Fuchai, sometimes written Fucha, was the last king of the state of Wu during the Spring and Autumn Period of Chinese history. His armies constructed important canals linking the Yellow, Ji, Huai River systems of the North China Plain with central China's Yangtze River, but he is most remembered in Chinese culture for the role he played in the legends concerning Goujian, the revenge-seeking king of Yue. Fuchai was the son of King Helü, he became king in 495 BC, following the death of his father from injuries sustained during an invasion of Yue. In 494 BC, the king of Yue, heard rumours that Fuchai was planning to attack him in order to avenge the death of his father. Goujian's minister Fan Li advised caution. Fuchai in turn sent his army against Yue; the forces met at Fujiao. These men fell back to Mount Kuaiji, with the Wu army occupying Kuaiji and surrounding the mountain. At Fan Li's suggestion, Goujian sent Wen Zhong to bribe the Wu chancellor, Bo Pi, in order to obtain more favourable terms.
Bo promised to help Goujian's case. Because Fuchai had been more anxious to expand northward against Qi, he accepted Bo's advice to make a favourable peace with Yue rather than engage in the lengthy pacification campaign that would have been necessary to annex the state of Yue to Wu. After Fuchai withdrew his men from Yue, Goujian took his wife and Fan Li to the Wu court to serve his opponent, his hard work on Fuchai's behalf earned him the king's trust and favour, Goujian was permitted to return to his kingdom after three years. In 486 BC, Fuchai's men built the Hangou Canal to connect the Yangtze River with the Huai and, via the existing Honggou Canal, with the Yellow River beyond; this eased their supply lines during Fuchai's war with Qi, concluded at the Battle of Ailing. During 483 and 482 BC, Fuchai's men built the Heshui Canal connecting the Si River, a tributary of the Huai, with the Ji, which ran parallel to the Yellow River through densely populated districts in what is now western Shandong.
In 482 BC, Fuchai challenged the duke of Jin for the status of hegemon in the regional lords' conference in Huangchi. However, while Fuchai was away in the north with his army, Goujian advanced his army into what was now defenceless Wu, it was said that Goujian had been nursing his bitterness by sleeping on straw with a sword beside his head and by tasting gall each morning. For ten years, he improved his realm's governance under Wen Zhong and its army under Fan Li, while inspiring his people by working his own fields as his wife made thread and wove by hand, his men defeated the Wu killed Fuchai's heir Prince You. Fuchai hurried with his army to return south and sent an emissary ahead to come to terms with Goujian, which were accepted. Goujian had decided that he would be unable to defeat Wu in a single campaign and returned home to further strengthen his army, he took advantage of the further weakening of Wu, as Fuchai led an extravagant and dissipated life. Following Bo Pi's advice, Fuchai executed his faithful minister Wu Zixu.
King Fuchai became distracted from state affairs by the Yue beauty Xi Shi, who it was said had been sent to Wu for this purpose by Goujian or his ministers. In 473 BC, Goujian's forces dealt repeated defeats on the Wu forces. Fuchai again sought terms. In the end, Fuchai was forced to commit suicide and Wu was annexed by Yue. Fuchai had at least four sons, three of whom were named You and Hui. You was his heir but was killed in the battles leading to the defeat of Wu, Hong became the new heir. After the collapse of the state, the other three sons of Fuchai were exiled, they and their descendants took Wu as their clan name. Wu Rui, King of Changsha created by Emperor Gaozu of Han, was a descendant of the House of Wu, he was said to be descended from Fuchai. The story of Goujian's revenge became proverbial in China. Fuchai's wronged minister Wu Zixu has been credited as the inspiration for many of the festivities around the Dragon Boat Festival. Needham, Joseph. Science & Civilization in China, Vol. IV: Physics and Physical Technology, Pt. III: Civil Engineering and Nautics, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zhao Dingxin, The Confucian-Legalist State: A New Theory of Chinese History, Oxford: Oxford University Press
The Longshan culture sometimes referred to as the Black Pottery Culture, was a late Neolithic culture in the middle and lower Yellow River valley areas of northern China from about 3000 to 1900 BC. The first archaeological find of this culture took place at the Chengziya Archaeological Site in 1928, with the first excavations in 1930 and 1931; the culture is named after the nearby modern town of Longshan in Shandong. The culture was noted for its polished black pottery; the population expanded during the 3rd millennium BC, with many settlements having rammed earth walls. It decreased in most areas around 2000 BC until the central area evolved into the Bronze Age Erlitou culture. A distinctive feature of the Longshan culture was the high level of skill in pottery making, including the use of pottery wheels, producing thin-walled and polished black pottery; this pottery was widespread in North China, found in the Yangtze River valley and as far as the southeastern coast. Until the 1950s, such black pottery was considered the principal diagnostic, all of these sites were assigned to the Longshan culture.
In the first edition of his influential survey The Archaeology of Ancient China, published in 1963, Kwang-chih Chang described the whole area as a "Longshanoid horizon", suggesting a uniform culture attributed to expansion from a core area in the Central Plain. More recent discoveries have uncovered much more regional diversity than thought, so that many local cultures included within Chang's Longshanoid horizon are now viewed as distinct cultures, the term "Longshan culture" is restricted to the middle and lower Yellow River valley. For example, the contemporaneous culture of the lower Yangtze area is now described as the Liangzhu culture. At the same time, researchers recognized the diversity within the Yellow River valley by distinguishing regional variants in Henan and Shaanxi from the Shandong or "classic" Longshan. In the fourth edition of his book, Chang moved from a model centered on the Central Plain to a model of distinctive regional cultures whose development was stimulated by interaction between regions, a situation he called the "Chinese interaction sphere".
In the 1980s, Yan Wenming proposed the term "Longshan era" to encompass cultures of the late Neolithic across the area, though he assigned the Central Plain a leading role. The most important crop was foxtail millet, but traces of broomcorn millet and wheat have been found. Rice grains have been found in Shandong and southern Henan, a small rice field has been found on the Liaodong peninsula. Specialized tools for digging and grinding grain have been recovered; the most common source of meat was the pig. Sheep and goats were domesticated in the Loess Plateau area in the 4th millennium BC, found in western Henan by 2800 BC, spread across the middle and lower Yellow River area. Dogs were eaten in Shandong, though cattle were less important. Small-scale production of silk by raising and domesticating the silkworm in early sericulture was known. Remains have been found in Shaanxi and southern Henan of scapulae of cattle, pigs and deer that were heated as a form of divination. Evidence of human sacrifice becomes more common in Shaanxi and the Central Plain in the late Longshan period.
Excavations in the 1950s in Shanxian, western Henan, identified a Miaodigou II phase transitional between the preceding Yangshao culture and the Henan Longshan. A minority of archaeologists have suggested that this phase, contemporaneous with the late Dawenkou culture in Shandong, should instead be assigned to the Yangshao culture, but most describe it as the early phase of the Henan Longshan; some scholars argue that the late Dawenkou culture should be considered the early phase of the Shandong Longshan culture. Miaodigou II sites are found in central and western Henan, southern Shanxi and the Wei River valley in Shaanxi; the tools and pottery found at these sites were improved from those of the preceding Yangshao culture. Agriculture was intensified, the consumption of domesticated animals increased. Similarities in ceramic styles of central Henan Miaodigou II with the late Dawenkou culture to the east and the late Qujialing culture to the south suggest trade contacts between the regions. There were expansions from middle and late Dawenkou sites toward central Henan and northern Anhui which coincides the era of maximum marine transgression.
The late period of the Longshan culture in the middle Yellow River area is contemporaneous with the classic Shandong Longshan culture. Several regional variants of the late middle Yellow River Longshan have been identified, including Wangwan III in western Henan, Hougang II in northern Henan and southern Hebei, Taosi in the Fen River basin in southern Shanxi, several clusters on the middle reaches of the Jing River and Wei River collectively known as Kexingzhuang II or the Shaanxi Longshan; as the Neolithic population in China reached its peak, hierarchies of settlements developed. In physically circumscribed locations, such as the basin of the Fen River in southern Shanxi, the Yellow River in western Henan and the coastal Rizhao plain of southeast Shandong, a few large centers developed. In more open areas, such as the rest of Shandong, the Central Plain and the Wei River basin in Shaanxi, local centers were more numerous and evenly spaced. Walls of rammed earth have been found in 20 towns in Shandong, 9 i
The Qin dynasty was the first dynasty of Imperial China, lasting from 221 to 206 BC. Named for its heartland in Qin state, the dynasty was founded by Qin Shi Huang, the First Emperor of Qin; the strength of the Qin state was increased by the Legalist reforms of Shang Yang in the fourth century BC, during the Warring States period. In the mid and late third century BC, the Qin state carried out a series of swift conquests, first ending the powerless Zhou dynasty, conquering the other six of the Seven Warring States, its 15 years was the shortest major dynasty in Chinese history, consisting of only two emperors, but inaugurated an imperial system that lasted from 221 BC, with interruption and adaptation, until 1912 CE. The Qin sought to create a state unified by structured political power and a large military supported by a stable economy; the central government moved to undercut aristocrats and landowners to gain direct administrative control over the peasantry, who comprised the overwhelming majority of the population and labour force.
This allowed ambitious projects involving three hundred thousand peasants and convicts, such as connecting walls along the northern border developing into the Great Wall of China. The Qin introduced a range of reforms such as standardized currency, measures, a uniform system of writing, which aimed to unify the state and promote commerce. Additionally, its military used the most recent weaponry and tactics, though the government was heavy-handedly bureaucratic. Han dynasty Confucians portrayed the dynasty as a monolithic tyranny, notably citing a purge known as the burning of books and burying of scholars although some modern scholars dispute the veracity of these accounts; when the first emperor died in 210 BC, two of his advisers placed an heir on the throne in an attempt to influence and control the administration of the dynasty. These advisors squabbled among themselves, resulting in both of their deaths and that of the second Qin Emperor. Popular revolt broke out and the weakened empire soon fell to a Chu general, Xiang Yu, proclaimed Hegemon-King of Western Chu, Liu Bang, who founded the Han dynasty.
Despite its short reign, the dynasty influenced the future of China the Han, its name is thought to be the origin of the European name for China. In the 9th century BC, Feizi, a supposed descendant of the ancient political advisor Gao Yao, was granted rule over Qin City; the modern city of Tianshui stands. During the rule of King Xiao of Zhou, the eighth king of the Zhou dynasty, this area became known as the state of Qin. In 897 BC, under the Gonghe Regency, the area became a dependency allotted for the purpose of raising and breeding horses. One of Feizi's descendants, Duke Zhuang, became favoured by King Ping of Zhou, the thirteenth king in that line; as a reward, Zhuang's son, Duke Xiang, was sent eastward as the leader of a war expedition, during which he formally established the Qin. The state of Qin first began a military expedition into central China in 672 BC, though it did not engage in any serious incursions due to the threat from neighbouring tribesmen. By the dawn of the fourth century BC, the neighbouring tribes had all been either subdued or conquered, the stage was set for the rise of Qin expansionism.
Lord Shang Yang, a Qin statesman of the Warring States period, advocated a philosophy of Legalism, introducing a number of militarily advantageous reforms from 361 BC until his death in 338 BC. Yang helped construct the Qin capital, commencing in the mid-fourth century BC Xianyang; the resulting city resembled the capitals of other Warring States. Notably, Qin Legalism encouraged ruthless warfare. During the Spring and Autumn period, the prevalent philosophy had dictated war as a gentleman's activity. For example, when Duke Xiang of Song was at war with the state of Chu during the Warring States period, he declined an opportunity to attack the enemy force, commanded by Zhu, while they were crossing a river. After allowing them to cross and marshal their forces, he was decisively defeated in the ensuing battle; when his advisors admonished him for such excessive courtesy to the enemy, he retorted, "The sage does not crush the feeble, nor give the order for attack until the enemy have formed their ranks."The Qin disregarded this military tradition, taking advantage of their enemy's weaknesses.
A nobleman in the state of Wei accused the Qin state of being "avaricious, eager for profit, without sincerity. It knows nothing about etiquette, proper relationships, virtuous conduct, if there be an opportunity for material gain, it will disregard its relatives as if they were animals." It was this Legalist thought combined with strong leadership from long-lived rulers, openness to employ talented men from other states, little internal opposition that gave the Qin such a strong political base. Another advantage of the Qin was that they had a efficient army and capable generals, they utilised the newest developments in weaponry and transportation as well, which many of their enemies lacked. These latter developments allowed greater mobility over several different terrain types which were most common in many regions of China. Thus, in both ideology and practice, the Qin were militarily superior; the Qin Empire had a geographical advantage due to its fertility and strategic position, protected by mountains that made the state a natural stronghold.
Its expanded agricultural output helped sustain Qin's large army with food and natural resources.
Chinese mythology is mythology, passed down in oral form or recorded in literature in the geographic area now known as "China". Chinese mythology includes many varied myths from cultural traditions. Chinese mythology is far from monolithic, not being an integrated system among just Han people. Chinese mythology is encountered in the traditions of various classes of people, geographic regions, historical periods including the present, from various ethnic groups. China is the home of many mythological traditions, including that of Han Chinese and their Huaxia predecessors, as well as Tibetan mythology, Turkic mythology, Korean mythology, many others. However, the study of Chinese mythology tends to focus upon material in Chinese language. Much of the mythology involves exciting stories full of fantastic people and beings, the use of magical powers taking place in an exotic mythological place or time. Like many mythologies, Chinese mythology has in the past been believed to be, at least in part, a factual recording of history.
Along with Chinese folklore, Chinese mythology forms an important part of Chinese folk religion. Many stories regarding characters and events of the distant past have a double tradition: ones which present a more historicized or euhemerized version and ones which presents a more mythological version. Many myths involve the cosmology of the universe and its deities and inhabitants; some mythology involves creation myths, the origin of things and culture. Some involve the origin of the Chinese state; some myths present a chronology of prehistoric times, many of these involve a culture hero who taught people how to build houses, or cook, or write, or was the ancestor of an ethnic group or dynastic family. Mythology is intimately related to ritual. Many myths are oral associations with ritual acts, such as dances and sacrifices. There has been an extensive interaction between Chinese mythology and Confucianism and Buddhism. Elements of pre-Han dynasty mythology such as those in Classic of Mountains and Seas were adapted into these belief systems as they developed, or were assimilated into Chinese culture.
Elements from the teachings and beliefs of these systems became incorporated into Chinese mythology. For example, the Taoist belief of a spiritual paradise became incorporated into mythology as the place where immortals and deities dwelt. Sometimes mythological and religious ideas have become widespread across China's many regions and diverse ethnic societies. In other cases beliefs are more limited to certain social groups, for example the veneration of white stones by the Qiang. One mythological theme that has a long history and many variations involves a shamanic world view, for example in the cases of Mongolian shamanism among the Mongols, Hmong shamanism among the Miao people, the shamanic beliefs of the Qing dynasty from 1643 to 1912, derived from the Manchus. Politically, mythology was used to legitimize the dynasties of China, with the founding house of a dynasty claiming divine descent. True mythology is distinguished from philosophical theories. Elaborations on the Wu Xing are not part of mythology, although belief in five elements could appear.
The Hundred Schools of Thought is a phrase suggesting the diversity of philosophical thought that developed during the Warring States of China. And subsequently, philosophical movements had a complicated relationship with mythology. However, as far as they influence or are influenced by mythology, John C. Ferguson divides the philosophical camps into two rough halves, a Liberal group and a Conservative group; the liberal group being associated with the idea of individuality and change, for example as seen in the mythology of divination in China, such as the mythology of the dragon horse that delivered the eight bagua diagrams to Fu Xi, methods of individual empowerment as seen in the Yi Jing. The Liberal tendency is towards individual freedom and Nature; the relationship of the Conservative philosophies to mythology is seen in the legendary Nine Tripod Cauldrons, mythology about the emperors and central bureaucratic governance, written histories, ceremonial observances, subordination of the individual to the social groups of family and state, a fixation on stability and enduring institutions.
The distinction between the Liberal and Conservative is general, but important in Chinese thought. Contradictions can be found in the details, however these are traditional, such as the embrace by Confucius of the philosophical aspects of the Yi Jing, the back-and-forth about the Mandate of Heaven wherein one dynasty ends and another begins based according to accounts where the Way of Heaven results in change, but a new ethical stable dynasty becomes established. Examples of this include the stories of Yi Yin, Tang of Shang and Jie of Xia or the similar fantastic stories around Duke of Zhou and King Zhou of Shang. Mythology exists in relationship with other aspects such as ritual. Various rituals are explained by mythology. For example, the ritual burning of mortuary banknotes, lighting fireworks, so on. A good example of the relationship of Chinese mythology and ritual is the Yubu known as the Steps or Paces of Yu. During the course of his activities in controlling the Great Flood, Yu was supposed to have so fatigued himself that he lost all the hair from his legs and developed a serious limp.
Daoist practitioners sometimes incorporate a curiously choreographed pedal locomotion into various rituals. Mythology and practice, on
The Zhou dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history; the military control of China by the royal house, surnamed Ji, lasted from 1046 until 771 BC for a period known as the Western Zhou and the political sphere of influence it created continued well into Eastern Zhou for another 500 years. During the Zhou Dynasty, centralized power decreased throughout the Spring and Autumn period until the Warring States period in the last two centuries of the Zhou Dynasty. In this period, the Zhou court had little control over its constituent states that were at war with each other until the Qin state consolidated power and formed the Qin dynasty in 221 BC; the Zhou Dynasty had formally collapsed only 35 years earlier, although the dynasty had only nominal power at that point. This period of Chinese history produced; the Zhou dynasty spans the period in which the written script evolved into its almost-modern form with the use of an archaic clerical script that emerged during the late Warring States period.
According to Chinese mythology, the Zhou lineage began when Jiang Yuan, a consort of the legendary Emperor Ku, miraculously conceived a child, Qi "the Abandoned One", after stepping into the divine footprint of Shangdi. Qi was a culture hero credited with surviving three abandonments by his mother and with improving Xia agriculture, to the point where he was granted lordship over Tai and the surname Ji by his own Xia king and a posthumous name, Houji "Lord of Millet", by the Tang of Shang, he received sacrifice as a harvest god. The term Hòujì was a hereditary title attached to a lineage. Qi's son, or rather that of the Hòujì, Buzhu is said to have abandoned his position as Agrarian Master in old age and either he or his son Ju abandoned agriculture living a nomadic life in the manner of the Xirong and Rongdi. Ju's son Liu, led his people to prosperity by restoring agriculture and settling them at a place called Bin, which his descendants ruled for generations. Tai led the clan from Bin to Zhou, an area in the Wei River valley of modern-day Qishan County.
The duke passed over his two elder sons Taibo and Zhongyong to favor Jili, a warrior who conquered several Xirong tribes as a vassal of the Shang kings Wu Yi and Wen Ding before being treacherously killed. Taibo and Zhongyong had already fled to the Yangtze delta, where they established the state of Wu among the tribes there. Jili's son Wen moved the Zhou capital to Feng. Around 1046 BC, Wen's son Wu and his ally Jiang Ziya led an army of 45,000 men and 300 chariots across the Yellow River and defeated King Zhou of Shang at the Battle of Muye, marking the beginning of the Zhou dynasty; the Zhou enfeoffed a member of the defeated Shang royal family as the Duke of Song, held by descendants of the Shang royal family until its end. This practice was referred to Three Reverences. According to Nicholas Bodman, the Zhou appear to have spoken a language not different in vocabulary and syntax from that of the Shang. A recent study by David McCraw, using lexical statistics, reached the same conclusion.
The Zhou emulated extensively Shang cultural practices to legitimize their own rule, became the successors to Shang culture. At the same time, the Zhou may have been connected to the Xirong, a broadly defined cultural group to the west of the Shang, which the Shang regarded as tributaries. According to the historian Li Feng, the term "Rong" during the Western Zhou period was used to designate political and military adversaries rather than cultural and ethnic'others.' King Wu maintained the old capital for ceremonial purposes but constructed a new one for his palace and administration nearby at Hao. Although Wu's early death left a young and inexperienced heir, the Duke of Zhou assisted his nephew King Cheng in consolidating royal power. Wary of the Duke of Zhou's increasing power, the "Three Guards", Zhou princes stationed on the eastern plain, rose in rebellion against his regency. Though they garnered the support of independent-minded nobles, Shang partisans and several Dongyi tribes, the Duke of Zhou quelled the rebellion, further expanded the Zhou Kingdom into the east.
To maintain Zhou authority over its expanded territory and prevent other revolts, he set up the fengjian system. Furthermore, he countered Zhou's crisis of legitimacy by expounding the doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven while accommodating important Shang rituals at Wangcheng and Chengzhou. Over time, this decentralized system became strained as the familial relationships between the Zhou kings and the regional dynasties thinned over the generations. Peripheral territories developed local prestige on par with that of the Zhou; when King You demoted and exiled his Jiang queen in favor of the beautiful commoner Bao Si, the disgraced queen's father the Marquis of Shen joined with Zeng and the Quanrong barbarians to sack Hao in 771 BC. Some modern scholars have surmised that the sack of Haojing might have been connected to a Scythian raid from the Altai before their westward expansion. With King You dead, a conclave of nobles declared the Marquis's grandson King Ping; the capital was moved eastward to Wangcheng, marking the end of the "Western Zhou" and the beginning of the "Eastern Zhou" dynasty.
The Eastern Zhou was characterized by an accelerating collapse of royal authority, although the king's ritual importance allowed over five more cent
Old Chinese called Archaic Chinese in older works, is the oldest attested stage of Chinese, the ancestor of all modern varieties of Chinese. The earliest examples of Chinese are divinatory inscriptions on oracle bones from around 1250 BC, in the late Shang dynasty. Bronze inscriptions became plentiful during the following Zhou dynasty; the latter part of the Zhou period saw a flowering of literature, including classical works such as the Analects, the Mencius, the Zuo zhuan. These works served as models for Literary Chinese, which remained the written standard until the early twentieth century, thus preserving the vocabulary and grammar of late Old Chinese. Old Chinese was written with an early form of Chinese characters, with each character representing a monosyllabic word. Although the script is not alphabetic, most characters were created by adapting a character for a similar-sounding word. Scholars have used the phonetic information in the script and the rhyming practice of ancient poetry to reconstruct Old Chinese phonology, corresponding to the Western Zhou period in the early part of the 1st millennium BC.
Although many of the finer details remain unclear, most scholars agree that Old Chinese differed from Middle Chinese in lacking retroflex and palatal obstruents but having initial consonant clusters of some sort, in having voiceless nasals and liquids. Most recent reconstructions describe Old Chinese as a language without tones, but having consonant clusters at the end of the syllable, which developed into tone distinctions in Middle Chinese. Most researchers trace the core vocabulary of Old Chinese to Sino-Tibetan, with much early borrowing from neighbouring languages. During the Zhou period, the monosyllabic vocabulary was augmented with polysyllabic words formed by compounding and reduplication. Several derivational affixes have been identified; however the language lacked inflection, indicated grammatical relationships using word order and grammatical particles. Middle Chinese and its southern neighbours Kra–Dai, Hmong–Mien and the Vietic branch of Austroasiatic have similar tone systems, syllable structure, grammatical features and lack of inflection, but these are believed to be areal features spread by diffusion rather than indicating common descent.
The most accepted hypothesis is that Chinese belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family, together with Burmese and many other languages spoken in the Himalayas and the Southeast Asian Massif. The evidence consists of some hundreds of proposed cognate words, including such basic vocabulary as the following: Although the relationship was first proposed in the early 19th century and is now broadly accepted, reconstruction of Sino-Tibetan is much less developed than that of families such as Indo-European or Austronesian. Although Old Chinese is by far the earliest attested member of the family, its logographic script does not indicate the pronunciation of words. Other difficulties have included the great diversity of the languages, the lack of inflection in many of them, the effects of language contact. In addition, many of the smaller languages are spoken in mountainous areas that are difficult to reach, including several sensitive border zones. Initial consonants correspond regarding place and manner of articulation, but voicing and aspiration are much less regular, prefixal elements vary between languages.
Some researchers believe. Proto-Tibeto-Burman as reconstructed by Benedict and Matisoff lacks an aspiration distinction on initial stops and affricates. Aspiration in Old Chinese corresponds to pre-initial consonants in Tibetan and Lolo-Burmese, is believed to be a Chinese innovation arising from earlier prefixes. Proto-Sino-Tibetan is reconstructed with a six-vowel system as in recent reconstructions of Old Chinese, with the Tibeto-Burman languages distinguished by the merger of the mid-central vowel *-ə- with *-a-; the other vowels are preserved by both, with some alternation between *-e- and *-i-, between *-o- and *-u-. The earliest known written records of the Chinese language were found at the Yinxu site near modern Anyang identified as the last capital of the Shang dynasty, date from about 1250 BC; these are the oracle bones, short inscriptions carved on tortoise plastrons and ox scapulae for divinatory purposes, as well as a few brief bronze inscriptions. The language written is undoubtedly an early form of Chinese, but is difficult to interpret due to the limited subject matter and high proportion of proper names.
Only half of the 4,000 characters used have been identified with certainty. Little is known about the grammar of this language, but it seems much less reliant on grammatical particles than Classical Chinese. From early in the Western Zhou period, around 1000 BC, the most important recovered texts are bronze inscriptions, many of considerable length. Longer pre-Classical texts on a wide range of subjects have been transmitted through the literary tradition; the oldest parts of the Book of Documents, the Classic of Poetry and the I Ching date from the early Zhou period, resemble the bronze inscriptions in vocabulary and style. A greater proportion of this more varied vocabulary has been identified than for the oracular period; the four centuries preceding the unification of China in 221 BC constitute the Chinese classical period in the strict sense. There are many bronze inscriptions from this period, but they are vastly outweighed by a rich literature written in ink on bamboo and wooden slips and silk.
Although these are perishable materials, many books were destroyed i
Shandong is a coastal province of the People's Republic of China, is part of the East China region. Shandong has played a major role in Chinese history since the beginning of Chinese civilization along the lower reaches of the Yellow River, it has served as a pivotal cultural and religious center for Taoism, Chinese Buddhism, Confucianism. Shandong's Mount Tai is the most revered mountain of Taoism and one of the world's sites with the longest history of continuous religious worship; the Buddhist temples in the mountains to the south of the provincial capital of Jinan were once among the foremost Buddhist sites in China. The city of Qufu is the birthplace of Confucius, was established as the center of Confucianism. Shandong's location at the intersection of ancient as well as modern north–south and east–west trading routes have helped to establish it as an economic center. After a period of political instability and economic hardship that began in the late 19th century, Shandong has emerged as one of the most populous and most affluent provinces in the People's Republic of China with a GDP of CNY¥5.942 trillion in 2014, or USD$967 billion, making it China's third wealthiest province.
Individually, the two Chinese characters in the name "Shandong" mean "mountain" and "east". Shandong could hence be translated as "east of the mountains" and refers to the province's location to the east of the Taihang Mountains. A common nickname for Shandong is Qílǔ, after the States of Qi and Lu that existed in the area during the Spring and Autumn period. Whereas the State of Qi was a major power of its era, the State of Lu played only a minor role in the politics of its time. Lu, became renowned for being the home of Confucius and hence its cultural influence came to eclipse that of the State of Qi; the cultural dominance of the State of Lu heritage is reflected in the official abbreviation for Shandong, "鲁". English speakers in the 19th century called the province Shan-tung; the province is on the eastern edge of the North China Plain and in the lower reaches of the Yellow River, extends out to sea as the Shandong Peninsula. Shandong borders the Bohai Sea to the north, Hebei to the northwest, Henan to the west, Jiangsu to the south, the Yellow Sea to the southeast.
With its location on the eastern edge of the North China Plain, Shandong was home to a succession of Neolithic cultures for millennia, including the Houli culture, the Beixin culture, the Dawenkou culture, the Longshan culture, the Yueshi culture. The earliest dynasties exerted varying degrees of control over western Shandong, while eastern Shandong was inhabited by the Dongyi peoples who were considered "barbarians". Over subsequent centuries, the Dongyi were sinicized. During the Spring and Autumn period and the Warring States period, regional states became powerful. At this time, Shandong was home to two major states: the state of Qi at Linzi and the state of Lu at Qufu. Lu is noted for being the home of Confucius; the state was, comparatively small, succumbed to the larger state of Chu from the south. The state of Qi, on the other hand, was a major power throughout the period. Cities it ruled included Jimo and Ju; the Qin dynasty conquered Qi and founded the first centralized Chinese state in 221 BCE.
The Han dynasty that followed created a number of commanderies supervised by two regions in what is now modern Shandong: Qingzhou in the north and Yanzhou in the south. During the division of the Three Kingdoms, Shandong belonged to the Cao Wei, which ruled over northern China. After the Three Kingdoms period, a brief period of unity under the Western Jin dynasty gave way to invasions by nomadic peoples from the north. Northern China, including Shandong, was overrun. Over the next century or so Shandong changed hands several times, falling to the Later Zhao Former Yan Former Qin Later Yan Southern Yan the Liu Song dynasty, the Northern Wei dynasty, the first of the Northern dynasties during the Northern and Southern dynasties Period. Shandong stayed with the Northern dynasties for the rest of this period. In 412 CE, the Chinese Buddhist monk Faxian landed at Laoshan, on the southern edge of the Shandong peninsula, proceeded to Qingzhou to edit and translate the scriptures he had brought back from India.
The Sui dynasty reestablished unity in 589, the Tang dynasty presided over the next golden age of China. For the earlier part of this period Shandong was ruled as part of Henan Circuit, one of the circuits. On China splintered into warlord factions, resulting in the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. Shandong was part of all based in the north; the Song dynasty reunified China in the late tenth century. The classic novel Water Margin was based on folk tales of outlaw bands active in Shandong during the Song dynasty. In 1996, the discovery of over two hundred buried Buddhist statues at Qingzhou was hailed as a major archaeological find; the statues included early examples of painted figures, are thought to have been buried due to Emperor Huizong's repression of Buddhism. The Song dynasty was forced to cede northern China to the Jurchen Jin dynasty in 1142. Shandong was administered by the Jin as Shandong East Circuit and Shandong West Circuit – the first use of its current name; the modern provinc