Oldest continuous culture in world. India, Mesopotamia and Egypt earlier, but did not survive.

Hsia dynasty    2205 - 1766 b.c.e
Shang “           1766 - 1122 b.c.e
Chou “            1122 - 249 b.c.e

Lao Tzu & Confucius lived during the second half of this dynasty - 841 - 249 b.c.e
Confucianism & Taoism (Daoism)

Large land mass and immense river systems

Yellow River

1921 ... Neolithic settlement

Mixture of nature worship & reverence for ancestors.

Mythological traditions

P’an Ku
formed earth and sky out of primal chaos, that resembled an egg.

He transformed himself nine times a day. Sky became ten feet higher and the earth ten feet thicker.

Lived for 18,000 years.

breath = wind
voice = thunder

When he died

body = five sacred mountains of China

eyes = sun and moon

fat = streams

hair = plants

Yu Ch’ao taught men to build houses

Sui Jen taught how to make fire

Fu Hsi taught how to fish with nets, domesticate animals

Shen Nung taught agriculture

Huang Ti (yellow emperor) invented war, and building with bricks, built temple, invented calendar.


animism - ancestor worship

souls of departed enter into natural objects, rivers, mountains, hover above land

Great ones have souls who entered sky.

Yin - Yang

People were sacrificing to ancestor, spirits of fields, mountains, rivers, winds, earth and heaven

Processions of drums, flutes, bells

oracle bones 2nd millennium b.c.e.

Shells that cracked.

Ancestor worship

Most important nature spirits

Earth = SHE

Heaven = TI

TI becomes SHANG TI, Missionaries made = GOD

Chou = T’IEN = Council of Gods    Sky God

LI = Cosmic order

TAO - DAO & yin - yang.

Emperor = son of heaven


Human sacrifice -> 201 b.c.e Ch’in emperor buried, killed his harem

Development - Stone models -> paper models...

Rise of origami.