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Chinese Periods and Introduction


     

Dream of Two Hares

 
     

By Michael Johnathan McDonald

Chinese Periods

Major themes of China are new dynasties beginning right wing: low taxes; ethics and honesty promoted in government, and ending with  dynasties turning extreme left wing:  progressive high taxes, greed, political corruption to the point that peasants mount overwhelming revolts with aid of religious groups  - back to the right wing. Other cycles contribute to same progression of circumstances , but foreigners of the north descend and take over the government. The corrupted officials appeal to northern people to militarily squelch the peasant revolts, which has forced Chinese scholars to report these major themes in their history of repeatable cycles, bringing to mind the ancient theme recorded by them of the phrase  from Heaven (north of China) comes a great king of terror and their own counterbalance to their legendary Mandate. These repeatable cycles help us understand the religious persecution today of groups like the Falun Gong and other religious agitators groups. This is the reason that over many dynasties and centuries the famed Great Wall, seen in outer space by our space technology, reminds us how important these cyclic repercussions were for the Chinese and mankind in general. The Great wall was built over nine dynasties, piece by piece, to keep out these great kings of terror. The wall is symbolically not only a defense from outside forces of evil, in as much as their own protective safeguards put in place against their own leadership. It is a fact that they cannot trust themselves in their own leadership. This is evident by erecting the Great Wall to keep out the world because their own governments history of appeasing to northern barbarians in times of social instability and crisis. China’s own cyclic periods of political corruption cannot be stopped, according to their best thinkers, so they erected a wall to keep in their limitations as well as try keep out their fears. This has been the Chinese major themes.

5,000 BC Neolithic, Archeology, Migration upward to the Central west/north valleys.

(~ 2852 – 2205 BCE)  Three sovereigns period, mythical demi-gods (a.k.a. The August Ones), added to Suu Ma Ch’ien’s “Records of the Grand Historian,” by Sima Zhen, states that the three were: ‘The Heavenly Sovereign,’ ‘The Earthly Sovereign,’ and ‘The Human Sovereign.’ More likely these are astrological/ similar Judaic Biblical in reference as I discuss later in Chinese histories. However, these gods are identified as: Fuxi, Nüwa and Shennong. Fuxi and Nüwa are similar in respect to Adem and Eve, but are accredited to creation of humankind after some devastating flood ( so as similar to Noah and his wife). The invention of the directions ( Primal Arrangement of the Eight Trigrams, ascribed to the invention by Fuxi) is solely astronomical/astrological in full recognition of adapting observations of Heaven above, so as Earth below. The offspring, of course, Shennong goes on to invent farming (as like the Biblical Narrative of Adam and his surviving son Seth go out and learn to till the soil). Thus humans begin. It is worth noting that many Chinese believe they have been left out of the Bible, a particular social bias. However, the origin of the Chinese pictographs illustrate of the story of the Garden of Eden – laying hints that well before the codification of the Hebrew Old Testament, the story of the Garden of Eden was well established in diverse localities. It is more likely the story of our collective past and seen by the reckoning of star passages throughout observable and now recordable time.

The I Ching begins: “In the old times of King Fuxi’s regime, he observed sky and the stars when he looked upwards, and researched the earth when he looked downwards, and watched the birds and beasts to see how they lived in their environment. He took examples from nearby and far away, and then made 8 Yin Yang signs ( the four directions of astrology,  plus their four subsections; the 9 trigrams that constitute the Ba gua) to simulate the rules of the universe....Note do not get confused with the complex system as it changed and morphed over a long period. However, the main five elements, say in contrast to the Aristotelian four elements, consist of the legend of the first five mythic emperors of the mythic dynasty of Xia.

 

Neolithic cultures of China

7,5000 BCE, perhaps Archeological evidences of some domesticaton ( pigs, Zhenpiyan Culture) – central Yangtze River region in Northwest Hunan.

7,000 – 5, 000 Migration to Yiluo River valley in Henan, Peiligang culture

6,500 – 5,500 Houli culture, modern day Shandong

6,200 – 5,400 Xinglongwa culture, modern day Inner Mongolia-Liaoning boarder.

6,000 – 5,500 BCE, Cishan Culture, southern Hebei

5,800 – 5,400 BCE Dadiwan culture, Gansu and western Shaanxi

5,500 – 4,800 BCE Xinle culture, lower Liao River on the Liodong Pininsula.

5,400- 4,500 BCE Zhaobaogou culture, Luan River valley in Inner Mongolia and northern Hebei.

5,300 – 4,10o BCE Beixin culture, Shandong

5,000 – 4,500 BCE Hemuda culture, Yuyao and Zhoushan, Zhejiang

5,000 -3,000 BCE Daxi culture, Three Gorges region

5,000 – 3,000 BCE Majiabang culture, Taihu Lake area and north of Hangzhou Bay

4,700- 2,900 Hongshan culture, Inner Mongolia, Liaoning, and Hebei.

Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (Mythology)/Biblical Comparisons

2852 BCE Fuxi (Invents astrology/astronomy observations!)

Adam like Figure; Nüwa and Fuxi have offspring: Shennong.

Shennong invents agricultural farming, and community.
2737 BCE Yan Emperor
2698 BCE Yellow Emperor
The Battle of Banquan, the first battle in Chinese history and the Battle of Zhuolu, the second battle in Chinese history, fought by the Yellow Emperor. ( Yellow is the Chinese astrological color for Earth (Earth is associated to Saturn)).
2650 BCE Legend of Cangjie, inventor of the Chinese Character
2597 BCE Shaohao
2514 BCE Zhuanxu
2436 BCE Emperor Ku
2366 BCE Emperor Zhi
2358 BCE Yao
Yao ordered Gun, father of Xia Yu, to tame the flooding of the rivers.

Possible Flood?
2255 BCE Shun
Gun failed in taming the flooding of the river, therefore Shun executed him and let his son Xia Yu continue his father's work.

 

Main Dynasties

1.      Xia: ( 2200-1750 BC) Legendary dynasty of idealized emperors who were paragons of virtue and wisdom, venerated as the inventors of many aspects of Chinese culture (Not substantiated in Archeology).

a.      2194 BCE        Yu/ Bronze Age in China

b.      2146 BCE        Qi

c.       2117 BCE       Tai Kang

d.      2100 BCE        Erlitou Culture

e.     

 

2.      Shang: ( 1766  - 1027 BC) First historical dynasty; foreign invaders from the north (Mongols) who established themselves in the Yellow River plain, expanded throughout northern China, maintains power through shamanism. In the 12th Century their power eclipsed by a nearby tribe.

a.      Beginnings of writing ( Dragon Bones)

b.      Beginnings of religious practices

c.       Beginnings of local governments

d.      Beginnings of art

e.      Beginnings of Great Wall of China  (c. 600 BCE)

f.       1600 BCE        Jie of Xia/Tang of Shang/ Battle of Mingtiao

3.      Zhou: (1122 -256 BC) Long reign, nearly a thousand years. Chinese culture spreads from north southwest to the Yangtze Valley. Feudal decentralization of power, started under Shang, continues, bringing on a period of chaos, violence. The great Chinese philosophies emerge during the last three to four hundred years of Zhou rule. Troubles are resolved when a new dynasty emerges.

a.      Iron Casting (c. 600 BCE)

b.      Lao Tze( Daoism/Taoism c. 600 BCE)

c.      Confucius ( c. 551 BCE)

d.      Longest Ruling Chinese Family

e.      Elementary Silk Road Established (c. 400 BCE)

f.       Western Zhou ( 1027 - 771 BCE); Eastern Zhou (1027 - 221 BCE)

4.      Qin (156-210 BC) Very short lived but enormously important because it is the first to conquer all other states, achieving full supremacy by 221 BC. It imposes on all China a non-feudal, bureaucratic centralized form of government (which lasted until 1912).

a.      Shri Huand hui: First Emperor of land

b.      Descended from North

c.       Great king of  Terror is theme

d.      Unifies China

e.      Distains Confucianism

f.        Promotes the darker side of Taoism

g.      Work on the Great wall

h.      Tax slavery to majority of populas

i.        End: progressive high taxes and hatred from majority of peasants.

j.        Peasants revolt

5.      Han (206 BC-Ad 220) A military state, successor to Qin; established Chinese influence in most of Asia. Powerful and glorious, very important. Almost all Chinese still refer to themselves as “people of Han.” Collapsed under multitude of pressure.

a.      Beginning of Mandate from Heaven (From the sky will come the great King)

b.      Begins with low taxes results in peace.

c.       Chang’an first capital of China

d.      Beginnings of looking toward moral leaders

e.      Beginnings of Confucianism worship (to religion)

f.        Beginnings of Huns ( Future Mongols mixing) separation from the Han (100 BCE) Attacks over control of now prosperous Silk Road.

g.      Empire expands into Afghanistan and regions around Caspian Sea.

h.      Daoism grows into a life extension business.

i.        Beginnings of Lao Tze worship.

j.        Work on the Great wall

k.      Late Han: Beginnings of Confucius exams.

l.        End progressive high taxes, government official corruption increases political hatred from majority of peasants

“Dark ages” (220-589) Continues wars, values upturned, cultural eclipse. Buddhism introduced. North China overrun by barbarians, caused cultural mixing.

m.    Siddhartha Quatama (c. 517 BCE India) Buddhism comes from India via India – Tibet- Afghanistan to the Silk Road

n.      North Western tribes descend (c. 589 -618); Cultural mixing of Turks/Hun/Mongols;

o.      Beginnings of the new dynasty

 

6.      Sui (589 - 618) Created new single state by military force; very short period of domination, but did not lead to disintegration.

a.      General (Wei) unites China and is from the North.

b.      Work on the Great wall

7.      Tang (618- 907) Long and prosperous dynasty under which Chinese culture reached its peak of perfection not experienced before or since. Dominated east Asia; constant threats on northwest boarders by Turks and other barbarians. Collapse lead to chaos and delusion.

a.      Turks and Mongols descend and begin dynasty

b.      Begins with low taxes results in peace.

c.       Peak of perfection and called the Golden Age of China

d.      Domination of all east Asia.

e.      Confucius exams installed

f.        Expand Empire to Soviet Asia.

g.      Gathering of Blood Sweating Horses

h.      Beginnings of cavalier forces.

i.        Rebuilt Changon

j.        Gun Powder invented

k.      First Women Empress

l.        End: progressive high taxes, government official corruption increases political hatred from majority of peasants

8.      Song (960 – 1279) “twilight dynasty,” perpetuated the cultural achievements of the Han and Tang dynasties in the south, while barbarians ravaged the north.

a.      Paper Money widely used

b.      Begins with low taxes results in peace.

c.       Women’s feet binding

d.      Work on the Great wall

e.      Mining coal

f.        Mining natural gas

g.      Salt tax ( French will take this idea westward)

h.      Harbor cities constructed

i.        Grand Canal Period

j.        Close to End: political calls for help against restless peasants to the (Northern peoples) Mongols by government (Plan Backfires).

k.      End: progressive high taxes government official corruption increases political hatred from majority of peasants

l.         Kublai Khan takes advantage marches into China and takes over from the north.

9.      Yuan (1279-1368) a Mongol dynasty, founded by Genghis Khan. For the first time in China is directly attacked to Europe by virtue of being part of a greater Mongols Empire. In 1368 nationalist rebels drive Mongols out.

a.      Incredible Rein of Terror at conquest

b.      Introduction of Christian and Muslim into society and ruler ship positions.

c.       Beginnings of Beijing ( Peking) new Chinese capital

d.      No work on the Great wall

e.      End: Southern Religious Revolt

 

10.  Ming (1368-1644) Last real Chinese dynasty perpetuated the patterns of civilization established by the Han and Tang. By 1644 the Ming collapsed in the face of barbarian pressure from the north.

a.      Beginnings of most superior Navy in history concluding to scraping it all together.

b.      Begins with low taxes results in peace.

c.       Major work on Great Wall

d.      Beginnings of major European trading opens and Christianity make a major assault to convert all the Chinese people (C. 15th Century) Ran by the Pope.

e.      Jesuits and Dominicans war over conversion policies; Chinese people take sides, and Emperor finally kicks out both in 1724 (similar happenstance in Japan c. 1700s) Keeps one Jesuit for scientific purposes.

f.        Closing China to the world (except for coastal trade and propagandist accounting cover up by emperor) Japan closes to world (1625).

g.      China has first gun ships and large navy, which could have colonized most of the world in domination, but Confucianism expounded to extreme passivism proclivities, the navy was disbanded.

h.      Close to End: political calls for help against restless peasants to the (Northern peoples) Manchurians by government (Plan Backfires).

i.                                End: progressive high taxes government official corruption increases political hatred from majority of peasants

 

11.   Qing (1644-1912) A Manchu dynasty, but more synthesized than all previous conquerors, they actually became more Chinese than the Chinese. This dynasty was terminated as a result of the Republican Revolution of 1911.

12.  Republic of China (1912 – 1949) Fragmented and weak from the beginning, it experienced strong leadership under Jiang Jieshi, who fought an exhaustive was with the Japanese and then succumbed to the Communist forces of Mao Zedong.

13.  Peoples Republic of China (1949 – present) A one part Communist dictatorship under Mao Zedong, it suffered a series of disasters as a result on his policies , but has fared better under his successors since the 1980s

Many stories have been about the reason of construction of the Great Wall of China for over 24 Centuries. This tale is one of the more popular.

“The Emperor Ch’in had a dream of two hares, one which caught the sun in its arms. The other, jealous, struggled to get possession of the orb of the day. A Black hare arrived on the scene, separated the combatants, and took the sun away himself.

Greatly troubled, Ch’in summoned the wise men of his court in the morning, and demanded from them, on pain of death, the proper reading if the dream. They conferred at length, and then told the Emperor, “The first two hares are the two warring kingdoms of China. The Black hare represents the Black Tartars of the north. The meaning of the dream is, if China remains weak and divided, the Tartars will triumph over us.”

“What steps do you suggest to prevent this?” asked the Emperor Ch’in.

The Wise men recommended building a great wall along the northern boundary of Ch’in domain, to keep out the barbarians out. Ch’in at once commanded that such a wall be built, and issued a decree that should have perpetual force, that in the present and all future time, any man found taking a nap on the wall should be buried alive in the construction.”1.”

Building the wall was a though task and usually brought about dire results for both the peasant workers and the emperors and his administration.

Yang Ti ( T’ang Dyn.) put his northern subjects on the wall project while his southern slave ( Peasents) worked on the grand canal ( 5.5 million). During the summer of 607 A.D. near the upper loop of the Haung Ho a contemporary report stated that one million men were ordered to work on this particular section of the wall for ten days,  and that half of them did not survive the ten days. This may be a bit of an overstatement, but it was clear that many were sacrificed for the immediacies of finishing sections of the Great Wall. The job was dangerous and extremely hard labor. In fact, when the Chinese were working on the wall over ten percent of the entire countries budget was for this purpose only. Of coerce,  these deaths and pushy leaders did not fair well with the peasants and after too much abuse they will rise up to over through the emperor who will call upon the Tartars/Turks/And northern people he is trying to keep out to squelch their revolt, thus quickening his own end as the Northern People take advantage of the disunity.

Actually the Great Wall was begun c. 600 A.D., yet this story is fully relative to its perpetual significance. This is why this tale has stuck in the Chinese psyche.

  1. Geil, William Edgar. The Great Wall of China. John Murry London, 1909.
  2. tr.v. sinicized: To make Chinese in character or to change or modify by Chinese influence.
 
 

 




 
   
 

 
   

 

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>Copyright © 1999 – 2016 Michael Johnathan McDonald