ChAPTER 5 -- Part 8: Classical Civilizations in the Eastern
The imperial family enjoyed a large pleasure garden beyond the city walls.
One of the earliest zoos was included.
The palaces of the most powerful households in the city were surrounded by administrative buildings.
The zone became an imperial city under later dynasties.
Many of the imperial palaces and government buildings were made of clay and covered with plaster.
The glazed tiles with upturned edges became a characteristic of Chinese architecture in the following thousand years.
The Han capital at Xi'an was one of the most imposing cities in China.
It is likely that China was the most urbanized civilization in the world at this time.
There were many towns with populations in the tens of thousands.
Many administrative centers were dominated by multistory residences and offices of impe rial officials.
Many of the towns that grew up around mining and manufactur ing centers continued to grow in the Han era.
Han military expansion to the west and south advanced this growth.
New overland trade routes were established into central Asia and south China.
Today northern Vietnam, the rest of southeast Asia, and the rich trading towns of coastal India are connected by overseas links.
These trading networks were controlled by large firms.
They grew wealthy from the transport and sale of bulk items, such as grain and horses, as well as from supplying the elite classes with exotic luxury items such as incense, fragrant woods, and rhinoceros horn, which were believed to enhance male potency.
Merchant families made a lot of money by investing in mining, shipbuilding, sheep raising, and less legitimate businesses such as gambling halls, brothels, and grave robbing.
Although the merchant classes became wealthier and more numerous, it was difficult to translate their profits into political power or social status.
The scholar-gentry made the Han rulers issue laws that restricted merchant activities.
Merchants were not allowed to hold administrative posts under most Han rulers.
They weren't allowed to own carriages, carry weapons, or wear silk clothing.
Scholar-gentry writers consistently ranked merchants below the peasants in terms of their social usefulness, arguing that peasants produced food and essential services, whereas traders lived off the labor of others.
Civilizations can tell us a lot about the distribution of want to refer to relevant sections in Chapters 3, 4, and 5.
The configurations of these pivotal cities usu ally manifest religious beliefs and conceptions of the cosmic order in the ways they are constructed.
The Chinese had a special talent for invention and production.
They had built fortifications and irrigation systems.
Cropping techniques were some of the most productive known to human beings.
China was the most technologically innovative and advanced of all the classical civilizations.
Although the Han Chinese developed watermills to grind grain and power artisan workshops and rudders and compasses to steer and guide ships, they were not used by sailors until the 9th century.
They were able to exploit the iron and copper resources that were critical to warfare and domestic production.
Techniques for making lacquer ware and porcelain were pioneered during the Han rule, which allowed China to remain a leader in ceramics until the modern era.
The growth of the manufacturing classes was promoted by these advances.
In special sectors of Chinese towns, artisans tended to be clustered around crafts such as pottery making or silk weaving.
The scholar-gentry accorded skilled artisans a lower official social status, but they were in high demand and probably had a higher living standard.
Some members of the artisan classes were allowed to carry weapons, ride horses, and wear silk clothing, but the ideal and reality did not match.
During the classical period, Chinese art was mostly decorative.
Careful detail and expert artistry were the most valued.
An ancient Chinese system of medicine centered on symbols of Chinese writing and calligraphy became a highly prized art form.
The development of Chinese painting on the insertion of special needles was less developed than it became under later Chinese dynasties.
The ceramic figurines, bowls, and vases produced in this era set a very high standard for later ailments.
Important work was done in jade and ivory carvings.
The Chinese were more interested in practical experimentation in the sciences.
The court astronomer developed a calendar based on a year of 365.5 days.
Calculating the movements of the planets was done more than 1500 years before comparable observations were made in Europe.
The main purpose of Chinese astronomy was to make sure that heaven and earth are not separated.
Chinese scientists improved their instruments, inventing a seismograph to register the strength of earthquakes.
The Chinese were involved in medical research.
They were able to diagnose diseases and prescribe drugs to cure them.
One of the most powerful and long-lived in Chinese history, the founder of the Han dynasty, was depicted in this painting.