The Zhou Period: 1045 - 221 B.C.E.

Zhou overthrown Shang and became the dominant power in East Asia

external image eastern-zhou-dynasty-map1.gif
Social
  • Took over many elements of Shang culture.
  • Survival of written text: Book of Songs, Book of Documents, Book of Changes.
  • "Feudal"
  • Capital city in their homeland Xi'an.
  • Due to the feudal division, the dynasty withdrew to Luoyang.
  • Kinship, clan
  • Fathers had absolute authority over women and children, arranged marriages, and sell the labor of family members.
  • Men were limited to one wife but was permitted additional sexual partners
  • Men should remarry, women should not
Political
Early Zhou:
  • Wen and his son Wu attacked on the Shang capital, and were the founders of Zhou.
  • Wu is the first ruler of the new dynasty.
  • The monarch was called the "Son of Heaven."
  • King Wu distributed territories to his relatives and allies, so they would remained loyal to him.
  • Wu died and his son Cheng became the successor, but his uncles Duke of Zhou helped him to rule the kingdom because Cheng was still too young to rule. The power was later returned to the lawful ruler.

Eastern Zhou Period aka Spring and Autumn Period (771-221 B.C.E.)
  • Later, the power of Zhou monarch eroded because of the feudal division of territory.
Religion
  • Tian, "heaven", was the highest Zhou deity.
  • Mandate of Heaven - the institution of monarchy by connecting the religious and political spheres.
  • Throw down stalks of milfoil or yarrow plant to interpret the patterns.
Intellectual
  • Sharing language and culture of the Shang.
  • bronze_inscription.jpgEastern Zhou dynast's bronze inscription.
  • Feng Shui - orient structures for harmonious relationship with the terrain.
  • Confucius - found by Kongzi, and his sayings were in written form as the Analects.
  • family was the fundamental component of society.
  • "humaneness"
  • Daoism - found by Laozi, urged withdrawal from the empty formalities, rigid hierarchy, and distractions of Chinese society.
  • Yin/Yang - complementary nature of male and female roles
Technology
  • For war, warfare largely were conducted by members of the elite, but later there was a shift to much larger armies made up of farmers.
  • Fights on the horseback.
  • Iron, metalworkers.
  • AMICO_CL_103803583.jpgWestern Zhou bronzes acquired growing importance in the world of the living
  • hb_1999_46a,b.jpgEastern Zhou dynasty. Bronze inlaid with copper.
Economy
  • Division of Labors: agriculture, public works projects, army, collect taxes, skilled officials.
  • Trades between some urban centers.