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CHINA: HISTORY-ARCHAEOLOGY
Zhou Dynasty (ca. 1046-256 BCE) and the Warring States Period (ca. 475-221 BCE)

TimelineTimeline of Chinese History and Dynasties [Asia for Educators]
An overview of Chinese history through its major dynasties. Includes a dynasty timeline, a chronological outline with short descriptions of key dynasties, and a "dynasties song" to help students remember the major Chinese dynasties in chronological order.

Western Zhou, ca. 1,046 to 771 BCE
Printable Map
Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Chou (Zhou) Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Zhou dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapShang/Zhou Dynasty, ca. 1600-256 B.C. [Princeton University Art Museum]
A detailed introduction to Shang and Zhou China. With four related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions and two with a 360-degree rotate view, and an interactive map with an excellent "compare" feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

Ancient Tombs: Western Zhou Tomb of the Count of Yu, ca. 950-900 BC [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses five archaeological sites, one of which is a tomb from the earliest years of the Zhou dynasty believed to belong to a count of Yu and his wife, Jing Ji.

Eastern Zhou, ca. 771 to 256 BCE; Spring and Autumn Period, 770-ca. 475 BCE; Warring States Period, ca. 475-221 BCE
Ancient Tombs: Eastern Zhou Tomb of the Marquis Yi, 430 BC [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses five archaeological sites, one of which is the tomb of a marquis of the state of Zeng, a smaller state under the domination of the Chu state during the Warring States Period (ca. 475-221 BCE), which was "a time of turmoil and violence, with constant warfare between the regional states, but ... also a time of great intellectual and artistic activity, when the intellectual traditions of Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism originated."

Ancient China: Explore an Ancient Chinese Tomb [The British Museum]
Part of a larger unit that examines religious beliefs and burial practices of the ancient Chinese, including the rituals and ceremonies surrounding ancestor worship. The "Ancient Chinese Tomb" section features an Eastern Zhou period tomb that students can "enter" and explore, section by section. Select the "Staff Room" link at left for a teacher's guide to this website and its contents.

Additional resources on Bronze Casting during the Zhou Period
can be found in the Technology, Inventions, Science section of Time Period 4000-1000 BCE

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Unification under the Qin Dynasty (221-206 BCE) and Qin Shihuangdi

TimelineTimeline of Chinese History and Dynasties [Asia for Educators]
An overview of Chinese history through its major dynasties. Includes a dynasty timeline, a chronological outline with short descriptions of key dynasties, and a "dynasties song" to help students remember the major Chinese dynasties in chronological order.

Qin, 221 to 206 BCE; King Zheng/Qin Shihuangdi, r. 247-210 BCE
Printable Map
Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Ch'in (Qin) Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Qin dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapQin/Han Dynasties, 221 B.C.-A.D. 200 [Princeton University Art Museum]
A detailed introduction to Qin and Han China. With five related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions and two with interactive features, and an interactive map with an excellent "compare" feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

Emperor Qin's Tomb: The Terra-Cotta Army Protects the Tomb of China's First Emperor [National Geographic]
"Ying Zheng took the throne in 246 B.C. at the age of 13. By 221 B.C. he had unified a collection of warring kingdoms and took the name of Qin Shi Huang Di–the First Emperor of Qin... During his rule, Qin standardized coins, weights, and measures; interlinked the states with canals and roads; and is credited for building the first version of the Great Wall... According to writings of court historian Siam Qian during the following Han dynasty, Qin ordered the mausoleum's construction shortly after taking the throne. More than 700,000 laborers worked on the project, which was halted in 209 B.C. amid uprisings a year after Qin's death..." (See also: Discoveries May Rewrite History of China's Terra-Cotta Warriors; Terra-cotta in Color

The First Emperor: Introduction and Guide to the Museum of the Terra-cotta Army [Museum of the Terra-cotta Warriors and Horses of Qin Shihuang]
This is the website of the official Qin Shihuangdi tomb site museum and an excellent resource for information about the more than 8,000 clay warrior figures and 10,000 bronze weapons that have been found in the tomb. This website is in Chinese - some internet browsers offer translation.

Emperor Qin Shih Huang's Terracotta Army [Smithsonian Institution Learning Lab]
These learning resources provide a unique opportunity to explore Emperor Qin Shihuang's Mausoleum Complex, home to China's Terracotta Army. Objects found in Emperor Qin Shihuang's elaborate tomb complex, which covers a total area of 17.6 square miles, make up the majority of surviving objects from the Qin dynasty, a significant period in Chinese history. They are some of the best archaeological evidence researchers have for understanding the spiritual beliefs, military practices, and values of the ruler responsible for unifying China for the first time in its history. (See also China's Terracotta Army; Information and Teaching Resources)

Fall of the Qin Dynasty [Stanford History Education Group/SHEG]
After centuries of war among the states of ancient China, the Qin conquered all others in just twenty-five years. Under the rule of Qin, China saw sweeping reforms and massive public works projects. Despite these achievements, the Qin dynasty lasted only fifteen years. In this lesson, students read three documents to answer the question: What caused the fall of the Qin dynasty?

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Consolidation under the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE); The Silk Road

TimelineTimeline of Chinese History and Dynasties [Asia for Educators]
An overview of Chinese history through its major dynasties. Includes a dynasty timeline, a chronological outline with short descriptions of key dynasties, and a "dynasties song" to help students remember the major Chinese dynasties in chronological order.

Western/Former Han, 206 BCE to 9 CE; Eastern/Later Han, 25-220 CE
Printable Map
Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Han Dynasty [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land ruled by China's Han dynasty relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapQin/Han Dynasties, 221 B.C.-A.D. 200 [Princeton University Art Museum]
A detailed introduction to China during the reign of the Qin and the Han, with the bulk of the text devoted to the Han. With five related art objects, all with lengthy descriptions and two with special interactive features for exploring the objects in-depth, and an interactive map with an excellent "compare" feature that allows the user to select any two dynastic periods in Chinese history and compare them by moving from one map to the other.

Ancient Tombs: Han Tomb of Liu Sheng, 113 BC [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses five archaeological sites, one of which is the tomb of the prince Liu Sheng, son of Emperor Jing Di.

The Silk Road
AFE Special Topic GuideThe Silk Road [Asia for Educators]
AFE's own compilation of recommended resources about the Silk Road.

Han China and the Roman Empire
Han China and Ancient Rome: Comparing Two Classical Civilizations [China Institute]
This curriculum unit, "a broad comparison between the Roman Empire and the roughly contemporaneous Han Dynasty," discusses geography, politics, the expansion of empire, and social organization.

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LANGUAGE
Speaking and Writing (Calligraphy)

The Chinese Language [Asia for Educators]
This overview of the Chinese language, both spoken and written, includes an introductory reading for teachers; a pronunciation guide to Mandarin Chinese; and a reading about the history, pronunciation, and writing system of the Chinese language.

Chinese Language: Myths and Facts [Asia Society]
Short, informative essay debunking popular notions that Chinese "write in pictures" or that Chinese is a monosyllabic language, where every word is a single syllable. An informative introduction to the language and its place in China and the larger East Asian civilization.

Special Note from the EditorOn Chinese Characters throughout China and East Asia
The meaning of Chinese characters, used as a writing system, can be understood by people who speak different dialects and languages throughout China and in the other East Asian countries of Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. The easiest way to think how this is possible is by analogy to the use of Arabic numerals, “1,” “2,” etc, which have the same meaning wherever they are written, despite the pronunciation of the numeral in the language of the writer.

Chinese Writing [Asia Society]
Brief essay explaining the nature of Chinese characters as a writing system.

Learning Chinese Online [California State University, Long Beach]
An excellent resource for all aspects of learning the Chinese language. Developed by Dr. Tianwei Xie of the Department of Asian and Asian American Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Select "Characters" from the side menu, then "Animated Characters" from the list on the main page for animated demonstrations of the order of strokes for many of the most common Chinese characters.

Chinese Calligraphy [Asia for Educators]
This introduction to Chinese calligraphy includes a reading on Chinese calligraphy, discussing its various styles, techniques, and materials; two calligraphy exercises for the classroom; and discussion questions.

Calligraphy [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey, is an excellent resource, with images, questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings throughout. This particular unit discusses types of Chinese calligraphic script; techniques of transmission; and calligraphy during three periods of Chinese history -- the Six Dynasties period, the Tang period, and modern China.

Chinese Calligraphy [Asia Society]
"Chinese calligraphy has a two-millennia long history. [This background essay explores] the beginnings of, ideas behind, reasons for, and technologies that gave rise to this compelling art form."

Chinese Calligraphy, the Art of Writing [China Institute: China360]
Scholars generally recognize that there was four times in the world that writing was invented. Egyptian and Maya hieroglyphs, Chinese characters and Sumerian cuneiform, which is what our alphabet derives from. All but the Chinese written language is phonetic... The Chinese have been writing for over 3,500 years.

Chinese Names [Asia for Educators]
An overview of the Chinese practice of generational naming with meaningful characters.

What's in a Name? Chinese Rivers, Cities, and Provinces [Asia for Educators]
A translation exercise with the names of Chinese rivers, cities, and provinces.

Traces of Ideas: Communicating through Writing and Technology [Visible Traces, Asia Society]
The "Traces of Ideas" section of the Visible Traces curriculum (based on the 2000 exhibit Visible Traces: Rare Books and Special Collections from the National Library of China) includes two essays relevant to Chinese calligraphy: "Tradition and Transformation in the Chinese Writing System," which examines the characteristics of written Chinese and its development over time, and "Writing and Technology in China," which examines technologies for writing and printing.

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RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, THOUGHT

General Introductions to Chinese Religion and Philosophy
LIving in the Chinese Cosmos >> Institutional Religion: The Three Teachings [Asia for Educators]
Although the focus of this teaching module is late-imperial China, this section on "The Three Teachings" — discussing the history of Confucianism, Daoism, and Buddhism in China — serves as a relevant background reading for the units below.

Chinese Belief Systems [Asia Society]
Essay examining Chinese belief systems, including ancestral rites and divination, the teachings of the philosophers Confucius and Laozi, and Buddhism.

Sacred Kinship and Sacrifice in Ancient India and China [PDF] [ExEAS]
This unit, developed by Thomas Wilson and Lisa Trivedi for their students at Hamilton College, helps students understand a world in which society and governance were subsumed within a larger religious order and in which effective social, political, and economic administration depend upon proper performance of ritual obligations... This unit aims to establish a pedagogical framework for a comparative study of ancient India and ancient China on the basis of reading primary sources across cultural traditions. This comparison aims not at finding universals, but examining practices (such as ritual sacrifice) and ideas (such as origin myths) in light of questions that arise outside of any one tradition in order to understand both what is common and what is distinctive.

Confucianism and Daoism [Stanford History Education Group/SHEG]
In the 5th century BCE, China was thrown into a period of intense warfare among rival states. The conflict created a need for new political models to solve the crisis. As a result, this period led to the development of many new philosophies. Two of the most influential of these philosophies were Confucianism and Daoism. In this lesson, students read from Confucian and Daoist texts to answer the question: What did ancient Chinese philosophers think was the ideal form of government?

Confucianism

Introduction to Confucian Thought [Asia for Educators]
A background reading about the impact of Confucian philosophy on Chinese government and society.

What Did Confucius Say? [Asia for Educators]
A short background reading about Confucius the person and his writings.

Teaching/Learning through Confucius: Navigating Our Way through the Analects [PDF] [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]

Lesson PlanConfucianism: Understanding and Applying the Analects of Confucius [PDF] [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]
A lesson plan asking students not only to explain the meaning of a passage from the Analects but also to give a contemporary example of the situation Confucius describes.

Note to TeachersEducation about Asia
The journal Education about Asia has many excellent teaching resources on-line on all topics related to East, South and SE Asia.

Video UnitThe Confucian Tradition [Asia for Educators]
A video unit on Confucius and the influence of his teachings. Featuring Columbia University professors Irene Bloom and Wm. Theodore de Bary, and Asia Society President Emeritus Robert Oxnam.

Video UnitConfucian Teaching [Asia for Educators]
This video unit on Confucian teachings focuses on the three essential values on which Conficianism rests: filial piety, humaneness, and ritual. Featuring Columbia University professors Irene Bloom, Wm. Theodore de Bary, and Myron Cohen, and Asia Society President Emeritus Robert Oxnam.

Confucius/Kong Fuzi/Kong Qiu, 551-479 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selections from the Confucian Analects [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Confucian Analects: On Humaneness [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Confucian Analects: On Confucius as Teacher and Person [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Mencius/Mengzi/Meng Ke, 4th Century BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from the Mencius: On Human Nature [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Xunzi/Xun Qing/Xun Kang, ca. 310-ca. 219 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selections from the Xunzi: "Human Nature Is Evil" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Xunzi: "Encouraging Learning" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Xunzi: "A Discussion of Rites" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Daoism

Introduction to Daoism [Asia for Educators]
A brief introductory overview of Daoism and the writings of Laozi and Zhuangzi.

Lesson Plans Taoism and the Arts of China [The Art Institute of Chicago]
An excellent website for teaching about Taoism. Covers the following three themes: 1) Taoist Tradition (discusses Laozi, Taoist cosmology, and the sacred immortals); 2) Taoist Church (discusses religious Taoism, ritual, and the Taoist pantheon); 3) Taoist Renaissance (discusses popular religion, divine manifestations of yin, and inner alchemy). Also features more than 25 works of art, related diagrams, a map, timeline, glossary, bibliography, and six lesson plans for the middle- and secondary-school levels.

Daoism [Asia Society]
An introductory overview.

Lesson Plan Attitudes Towards Nature in Daoist Art [Asia Society]
A short lesson that "helps students understand the difference between how many Westerners view nature versus how many Chinese (particularly Daoists and the literati) felt about the natural world around them. [Uses] Chinese poems and landscape paintings as primary sources.
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Laozi, ca. 3rd Century BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from the Laozi (Daodejing) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Zhuangzi/Zhuang Zhou, ca. 360-280 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from the Zhuangzi: Chapter 3, "The Secret of Caring for Life" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Buddhism

Please see also the "Spread of Buddhism" and "Buddhism in China" sections under Time Periods 300-600 and 600-1000.

Buddhist Art and the Trade Routes [Asia Society]
An extensive site, covering three main topics: 1) Trade Routes; 2) Buddhism and its Imagery; and 3) India: Origins of Buddhist Art. Also discusses the Buddhist art of specific regions -- Korea/Japan; China/Mongolia; Himalayas; Southeast Asia; and Sri Lanka. With maps, images, a glossary of terms, and bibliography.

Visual Connections between Buddhism and Ancient Greece [Smithsonian Learning Lab]
Using the Project Zero Visible Thinking routine "See Think Wonder," this activity investigates the cultural connections between Ancient Greece, Rome, and Gandhara as seen through a sculpture of the Buddha, created in the 2nd century CE. Buddhist sculptures from Gandhara are significant, not only because they show the extent of Alexander the Great's influence on Asia, but also because they are some of the first human depictions of the Buddha in the history of Buddhist art.

Encountering the Buddha: Art and Practice Across Asia [Smithsonian Learning Lab]

AFE Special Topic Guide Buddhism [OMuRAA, Asia for Educators]
AFE's compilation of recommended resources about Buddhism on OMuRAA, Online Museum Resources on Asian Art.

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GOVERNMENT AND ADMINISTRATION
Zhou Dynasty: Confucius, Mencius, Laozi

ca. 600 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selection from the Classic of Odes: King Wen (Ode 235) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Confucius/Kong Fuzi/Kong Qiu, 551-479 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Confucian Analects: On Government [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Lord Shang/Gongsun Yang/Shang Yang, d. 338 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selection from the Book of Lord Shang: "Making Orders Strict" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Mencius/Mengzi/Meng Ke, 4th Century BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from the Mencius: On the Duty of Ministers to Reprove a Ruler [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Laozi, ca. 3rd Century BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from the Laozi (Daodejing): On Government [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Qin Dynasty: The Legalist Philosophers Han Fei and Li Si

Introduction to Legalism [Asia for Educators]
A brief introductory overview of Legalism and the writings of Han Fei and Li Si.

Han Fei, d. 233 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs Selection from the Han Feizi: Chapter 49, "The Five Vermin" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Li Si, d. 208 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQsMemorial on Annexation of Feudal States and Memorial on the Burning of Books, by Li Si (as recorded by Sima Qian) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Han Dynasty

Court of Emperor Zhao, 81 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs A Record of the Debate on Salt and Iron [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Dong Zhongshu, ca. 195-ca. 105 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQsFrom Luxuriant Gems of the Spring and Autumn Annals: "The Responsibilities of Rulership," by Dong Zhongshu [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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TECHNOLOGY, INVENTIONS, SCIENCE
Silk, Paper, Porcelain, and Other Chinese Inventions

Lesson Plan + DBQs Exchange of Goods and Ideas along the Silk Roads >> East-West Exchange: Silk, Paper, Porcelain [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit J from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "What was the importance of East-West cultural exchange? Paper, silk, and porcelain were all invented in China and exported to the West. Students will evaluate the importance of these three products as elements in cultural diffusion along the Silk Roads."

Silk Production [The Art and Archaeology of Ancient China: A Teacher's Guide, The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution]
Select "Part II" under "The Art and Archaeology of Ancient China" to go to page 26 of this PDF guide for information about silk production.

Chinese Inventions: Can You Name Them? [Asia for Educators]
Exploring the many inventions that China has contributed to our daily existence, this unit provides an excellent starting point for discussing both the achievements of Chinese civilization and China's influence on the West. Silk, tea, porcelain, paper, printing, gunpowder, compass, alchemy, the civil service, and grain storage are some of the ideas/inventions covered. Discussion questions included.

A Timeline of Chinese Inventions [Asia for Educators]
A comparative timeline tracking various inventions and ideas as they appeared in Chinese and Western histories. Covers many of the items mentioned in the unit Chinese Inventions: Can You Name Them? (above) and spans the period from 300 BCE to 1900 CE.

China's Gifts to the West [Asia for Educators]
A more extensive and detailed treatment of the items covered in the Chinese Inventions: Can You Name Them? unit, intended as background reading for teachers, but also appropriate for students. In addition to silk, tea, porcelain, paper, printing, gunpowder, and mariner's compass (covered above), also covers plants, minerals, medicines, lacquer, and amusement. Contains links to images throughout. This unit was prepared for the Committee on Asiatic Studies in American Education by Derk Bodde.

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MILITARY AND DEFENSE
Warfare, Zhou Period

Confucius/Kong Fuzi/Kong Qiu, 551-479 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selections from the Confucian Analects: On War [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Sunzi/Sun Wu, Eastern Zhou Period (770-221 BCE)
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selections from the Sunzi: Art of War [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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ECONOMY, WORK, TRADE, FOREIGN RELATIONS
Agriculture, Han Period

Han Emperor Wen, r. 180-157 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Edict of Emperor Wen on the Primacy of Agriculture [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsMemorial on the Encouragement of Agriculture, by Chao Cuo [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Foreign Relations, Han Period

Lesson Plan + DBQs Ethnic Relations and Political History along the Silk Roads >> The Han, The Xiongnu, and China's Traditional Foreign Relations [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit D from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "Students will learn how China dealt with its northern nomadic neighbors during the Han dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE)."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> Wang Zhaojun: A Tribute Princess Brings Peace to the Northern Frontier [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit U from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "Students will read a shortened version of Autumn in the Palace of Han, a play by Ma Zhiyuan (c. 1250-1324 CE). This play is about Wang Zhaojun, a famous tribute princess. Tribute princesses were palace woman sent to marry “barbarian” rulers. In reading her story, students will learn about (1) China’s pre-modern foreign relations; (2) the condition of women in traditional China; (3) the poetic language and imagery used to describe China’s age-old involvement with the northern frontier."

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SOCIETY
Women and Family

Confucius/Kong Fuzi/Kong Qiu, 551-479 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selections from the Confucian Analects: On Women and Servants [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Confucian Analects: On Filial Piety [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Western Han Period, 206 BCE-8 CE
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from The Classic of Filiality (Xiaojing) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Ban Zhao, ca. 48-ca. 116 CE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Admonitions for Women [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Dutiful Daughters: Seven Moral Exemplars in Chinese History [World History Connected, University of Illinois]
Essay with "illustrative examples of mortal-moral women in Chinese culture from the Han (206 B.C.E.-220 C.E.) and Tang (618-907 C.E.) dynasties. The fundamental lesson of these stories was that women, in order to fulfill their highest moral duties, could not simply be passive, obedient figures. Instead, virtuous behavior required action."

Lesson Plan + DBQs Art along the Silk Roads >> Wang Zhaojun: A Tribute Princess Brings Peace to the Northern Frontier [PDF] [China Institute]
Unit U from the curriculum guide From Silk to Oil: Cross-cultural Connections along the Silk Roads, which provides a comprehensive view of the Silk Roads from the second century BCE to the contemporary period. "Students will read a shortened version of Autumn in the Palace of Han, a play by Ma Zhiyuan (c. 1250-1324 CE). This play is about Wang Zhaojun, a famous tribute princess. Tribute princesses were palace woman sent to marry “barbarian” rulers. In reading her story, students will learn about (1) China’s pre-modern foreign relations; (2) the condition of women in traditional China; (3) the poetic language and imagery used to describe China’s age-old involvement with the northern frontier."

Women as Cultural Emissaries: The Story of Lady Wenji [Women in World History Curriculum]
"A starting point for exploring this topic might be the famous poem/song, 'Eighteen Refrains to a Barbarian Flute,' written about an event which may have happened in Han Dynasty China in the 3rd century. It tells the tale of Lady Wenji, daughter of a scholar, who was abducted from her home during a Tartar raiding party and taken 'far away to Heaven’s edge' to the dust, desolation and 'barbarian' life of the nomad. ... Told and retold throughout the centuries, by the Tang dynasty the story was so popular women and children memorized it and sang it. During the Song period, an amazing scroll with calligraphy illustrated the event. In the 1950s, the tale was written as an opera."

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LITERATURE
The Classic of Odes (Book of Songs); Poetry from the State of Chu

Eastern Zhou, ca. 771 to 256 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQsSelection from the Classic of Odes: I Beg of You, Chung Tzu (Ode 8) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Primary Source w/DBQsSelections from the Classic of Odes: "Quince" and "Big Rat" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

State of Chu, reign of King Huai, 328 to 299 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
"Encountering Sorrow" (Li Sao), by Qu Yuan [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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Sima Qian

Sima Qian, 145?-85? BCE, whose father Sima Tan (d. 110 BCE) was Grand Historian at court of Han Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BCE)
Primary Source w/DBQs
Sima Qian's Letter to Ren An [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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© 2018 Asia for Educators, Columbia University