Early on we see the emergence of civilization in China, where relatively isolated within geographical barriers, China’s early civilization developed with little contact with other cultures. During the Neolithic period, peoples living in environmentally distinctive zones—the Yellow and Yangzi River Valleys—mastered agriculture, animals became domesticated, the production of ceramics became more elaborate, built fortified towns, and developed better practice relating to the treatment of the dead. Later on during the Shang Dynasty, (ca. 1500–ca. 1050 B.C.E.), China entered the Bronze Age. Shang civilization was urban, its cities encompassing an aristocratic and religious core around which grew industrial and residential districts. Beyond these were farming settlements. The Shang practiced human sacrifice, and human remains compose some of the contents of the rich underground tombs. The Shang period saw the emergence of writing, the distinct logographic system that enabled centuries of cultural continuity.
At the onset of the Early Zhou Dynasty (ca. 10520–500 B.C.E.), the frontier state called Zhou rose against the Shang in about 1050 B.C.E. Here we discover Zhou Politics, Book of Documents that describes Zhou conquest of the Shang as the victory of just and noble warriors. The Shang fell to the Zhou Dynasty, whose first rulers claimed that the Mandate of Heaven had passed to them from the decadent Shang. The Zhou ruled an increasin...
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...nese control, a southern Vietnamese state, called Funan, spread out over much of Indochina and the Malay Peninsula—providing a trading and cultural circle for Indian merchants, Brahman priests, and Buddhist monks. This Indian influence continued even after the decline of Funan, as did Indian influence in the independent state of Tai and the Khmer Empire of Cambodia. Also drawing on Indian tradition and Sanskrit writing was the maritime empire of Srivijaya based on the island of Sumatra, and dominating the waters in that area and extending up to the Malay Peninsula. After 800 it was the early Indian form of Buddhism (called Theravada Buddhism) that dominated in Southeast Asia. Finally, it was not direct Indian control that was the key to the expansion of Indian culture, but an extension of trade and religious networks.
History of World Societies
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