagonistic and exoticized portrayals of foreign people that show up in the later historical records in China.

These records also indicate that, in addition to armed conflicts, economic exchanges between China and the neighboring societies intensified. Indeed, various commodities from China, including silk, became lucrative items of trade to members of the neighboring societies both for internal consumption and for reexport to other regions. The Qin state — BCE , which was located on the western periphery of China and eventually unified the region in BCE, appears to have played an important role in supplying goods from China to the nomadic tribes in Central Asia.

Thus, it is clear from archaeological and textual sources that extensive cross-cultural networks, comprising the movement of people, goods, and ideas, connected the Central Plains to the wider world long before the famed Silk Road was established. To the north and northwest, China maintained contacts with nomadic tribes that contributed to the transfer of bronze and iron metallurgies.

These tribes also passed on horse-riding skills and the technology required for manufacturing chariots to the people in the Central Plains. To the south, the people living in the Yellow River valley seem to have had sustained interactions with the settled societies in Sichuan and Yunnan.

And through some of these regions, the Central Plains were connected to the wider maritime world. In BCE, Cyrus r. About two centuries later, invasion by the Macedonian ruler Alexander r. The impending attack led to internal problems, eventual disintegration, and ultimately the collapse of the kingdom of Magadha, which was located in the central Ganges River valley region.

The person responsible for overthrowing the kingdom of Magadha was Chandragupta Maurya r. In Italy, the Romans created a republican constitution in BCE and, despite internal problems, conquered various regions of western Europe and parts of northern Africa.

These developments contributed to the formation of long-distance trade routes that stimulated cross-continental interactions and exchanges. Indeed, the political stability throughout vast regions of Asia and Europe brought about by these empires was conducive to the movement of people and goods not only within the specific regions but also across the continents.

Commercial exchange was also stimulated by policies that standardized weights and measures, built and protected highways, and encouraged internal and external commerce. The routes that connected China to the markets in the west are popularly known as the Silk Roads Die Seidenstrassen , a name given to the route that passed through Central Asia by the German geographer Ferdinand von Richthofen in However, Central Asia was also a cause for concern and a target for the expanding empires located in China.

Although the Qin dynasty lasted less than two decades and was despised by later court historians for the brutal persecution of its subjects, especially intellectuals, it was instrumental in integrating China into a single, bureaucratically organized state.

It standardized the Chinese script, currencies, weights, axle widths, and laws. It also built new roads, bridges, and irrigation systems that were conducive to the expansion of commerce and agriculture. The Qin dynasty is also credited with connecting the defensive walls of the previous kingdoms into what became known as the Great Wall. Military confrontations between the states in East Asia and the Xiongnu were common, and some sections of the Great Wall were built as a consequence of this warfare.

Conflict with the Xiongnu emerged as one of the main concerns of the Han dynasty, which succeeded the Qin in BCE and ruled China for about four hundred years divided almost exactly in half into the Western Han, also known as the Former Han, and the Eastern Han, also known as the Later Han. When it became clear to the early rulers of the Han dynasty that military confrontation with the powerful Xiongnu would prove futile, they devised a diplomatic policy of appeasement called heqin peace and alliance.

Under this policy, the Han court sought to establish peaceful relationships with the Xiongnu in exchange for various economic and other incentives.

It initiated, for example, a marriage alliance with the Xiongnu leader by giving him a Han princess. The ascendancy of the Xiongnu also had a significant impact on the other nomadic tribes that occupied eastern Central Asia. The Yuezhi, an Indo-European group, was one of those most affected by the expansion of Xiongnu power.

After resisting several Xiongnu incursions, the Yuezhi were thoroughly defeated in BCE and, according to a famous legend, the skull of their king was made into a drinking cup by the Xiongnu ruler. After this defeat, the Yuezhi were forced to flee westward, ultimately to the region beyond the Pamirs. The diplomat sent to Central Asia to accomplish this task, Zhang Qian d. He was forced to marry a local woman and remained a captive for about ten years. Zhang managed to escape and eventually made contact with the Yuezhi.

He discovered, however, that the Yuezhi—having found a new life in Central Asia—were not interested in fighting the Xiongnu. Even though the Han court failed to find an ally, it launched a surprise attack on the Xiongnu in BCE. During the next decade, the Xiongnu and the Han armies fought two major battles, in and , in which the latter emerged as clear victors.

These defeats led to the breakup of the Xiongnu empire and the entry of Han forces into the Central Asian region, reaching as far west as Samarkand. After occupying Central Asia, the Han court quickly set up protectorates and military garrisons to control and administer the region.

It also established agricultural garrisons to provide supplies to the Han forces stationed in Central Asia. Additionally, the court attempted to interfere in the political affairs of the Indo-Greek kingdoms located near its western borders, which Alexander had established earlier.

The Western Han dynasty. Accusing the Jibin rulers of assaulting the Han envoys frequenting the region, the court allied itself with a local Greek settler in an attempt to change the regime in the Hindu Kush kingdom. Although it succeeded in placing him on the throne, the relationship between the court and the new ruler, known in Chinese sources as Yinmofu Hermaeus?

The antagonism between the Han court and the Jibin kingdom may have stemmed from the fact that the local rulers in the Hindu Kush region were adamantly opposed to Han expansionist policies in Central Asia Sen These exchanges are important illustrations of the role and participation of the Chinese in Eurasian intercultural interactions before the Common Era. The Han dominated the eastern Central Asian region for about a century, when internal problems associated with land reforms weakened the dynasty.

A usurper called Wang Mang r. Within two decades, however, one of the descendants of the Han ruling family reclaimed the Mandate of Heaven and quickly reasserted its dominance over Central Asia. The Formation of the Silk Roads Regular exchange of goods between the settled societies around the Yellow River valley and the nomadic peoples in Inner and Central Asia seems to have begun as early as the second millennium BCE.

By the latter half of the first millennium BCE, when cavalry units were formed within the armies of states in China, economic relationships with Central Asian peoples became particularly vital for the supply of horses. Since China did not produce horses that fit the needs of cavalries, the Central Asian steppe region was its main source for this important commodity.

Indeed, as noted above, horses remained one of the leading imports of later Chinese dynasties. In Chinese film history by generation is not abso- Mingxing Film Company was purportedly saved from lute, but doing so does provide a conceptual framework financial ruin by releasing an extremely successful melo- to position the changes and rhythms of the medium and dramatic film entitled Orphan Rescues Grandfather di- its appeal to audiences worldwide.

Other important genres in the s included martial arts films and historical costume dramas, which Tianyi First Film Company, founded by First-Generation the Shao Shaw brothers, was famous for producing. The initial films often depicted visually. And screenwriters and film mostly from Hollywood. Lianhua United Film Com- critics who were members of the Chinese Communist pany emerged as one of the big three domestic studios in Party CCP , founded in Shanghai in , introduced the early s alongside Mingxing and Tianyi.

Lianhua artistic debates that would be discussed in film circles produced films staring famous actresses such as Hu Die for decades. It was a time when large crowds went to art deco film. The first sound film released in China was made in theaters with seating capacities of more than one thou- Shanghai in Cat- egorizing the Chinese film industry by genera- tion allows students of the cinema and movie buffs as well to consider how changing technol- ogy, popular culture, and political climate affected the cinema arts.

Studio, established in by Zhang Shankun.

China's historical statecraft and the return of history | International Affairs | Oxford Academic

Xie Jin was an excellent director duction before and after the CCP victory in Films than revolutionaries. Red Detachment and its depiction of the were welcomed to the screens. When Japan occupied Hong were prevalent as early as After the Cultural Revo- Kong from to , no films were produced in Hong lution began, many directors and film personalities were Kong.

After came an and then returned to make films under the CCP in Her strategy turned to the mainland. Xie Jin also made melodramatic films alongside this Cantonese opera movies were big screen draws, to be fol- generation.

In Picture Company in , which eventually merged with only one film was made in Cantonese, but Cantonese other companies to create Lianhua film studio in Shang- films came back into popularity by the end of the decade. The film was popular overseas, winning a Golden Berlin Bear Award.

Kong Cinema. The Japanese film centers in Taipei and stalled initially, but after a decade of trial and error around the island, including production and distribu- government film got off the ground. Meanwhile, popular overseas, winning a Golden Berlin Bear Award. New strategies and styles by such directors as trayed the Cultural Revolution.

But this feature is worn by the directors as a badge Yimou. In this way tor, Lu Xuechang, In the Heat of the Sun director, the films indirectly challenge the stereotypes of social- Jiang Wen, , an adaptation of a satiric Wang Shuo ist realism and the ideology of the Communist revolu- novel, questions the validity of accepted versions of his- tion.

Red Sor- film from China depicting homosexuality, the power of ghum director, Zhang Yimou, , starring Gong Li the government authority is challenged. Zhongguo docudrama style. Depictions of the underprivileged in Dianying Chubanshe. Sentimental fabulations, contemporary rector, Wang Xiaoshuai, , and a documentary style Chinese films: Attachment in the age of global visibility.

New York: Columbia University Press. Direc- Davis, D. Politics, popularity and state of arts. Funeral take into account the commodification of Oxford, U.

The cinema of Hong Kong: Cambridge Univer- in difficult, beautiful films such as The World and sity Press. Still Life These films enter a market in China that Lu Feiyi. Taiwan Dianying: Politics, econom- state funding system that tends to serve only a handful ics, and aesthetics].

Taipei, Taiwan: Yuan liu chuban of directors, including Zhang Yimou. Lu, Sheldon. Transnational Chinese cinemas: Identity, nationhood, gender. University of Cinema Inside and Hawaii Press. Pickowicz, P. From un- Outside China derground to independent: Alternative film culture in contemporary China. Lanham, MD: The search for modern China. New years, and the films that China has imported have been York: From current mainland Xu, Gary G.

WYNONA from New Mexico
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