Ancient China:

 

Students analyze the geographic, political, economic, social, and religious structures of the civilizations of Ancient China.

 

 

Old Asia Map
Old Asia Map

An Old Map of Asia. It was created in 1680. Relief shown pictorially. Insets maps: Kamchadka to Korea to Indo-China; Beijing, China to Yellow Sea. Scale not given.

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Qing Ming Festival
Qing Ming Festival

The Qing Ming Festival (also known as Pure Brightness Festival or Tomb-sweeping Day), falls on either April 4th or 5th of the solar calendar. Joss sticks [incense] are placed by the grave and lit and an offering of food and paper money is placed at the tomb. Paper money is burned while family members show their respect by bowing to their ancestors.

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Qing Ming Festival
Qing Ming Festival

In addition to visiting cemeteries, people also go for walks in the countryside, plant willows, and fly kites on Tomb Sweeping Day. Those who cannot travel back to their ancestors’ gravesites may opt to pay their respects at martyrs parks to pay homage to revolutionary martyrs.

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Old Asia Map
Old Asia Map

An Old Map of Asia. It was created in 1680. Relief shown pictorially. Insets maps: Kamchadka to Korea to Indo-China; Beijing, China to Yellow Sea. Scale not given.

press to zoom
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ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS

REFLECTION

 

  • Describe the geography of China and tell how the geography influenced how people lived in ancient China.

  • What can the meanings of some characters in the Chinese language tell us about gender roles in ancient Chinese society?

  • Describe the characteristics of the art produced during the time of the Shang Dynasty.

  • Identify some important elements of the Shang religion and explain how religion in the time of the Shang dynasty was different from religions today like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

  • What is a dynasty and why is the idea of a “dynastic cycle” important to understand when you are studying ancient Chinese dynasties?

  • What sort of “message” was Confucius trying to send?

  • Would you want the United States to adopt Legalism? Why or why not?

  • Was the construction of the Great Wall of China a good or bad decision for China? Support your answer with details.

  • Compare and contrast Daoism with the ideas of Confucianism.

  • Describe travel conditions along the Silk Road.

  • How did the Silk Road impact China and what effect did it have on the rest of the world?

  • Which of the Chinese inventions from the Han Dynasty and from the time of other Chinese dynasties do you think were the most important?

  • What was the greatest accomplishment of the Sui Dynasty?

  • Describe the most important cultural contribution of the Tang Dynasty.

  • Describe the cultural practice that the Sung Dynasty is best known for.

  • Why were the Mongols so successful in establishing an empire?

  • What sort of pressures eventually led to the end of the last of the Chinese Dynasties?

QUOTATION

 

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."  

 

"I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand."

~Confucius

 

Confucius spent most of his life traveling throughout China, teaching about the importance of duty, ritual, and virtue. He taught that a ruler must set an example to inspire people to strive for a moral life. Years after he died, students assembled his teachings into a book, the Analects, and a new school of thought developed—Confucianism. This philosophy deeply influenced China throughout most of its history.

VOCABULARY

VOCABULARY:

 

  • Doaism: religion that teaches people to give up earthly desires in favor of nature.

  • Shi Huangdi: first emperor of China.

  • Silk Road: 4,000 mile trade route between China and Europe. Social Class: three levels of society-peasants, nobles, king

  • pictographs: characters that stand for objects in writing.

  • dynasty: line of rulers that belong to the same family.

  • Legalism: obeying rulers out of fear.

  • Oracle Bones: used to predict that future in the Shang dynasty.

  • Confucianism: philsophy that teaches responsibility and moral behavior.

  • Filial Piety: children must respect their parents

  • North China Plain: fertile land for farming. Where China started. accupuncture: method of relieving the pain by sticking tiny needles in the skin.

  • Great Wall of China: built for defensive purposes.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?

 

  • Ancient China is 20 percent larger than the United States.

  • It is one of the world's oldest continuous civilization.

  • It is also home to the largest population on Earth.

  • The first calendar, ice cream, kites, soccer, mechanical clock, paper, the compass, explosive powder, fireworks, silk, porcelain, printing, the wheel and toilet paper all had their start in China.

  • There are Twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac.

  • A full Zodiac is 12 years.

  • When you write your name in Chinese you always begin with your family's name then your first name.

  • The Chinese dragon is not evil, it is a symbol of prosperity, wisdom and power.

  • The color red symbolizes happiness in China.

 

TEACHER RESOURCES

 

ONLINE TEXTBOOK

 

ONLINE LESSONS

ENDURING UNDERSTANDINGS STUDENTS WILL UNDERSTAND:

 

  • The great minds of the past have developed ideas that can enrich our lives and our world.

  • Over the course of history, the same country can swing from tremendously powerful to dangerously weak and back again.

  • There is no such thing as a perfect government.

Geographic Features of China...

6.30 identify and locate on a map the geographical features of China, including the Huang He (Yellow) River, Plateau of Tibet, and Gobi Desert.

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

"Chinese civilization originated in various regional centers along both the Yellow River and the Yangtze River valleys in the Neolithic era, but the Yellow River is said to be the cradle of Chinese civilization. With thousands of years of continuous history, China is one of the worlds oldest civilizations. The written history of China can be found as early as the Shang Dynasty (c. 1700--1046 BC)"

 

 

2000 YEARS OF CHINESE HISTORY! 

 

Emergence of Taoism, Confucianism, and Legalism...

6.33 Analyze the structure of the Zhou Dynasty and the emergence of Taoism, Confucianism, and Legalism..

 

A brief description of chapter 2 vocabulary, including:  Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism

 

 

 

  

Order of Chinese Dynasties...

REMEMBERING THE ORDER OF THE CHINESE DYNASTIES...

What's the best way to memorize China's major dynasties? Singing. It's guaranteed!  Can you follow this rap song?

Time of Confucius...

Shang Dynasty...

6.31 Locate and describe the origins of Chinese civilization in the Huang-He Valley during the era of the Shang Dynasty.

 

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

China Dynasty Map: Follow the timeline showing all of the Chinese dynasties since 1000 BC.

 

 

INTERACTIVE SITES

Regions of China...

6.32 Explain how the regions of China are isolated by geographic features, making governance and the spread of ideas and goods difficult, and served to isolate the country from the rest of the world.

 

Stratfor examines China's geography as the historical driver of its expanding and contracting national boundaries emanating from the Han core.

 

 

Dynastic Cycle in China...

READINGS
6.34 Identify the political and cultural problems prevalent in the time of Confucius and how he sought to solve them.

 

Today, when speaking of traditional Chinese culture, Confucius can be seen as one of the most influential figures from ancient times till the present day. His teachings are at the very heart of China's traditional culture of self-cultivation and emphasis on virtue.

 

First Emperor of china 221 BCE...
6.35 List the policies and achievements of the emperor Shi Huang and explain how these contributed to the unification of northern China under the Qin Dynasty and the construction of the Great Wall of China.
 
 
The monarch known now as Qin Shi Huang (Chinese: 秦始皇; pinyin: Qín Shǐ Huáng; Wade-Giles: Ch'in Shih-huang) (259 BCE -- September 10, 210 BCE),[1] personal name Yíng Zhèng, was king of the Chinese State of Qin from 247 BCE to 221 BCE (officially still under the Zhou Dynasty), and then the first emperor of a unified China from 221 BCE to 210 BCE, ruling under the name the First Emperor (Chinese: 始皇帝; pinyin: Shǐ Huáng Dì; Wade-Giles: Shih Huang-Ti). As the ruler of the Great Qin, he was known for the introduction of Legalism and also for unifying China.
 
Qin Shi Huang remains a controversial figure in Chinese history. Having unified China, he and his chief adviser Li Si passed a series of major reforms aimed at cementing unification, and they undertook some gigantic projects, most notably the precursor version of the current Great Wall of China, a city-sized mausoleum guarded by a life-sized Terracotta Army, and a massive national road system, at the expense of numerous human lives. To ensure stability, he outlawed Confucianism and buried many of its scholars alive, banning and burning all books other than those officially decreed.For all the tyranny of his autocratic rule, Qin Shi Huang is still regarded by many today as a pivotal figure in Chinese history whose unification of China has endured for more than two millennia.
 
The Han Dynasty [206 B.C.-220 A.D.] ...
6.36 Detail the political contributions of the Han Dynasty and determine how they contributed to the development of the imperial bureaucratic state and the expansion of the empire.
 

BBC CHINA

 

 

BBC Newsround for kids interested in exploring China.

LOC COUNTRY STUDY - CHINA

 

Library of Congress online comprehensive text about aspects of China. 

PEOPLE DAILY - ONLINE CHINESE NEWSPAPER IN ENGLISH

 

Find out the latest news in China.

ACTIVITIES

CHINESE DRAGON:  A POWERFUL METAPHOR IN CHINESE CULTURAL HISTORY

 

Students will explore the history, culture and geography of China in a variety of periods using the folk motif of the dragon as a focal point.

 

ANCIENT CHINESE HISTORY SONG

 

CHINA MAP PROJECT

 

CHINESE PAPER LANTERN PROJECT

 

CHINESE IDIOMS CALLIGRAPHY PAGE

 

PLAYING WITH SHADOWS - PUPPETRY AT THE KENNEDY CENTER

VIRTUAL FIELDTRIPS

ANCIENT CHINA

 

Welcome to the British Museum's web site on ancient China. These 'Staff Room' pages have been developed to help teachers get the most out of the web site for themselves and for their class. It is predominantly aimed at schoolchildren aged 9 - 11 and their teachers but we hope that other groups may find it useful too.

PANDA CAM

 

Adult pandas Bai Yun and Gao Gao are in the two main viewing exhibits. Panda youngster Xiao Liwu is off exhibit as he adjusts to being on his own but may be seen on Panda Cam.

GEO-LOVER

 

Identify where you would like to travel to and investigate what you will see once you arrive!

The Silk Roads...

Han Dynasty and The Silk Road.

History of Buddhism...

The history of Buddhism is the story of one man's spiritual journey to Enlightenment, and of the teachings and ways of living that developed from it. Siddhartha Gautama - The Buddha. By finding the path to Enlightenment, Siddhartha was led from the pain of suffering and rebirth towards the path of Enlightenment and became known as the Buddha or 'awakened one'.

 

6.38 Describe the diffusion of Buddhism northward to China during the Han Dynasty.
6.37 Cite the significance of the trans-Eurasian “silk roads” in the period of the Han Dynasty and Roman Empire and their locations.
HumorousMoment

CHINESE DYNASTIES ["VOGUE" BY MADONNA]

We can't Vogue, but we can make a catchy song parody about early dynasties in China.

China: The Mandate of Heaven...

Many breakthroughs on which the modern world is based were discovered in China long ago...iron-casting, gunpowder, even printing. When introduced to Europe, these things changed Western civilization. This episode presents the synthesis of East and West.

 

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from The Mandate of Heaven: The Classic of History; excerpts from Confucius’ The Analects, excerpts from The Lament of the Nomad Flute by Lady Wenji