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Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Saturday, June 14, 2008

China's Dynastic History -- Zhou Dynasty

Zhou Dynasty (Eastern and Western)

Emerging along the Yellow River, the Zhou Dynasty was the longest in China’s history, stretching from 1122BC to 256 BC. Though the military and political influence of this dynasty was limited to only the period of time known as the Western Zhou (1122-771BC), the succession of rulers continued for another 500 years.

Numerous technologies emerged during this dynasty. A new political technology, known as Fengjian, divided up agricultural land into a geometrical grid, and was governed by a fractal hierarchy of “lords.” This form of land and people management is often compared to the Feudal system of Europe, and was masterminded by the “Duke of Zhou,” the dynasty’s first leader. The agricultural system of the Zhou period was augmeneted by an extension of the hydraulic engineering projects built for irrigation purposes.

This dynasty also saw the peak of Bronze craftsmanship, with many artifacts surviving to the modern day and exemplifying the honed skill of such artisans. Additionally, iron was introduced to China, marking the beginning o f a new age in the use of materials and resources.
A culturally and politically significant “technology” that influenced the dynastic tradition until the early 20th century, The Mandate of Heaven, was also initiated during the Zhou Dynasty. This granted a divine intervention on behalf of the ruling family, and was supported or revoked by such events as rebellion or natural disasters.

More detailed information on the Zhou Dynasty and its well-documented and discussed history can be found at the following and additional sources:

Wikipedia Entry
Republican China
China History Forum

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