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Flashcards in Shang Dynasty Deck (97)
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Sunzi 孫子 (Sūnzǐ)

trad. 6th c. BCE, a legendary military strategist and the text attributed to him, _The Art of War_ (孫子兵法Sūn Zǐ Bīng Fǎ) has become a global best-seller in the 20th century.


Yang Zhu 楊朱 (Yáng Zhū)

5th c. BCE A thinker famously known for being unwilling to "pluck a hair from his body to benefit the world.”


Zou Yan 鄒衍 (Zōu Yǎn)

fl. ca. 250 BCE A thinker who is thought to have created the theory of the Five Phases and Yin-Yang



A Greek Hero who was part of the Trojan War. He was a central figure in Homer's Illiad.


Beijing 北京 (Běijīng)

lit. "Northern Capital"; known by many names throughout history, including Fanyang (範陽, Fanyang) during the Han Dynasty (漢朝, 206 BCE-220 CE), Tang Dynasty (唐朝, Tang chao, 618-907 CE); Yan (燕, Yan) or Yanjing (燕京, Yanjing) during the Warring States Period (戰國時代, Zhanguo shidai, 475-221 BCE), mid Tang Dynasty (唐朝, Tang chao, 618-907 CE), and Liao Dynasty (遼潮, 907-1125 CE); Zhongdu (中都, Zhongdu) during the Jin Dynasty (金潮, Jin chao, 1115-1234 CE); Dadu (大都, Dadu) during the Yuan Dynasty (元朝, Yuan chao, 1271-1368 CE); and Beiping (北平, Beiping) in the early Ming Dynasty (明朝, Ming chao, 1368-1644 CE) and Republican Period (民國, Minguo, 1912-1949). Located at the northern tip of the North China Plain (華北平原, Huabei pingyuan) and to the northwest of the Bohai Sea (渤海, Bohai)


Bendi ren 本地人 (Běndì rén)

The local people in the south of China. Tensions rose between them and the Hakka.


Bronze Age

Bronze Age in China dates to ca. 2000 - 1400 BCE. It was marked by the advent of writing, metal-working, urbanization, class stratification, as well as a stable hierarchy administering a large area.


Chang'an 長安 (Cháng'ān)

capital city of Tang, located in North-Central China and known today as Xian (西安, Xian)


Confucian Classics 五經 (Wǔjīng)

Also known as the Five Classics. Consisting of: (1) The Classic of Poetry also known as the Book of Songs or the Book of Odes 詩經 (Shijing), (2) Book of Documents 尚書 (Shangshu), (3) Book of Rites 禮記 (Liji), (4) I Ching also known as the Book of Change 易經 (Yijing), and (5) Spring and Autumn Annals 春秋 (Chunqiu). Please see the Short on the Five Classics.


Confucianism 儒學 (Rúxué)

The way of learning that was first discussed by Confucius in the Analects 論語 (Lunyu) and promoted in one form or another by his many admirers through history. Generally speaking, Confucianism was concerned with making government serve moral purposes, the role of the individual and the family in society, and justice.


Confucius 孔子 (Kǒngzǐ)

circa 551-479 BCE, China's first moral philosopher.


Cultural Revolution 文化大革命 (Wénhuà dàgémìng)

(1966-1976) A massive movement, institigated by Mao Zedong, that attacked much of the leadership of the Communist Party and called for the destruction of traditional modes of behavior and thought. After Mao's death, his wife Jiang Qing and her associates known as the Gang of Four were held responsible for the worse excesses of the Cultural Revolution.


Dao 道 (Dào)

The Way, The Path


Daoism 道家 (Dàojiā)

The term "Daoism" (Dàojiā) emerged around Western Han dynasty (206 - 9 BCE); it groups together figures like Zhuangzi and Laozi and the texts attributed to them.


Di 帝 (Dì) / Shangdi 上帝 (Shàngdì)

High god. The highest deity in the Shang religious system.


Ding 鼎 (dǐng)

A circular or rectangular tripod vessel (eg: Ding vessels were originally used to cook meat in sacrificial rituals, and were important symbols of power.


Duke of Zhou 周公 (Zhōugōng)

He was the regent for King Cheng (King Wu's young and orphaned son [second king]). He is said to have tirelessly served the child king without any ambition to usurp the throne. He was later idealized as the model minister.


Dynasty 朝代 (Cháodài)

A temporal period during which one family controls the throne, the name of the country, the territorial extent of that country, and the administrative apparatus that governed it.


Emperor 皇帝 (Huángdì)

Title referring to the sovereign of Imperial China.


Empress Dowager Cixi 慈禧太后 (Cíxǐ tàihòu)

1835 – 1908. A Manchu concubine of the Xianfeng Emperor; when her son became emperor she gained power and unofficially controlled China from 1861 to her death.


Empress Dowager 皇太后 (Huáng tàihòu) also known as 太后 (Tàihòu)

Title given to the mother of an emperor.


Examination System 科舉制度 (Kējǔ zhìdù)

A civil service recruitment system based on written examinations. (imperial examinations: a civil service examination system that started in earnest during the mid-Tang dynasty. The system reached its apogee during the Song dynasty and lasted until the final years of the Qing dynasty in 1905.


Five Phases 五行 (wŭxíng)

Natural philosophy that emerged during the Warring States period envisioning nature as moving through five predictable phases.


Gobi Desert 戈壁 (Gēbì)

The large Asian desert bounded in the north by the Mongolian steppe and the Altai Mountains (阿爾泰山脈, A'ertai shanmai), to the southwest by the Hexi Corridor (河西走廊, Hexi zoulang; also known as the Gansu Corridor) and the Tibetan Plateau (青藏高原, Qingzang gaoyuan), and to the southeast by the North China Plain (華北平原, Huabei pingyuan)


Gongsun Long 公孫龍 (Gōngsūn Lóng)

fl. ca. 300 BCE A member of the School of Names (名家 Míngjiā). He is known for his paradox "A white horse is not a horse." (白馬非馬 bái mǎ fēi mǎ)


Great Wall of China 長城 (Chángchéng)

The Great Wall is a series of walls and fortifications built on the northern frontier with the intention of dividing the pastoral and sedentary economies.The earliest portions date back to as early as the 7th century BCE.


Hakka 客家 (Kèjiā)

Known as "Guest People" later migrants to the south of China who maintained distinct customs and dialect. They were sometimes in conflict with the native local population (bendi ren 本地人).


Han Feizi 韓非子 (Hán Fēizǐ)

d. 233 BCE Also known as Han Fei (韓非子 Hán Fēi) The text attributed to him, _Hanfeizi_ (韓非子 Hán Fēizǐ ), is thought to be the consummate work of the Legalist tradition.


Han People 漢族 (Hànzú)

The term that eventually came to be used for the native population in the area under Chinese administration.


Heaven's Mandate 天命 (tiānmìng)

The source of legitimacy according to Zhou ideology. Heaven 天 (Tian), the highest deity in the Zhou pantheon, can bestow this mandate to rule on a dynasty, but can also take it away. Zhou's conquest of Shang was thus justified as a transferring of Heaven's Mandate.