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Han Literature

The Former Western Han Dynasty (206 BC- 8 AD)

    Confucianism was established as the philosphy of China

    The Five Confucian Classics became important literature

    Known as Wu Jing
    Were "Book of Changes" (Yijing), "Book of Documents" (Shujing), "Book of Poetry" (Shijing), "Record or Rites" (Liji), "Spring and Autmn Annals" Chunqiu

    "Five Elements' by Zou Yan discussed how the Ying-Yang is the balance of the universe

    Earth = Yellow, Wood = Green, Metal = White, Fire = Red, Water = Black

    These are the most important books to survive the book burning of Qin Shi Huang Di

(Wang Man 8-22 AD)

The Later Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD)

    Later Han dynasty was in disarray

    Centralized government enforced Confucianism as the religion of China, but most practiced Daoism

    Therefore most important book to the people was "Liezii"

Han Philosophy


        During the Han dynasty the Confuciust philosophy was in poewr of China. In the early western Han dynasty the first emperor Liu Bang made China's ideology Confuciaism. People wanted nothing to do with the Legalist philosophy because the Qin dynasty. The Qin dynasty caused much pain to the people of China especially the peasents because Qin Shi Huang Di placed heavy taxes on property and on farm produce. Emperor Wen, one of Liu Bang's son who ruled after the dowager empress, ruled from 180-157 BC and relinquished the people of China from these heavy taxes the most. Emperor Wen's main focus was to help the common folk of China. He helped the people of China by not just taking off the produce and property taxes, but he also declined executions, stopped book burning, and put smaller states within each province to help police the people. The Confucist ideology influenced these thoughts, and changed China. The Confucuist philosophy also led to a new educational system. During the western Han dynasty schools were set up to educate rich promising boys into learned upright government officials. Students learned how to write, math, and Confucian classics. Also in 124 there was a national university established to do the same thing. This was a direct cause of Confucism because Confucius believed that education was very important. During the Han dynasty there were many advances in music and poetry because Confuciust believed these things were very important. A new type of poem was created called the "old poem" that was a five to seven syllable poem. There was also a Office of Music established during emperor Wu's reign which was an office that collected exotic poems and music. There were also books of poems called "New Songs From the Jade Terrance" and "19 Old Poems" and these books contained the most exotic poems. Also the idea of Ancestor Worship was heavily followed during the Han dynasty.

        The Han dynasty had a couple of other philosphies besides the domination Confucianism. There was Daoism that was established by Lao Tzu. Lao Tzu and his philosophy was followed by many of the peasent and poorer people of than Han dynasty. The Daoist people searched to find immortality with drugs and potions. With this search the Daoist made many advances in chemistry and pharmacology. The Daoist made a sudden outburst in 184 AD to because of harsh conditions placed on the people, because of harsh tax laws, constant flooding of the Yellow River, and the urge to bring Daoism back to power. In 184 AD the Yellow Turban Rebellion began. The Yellow Turban Rebellion was a rebellion against the goverment and eunuchs that were in power during Emperor Ling's reign. This rebellion was led by Zhang Jiao and his two younger brother Zhang Jiao and Zhang Liang. The rebellion had much momentum with 360,000 troops going into Luoyang. There Emperor Ling asked He Jin, and emperial relative, for help. He Jin recruited thousands of troops including Liu Bei, Guan Yu, and Zhang Fei, three important people within the Shu kingdom in the Three Kingdoms period. Here at Luoyang the Yellow Turbans were crushed by those three troops and Cao Cao, Sun Jian, and Dong Zhou.

Han Dynasty Art

Still made bronze vessels started in the Shang dynasty

Also started to use other metals such as silver and gold

Introduced laquer on wood

Found art mainly of daily life and pictures of animals and men

Changed the Chinese writing system, which is similar to todays
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