World History for Us All Bridging World History The Metropolitan Museum of Art Hyperhistory.com
Big Era 5: 300 - 1500 CE Unit 7: The Spread of Religions World Regions: 1-500 A.D.
World Regions: 500-1000 A.D.
1-500
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CHINA: HISTORY-ARCHAEOLOGY
Period of Disunity (220-589 CE) or Six Dynasties Period (222-589):
Three Kingdoms (220-265); Western Jin (265-317); Eastern Jin (317-420);
Northern & Southern Dynasties Period (317-589)

TimelineTimeline of China's "Period of Disunity" [Asia for Educators]
An annotated timeline of the Period of Disunity.

Printable Map Maps of Chinese Dynasties: Six Dynasties Period [The Art of Asia, Minneapolis Institute of Arts]
Color map showing land governed during China's Six Dynasties Period relative to present-day political boundaries. Can be downloaded as a .pdf file.

Interactive MapPeriod of Disunity to Tang Dynasty, 220-907 [Princeton University Art Museum]
With an excellent short overview of the political struggles that characterized the Period of Disunity. Featuring 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.

China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD [The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
This catalogue accompanied the exhibit "China: Dawn of a Golden Age, 200-750 AD" and is now available to download or read online. "The exhibition comprises some three hundred objects, most of them excavated in recent years and many never before seen outside China. Each work is discussed in terms of its aesthetic qualities and art-historical significance and in the context of the philosophical and religious ideas that are reflected in iconography and style."

Period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties (386-589) [Timeline of Art History, The Metropolitan Museum of Art]
A brief introduction to art in China during the Northern and Southern Dynasties period. With three related artworks.

Art of the Silk Road: Cultures: The Tuoba Xianbei and the Northern Wei Dynasty [University of Washington, Simpson Center for the Humanities]
An overview of the Northern Wei dynasty (one of the "Northern Dynasties" of this period), with a map and images of five related artifacts. Part of an online exhibit "organized as part of Silk Road Seattle, a collaborative public education project exploring cultural interaction across Eurasia from the first century BCE to the sixteenth century CE."

Did the Middle Kingdom have a Middle Ages? [PDF] [Education about Asia]
In seeking to answer this question, the author, Keith N. Knapp, examines China, from 200-1000 CE, early medieval Europe from 500-1000 CE, and the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties (661-1250 CE) in the Arab world to delineate a common set of characteristics that can be called "medieval" across Eurasia.

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.

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RELIGION, PHILOSOPHY, THOUGHT
The Spread of Buddhism; Buddhism in China

The Origins of Buddhism [Asia Society]
"A short essay that explores how Buddhism grew out of Hinduism and spread from India to the rest of Asia. How does Buddhism vary from place to place, sect to sect? Learn about how the spread of ideas combine of new beliefs with existing thoughts and practices."

Introduction to Buddhism [SPICE Digest, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University]
A brief overview of the origins and basic tenets of Buddhism.

Foundations and Transformations of Buddhism: An Overview [ExEAS, Columbia University]
These materials are designed to serve as background materials on what Buddhism is, how it developed and spread, and how Buddhist traditions differ.

The Travel Records of Chinese Pilgrims Faxian, Xuanzang, and Yijing: Sources for Cross-cultural Encounters between Ancient China and Ancient India [Education About Asia, Association for Asian Studies]
Article with maps about three Chinese monks who traveled to India: Faxian (337?-422?), Xuanzang (600?-664), and Yijing (635-713).

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.

Responses to Chaos: Art, Religion and Literature in Six Dynasties China (221 to 581 CE) [China Institute/China360]
Chinese and Western historians have treated the era from 220 to 581 in China as a "Dark Age" because the country had no central government and was plagued by repeated conflicts and wars. The collapse of the Han (206 BCE-220 CE), one of the greatest dynasties in Chinese history, resulted in political chaos, which permitted foreign, mostly nomadic pastoralists living north of China, to occupy much of North China and to found Chinese-style dynasties. ...Such instability led to damage of the land, the deaths of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people, and an increase in banditry, which would seem to substantiate the concept of a Dark Age during this era... Yet Dark Ages in politics need not undermine cultural, religious, and artistic developments.

Buddhism on the Silk Road [International Dunhuang Project]
"The civilizations which flourished along the Silk Road in the first millennium CE were open to cultural and religious influences from both East and West. Many religions, including Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, gained new followers. But it was Buddhism, travelling the trade routes of the Silk Road, which became the common factor uniting the different peoples of the Silk Road." See especially the section on Chinese Buddhism. Also see the IDP website's Education section for more units about the Silk Road.

Xuanzang: The Monk Who Brought Buddhism East [Asia Society]
"The life and adventures of a Chinese monk who made a 17-year journey to bring Buddhist teachings from India to China. Xuanzang subsequently became a main character in the great Chinese epic Journey to the West."

Buddhism [A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization, University of Washington]
"This unit offers evidence of how Buddhism changed China's visual culture, showing the evolution of images of deities, plus views of temples and people practicing Buddhism." A Visual Sourcebook of Chinese Civilization was prepared by University of Washington history professor Patricia Buckley Ebrey. With questions for discussion, timelines, maps, and suggested readings. Select HOME to find link to teachers' guides for all topics featured on the website.

LIving in the Chinese Cosmos >> Buddhism: The "Imported" Tradition [Asia for Educators]
Although the focus of this teaching module is late-imperial China, this section on Buddhism offers a general overview of Buddhism, its origins in India, and the history of Buddhism in China.

Ox-Herding: Stages of Zen Practice [ExEAS, Columbia University]
The ten ox-herding pictures and commentaries presented here depict the stages of practice leading to the enlightenment at which Zen (Chan) Buddhism aims. The story of the ox and oxherd is an old Taoist story, updated and modified by a twelfth-century Chinese Buddhist master to explain the path to enlightenment.

Buddhist Art in East Asia: Three Introductory Lessons Towards Visual Literacy [ExEAS, Columbia University]
The most immediate goal of this unit is to familiarize students with a few examples from the vast array of East Asian Buddhist art. A more general goal is to achieve visual literacy, which means being able to analyze and articulate how art conveys meaning to and solicits reactions from its audience.

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.

Lotus Sutra, composed after 483 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selection from the Lotus Sutra: "The Daughter of the Dragon King" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
The Lotus Sutra, a text of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, was composed well after the death of the historical Buddha (ca. 483 BCE) and written down in Sanskrit even later. The scripture was translated into Chinese in several different versions, the most respected being the translation carried out under the direction of the monk Kumarajiva in 406 CE. This passage is notable for addressing the question of the salvation of women.
Primary Source w/DBQsSelection from the Lotus Sutra: "The Buddha Preaches the One Great Vehicle" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
The Lotus Sutra, a text of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, was composed well after the death of the historical Buddha (ca. 483 BCE) and written down in Sanskrit even later. The scripture was translated into Chinese in several different versions, the most respected being the translation carried out under the direction of the monk Kumarajiva in 406 CE. This passage addresses the question of the multitude — of why there are so many schools of Buddhism.

Mouzi, latter years of the Eastern Han (ca. 220 CE)
Primary Source w/DBQs Selections from Mouzi's Disposing of Error (Lihuo Lun) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
Lihuo Lun is a defense of Buddhism possibly composed by Mouzi, a Confucian scholar and official of the Eastern Han.

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SOCIETY
Women

Lotus Sutra, composed after 483 BCE
Primary Source w/DBQs
Selection from the Lotus Sutra: "The Daughter of the Dragon King" [PDF] [Asia for Educators]
The Lotus Sutra, a text of the Mahayana School of Buddhism, was composed well after the death of the historical Buddha (ca. 483 BCE) and written down in Sanskrit even later. The scripture was translated into Chinese in several different versions, the most respected being the translation carried out under the direction of the monk Kumarajiva in 406 CE. This passage is notable for addressing the question of the salvation of women.

Northern and Southern Dynasties Period, 317-589 CE
Primary Source w/DBQsThe Ballad of Mulan (Ode of Mulan) [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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LITERATURE
"A Song of Seven Sorrows"; "Peach Blossom Spring"

Wang Can, 177-217 CE
Primary Source w/DBQs"A Song of Seven Sorrows" and "With the Army V," by Wang Can [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

Tao Qian, 376-427 CE
Primary Source w/DBQs
"Peach Blossom Spring," by Tao Qian [PDF] [Asia for Educators]

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© 2009 Asia for Educators, Columbia University