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Literature & Language
World Civilization (Essay Sample)
World Civilizations Directions: Be sure to make an electronic copy of your answer before submitting it to Ashworth College for grading. Unless otherwise stated, answer in complete sentences, and be sure to use correct English spelling and grammar. Sources must be cited in APA format. Your response should be one (1) single-spaced page in length; refer to the "Assignment Format" page for specific format requirements. What major changes in political structures, social and economic life, occurred during each of the following? The Sui dynasty The Tang dynasty The Song dynasty (Refer to pages 277-280 of your textbook and additional references.) Your essay will be evaluated based on the following scale. Introduction 5 points Body paragraphs Content: Sui dynasty 20 points Tang dynasty 20 points Song dynasty 20 points Organization, Coherence, Good Language 25 points Conclusion 5 points References 5 points Reading Assignments Text Readings World History, Chapters 10 and 11 Lecture Notes The Flowering of Traditional China Centuries of division followed the collapse of the Han in 220 C.E. Han Confucianism was discredited, and Daoism and Mahayana Buddhism gained importance. China was again unified in 581 under the Sui dynasty, with its capital at Chang'an. The Grand Canal, linking the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers was completed during the Sui era. The Tang dynasty (618-907) built on the Sui accomplishments, expanding its influence west over Tibet and south of the Yangtze and establishing the province of Xinjiang in the northwest. Chang'an was the world's greatest city with its population of two million. However, government control of the landlords weakened, northern nomads invaded, and possibly drought brought the dynasty to an end. After a brief interregnum, the Song dynasty (960-1279) emerged. The capital was moved to Kaifeng, and then under nomadic pressure, south of the Yangtze to Hangzhou. After being forced to pay tribute to the Jurchen from Manchuria, the Song formed an alliance with the Mongols, but the Mongols turned against the Song, establishing the Mongol Yuan dynasty in 1279. The civil service examinations were reintroduced by the Tang and reached fruition under the Song, with examinations based upon the Confucian classics. The majority of the candidates (all male) came from the rural gentry class, with successful candidates referred to as the scholar-gentry. It was subject to abuse, but generally it was efficient and honest. Most Chinese had little involvement with the government other than at the village level. Most were peasants, feuding with the wealthy over who controlled the land. Although there was a prejudice against trade and manufacturing, the urban economy grew significantly, assisted by the development of steel, cotton, gunpowder, paper money and the abacus. Silk Road trade increased under the Tang, but maritime trade played a major role, assisted by the invention of the compass and other nautical advances. Many pleasures were available to the wealthy, including cards and chess, horseback riding and the paddle-wheel boat, drinking tea (introduced during the Han) and brandy. Most peasant farmers lived in one or two room houses, with packed dirt floors. The family was ruled by the eldest male, and filial piety was expected. Girl babies less valued than boys, and foot-binding in all classes symbolized women's inferior status. The Mongols rapidly rose to prominence under Genghis Kahn. After Genghis' death, the empire was divided into several states, or khanates. In China, Khubilai Khan defeated the Song, establishing the Yuan dynasty, moving the capital from Hangzhou to Khanbaliq, later known as Beijing. The Mongols ruled China through the traditional governmental institutions, including the civil service examinations, but the Mongols followed their own laws and customs, thus remaining a separate entity in China. Long distance trade was facilitated by the “Pax Mongolica” that followed the Mongol conquests, which allowed foreigners such as Marco Polo to journey to China. Never completely making the transition from nomad to permanent settlers, the Yuan fell to the Ming (1369 to 1644). The Ming strengthened the Great Wall to the north and brought Korea under control through the tribute system. Confucian institutions were strengthened, and under the Emperor Yongle, a series of seven sea voyages (1405), under the leadership of admiral Zhenghe and in ships much larger than any elsewhere, reached the coast of Africa. After Yongle's death, the seas were abandoned in fear of the nomads from beyond the Great Wall. Buddhism rose to influence before and during the Tang but then lost influence during the later Tang and the Song. In China, Buddhism had gone through Sinification. However, the Buddhist claim that the material world was mere illusion was in conflict with the Confucian ideas of filial piety, the family unit, and hard work. With the decline of Buddhism, and Daoism, Neo-Confucianism became the prevailing ideology: the world is real and one must participate in society. Two schools emerged, first the Investigation of Things, later the School of the Mind. Together, Neo-Confucianism remained China's anchor until the twentieth century. This era saw the apogee of Chinese culture. The invention of woodblock printing and paper encouraged literature. Poetry in particular was esteemed by the Chinese. The novel developed during the Yuan era. Painting, inspired by Buddhism and Daoism, is exemplified by the cave art at Dunhuang. Daoism inspired the Chinese love of landscape paintings, where human figures were dwarfed by mountains and rivers. Porcelain ceramics was also a field of artistic accomplishment. Between the Han and the Ming, China changed, but changed only within its traditional culture. The East Asian Rimlands: Early Japan, Korea, and Vietnam Japan consists of four main islands. Its climate is temperate. Mountains of volcanic origin made for fertile soil, but only twenty percent of the total land area is suitable for agriculture. The island character has reinforced the Japanese belief that ethnically and culturally they are unique. The creation myth of Japan posits that the nation was descended from the sun god Amaterasu, thus the emperor has a divine status. New arrivals, probably by way of Korea, brought rice cultivation to the islands c.400 B.C.E. It was not until the Tang era that there were significant contacts between Japan and China. Fearful of Tang interference, Japan adopted China's centralized government model through the Seventeen-Article Constitution (604). The emperor from the Yamato dynasty was considered to be divine, but real power was held by the Fujiwara clan. A capital was built on the Chang'an model at Nara in 710,and was relocated from Nara to Heian (modern Kyoto) in 794. Although the Yamato emperors were considered to be divine, real power was held by the Fujiwara clan. Centralized government failed, and tax exempt rural lands came under control of powerful aristocrats, protected by a class of warriors, the samurai, who were guided by Bushido, “the way of the warrior.” The feudal order of Japan was similar to the feudalism of Europe where only nominal loyalty was owed to the ruler. Noble rivalry led to civil war, but in the 1100s, Minamoto Yoritomo, setting up his base of power at Kamakura, south of modern Tokyo, reestablished centralized government. This “tent government”, or bakufu, was headed by a general, the shogun. In the following centuries, the emperor reigned at Kyoto but the shogun ruled. In the 1200s, two invasions by the Mongols were repulsed, in part because of a typhoon, or “divine wind” (kamikaze), leading to the fall of the Kamakura shogunate in the 1330s. A new but weaker shogun, the Ashikaga, arose in Kyoto, and the great noble families, the daimyo, gained even more power, free from both the emperor and the shogun. Anarchy reigned, and in the Onin War (1467-1477) Kyoto was destroyed and the Ashikaga shogunate powerless. Japan was largely agricultural, with wet rice the central crop. Commerce was slow to develop, and barter rather than coinage was customary until the 1100s. There was trade with China and Korea, with Japan exporting swords, raw materials, and paintings for silk, porcelain, books, and copper cash. Most Japanese were peasants, but wealthy peasants dominated the landless laborers, the genin, and the eta, a class of hereditary slaves. Women were generally inferior, but aristocratic women could play a significant role at court. Lady Murasaki achieved artistic acclaim in her The Tale of Genji. Japanese worshiped nature spirits, kami. Eventually early religious beliefs evolved into Shinto, or the Way of the Gods, a religion mainly of ritual, particularly physical purity. Buddhism was introduced from China in the sixth century. Having no written system of its own, Japan borrowed Chinese written characters. Initially, educated Japanese preferred to write in classical Chinese, but after reduced contacts with China, a Japanese literature emerged, particularly poetry. Classical Japanese drama, the stylized No, emerged during the Kamakura era. Japanese art and architecture were influenced by the love of nature, and by Chinese and Buddhist elements. The Chinese model was significant for Japan, but not in establishing centralized government. Korea was also influenced by the Chinese model. Mountainous like Japan, agricultural land was limited. In 109 B.C.E., the northern part of the Korean peninsula came under Han influence, which introduced Chinese governmental institutions. After the fall of the Han in the 200s, Chinese administrators were driven out but Chinese culture remained influential. The Koryo dynasty came to power in the 900s, with the bureaucracy dominated by aristocratic families. In the thirteenth century the Mongols seized the north and weakened the Koryo. The Yi dynasty assumed power in 1392. State formation in Vietnam began at the time of Qin, and it was absorbed into the Han Empire. In 39 C.E. the Truong Sisters launched a rebellion which ultimately failed. For the next thousand years Chinese culture pervaded Vietnam, but after the demise of the Tang, Vietnam again achieved independence, in the Dai Viet (Great Viet) state. By the 1400s the Mongols and the Ming had failed to integrate Vietnam into China, but Chinese attempts to absorb Vietnam had the effect of reinforcing a separate Vietnamese identity, although the Confucian model remained central in Vietnam, as did the influence of Buddhism. SOURCE: Instructor's Manual for World History by William J. Duiker and Jackson J. Spielvogel. THIS IS THE END OF ASSIGNMENT source..
WORLD CIVILIZATION (Insert Name) (Institutional Affiliation) The Tang dynasty The Tang dynasty was centered in Chang’an, China and is considered by many as the golden age of Chinese revolution. The Emperors at the time presided over some great periods of art, culture and diplomacy in China (Hays, 2010). Changes in Political Structures: The leadership of Tang was military and most powerful, and they ruled with a pyramidal system with the Emperor and three main ministers at the top and below them were nine courts and six advisory boards. Social life: The emperors provided room for new ideas in art, religion, music and philosophy as well music. Buddhism flourished during this time, and many schools expanded. The Chinese arts were also cultivated which included painting, poetry and incorporation of dances and music from outside China. Gambling, which was popular, was abolished through the imposition of penalties. Economic Life: The economy was dominated by peasantry with both local and long distance trade being practiced. Non food crops such as silk were being produced on a very large scale (Hays, 2010). In addition, works of art and porcelain were also traded for ivory and other types of goods. The song dynasty This was a time of great social, economic and political change. Political changes: This ...
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