ChAPTER 4 -- Part 6: Unification and the Consolidation
The way they are written has changed.
Many characters were simplified and stylized so that they are not as pictographic.
The bones or bronze vessels on which the characters were originally carved gradually gave way to bamboo slips, silk scrolls, and wooden plates.
The characters became a major mode of artistic expression after the development of fine brushes and ink.
The growth of civilization in China can be traced back to writing and Chinese identity.
The peoples of the loess region and the north China plain spoke a lot of different languages.
They were surrounded by nomadic herders to the north and had contacts with and movements into the loess zone.
The use of writ ten characters gave the loess zone peoples a common identity.
The elite groups dominated the use of the characters, but eventually it trickled down to the cultivating and artisan classes.
The Chinese people entered history for the first time with the persis tence and growth of this identity.
The Zhou rulers exercised more power than their rivals in the north.
The Zhou rulers were able to control a Chinese civilization that was much larger than the one under the Shang because of a hierarchy of vassals.
The valley and vast were home to many of the most powerful vassals, including relatives, fellow clansmen, and long-standing allies of the Zhou household.
The lesser vassals were often their own subordinates or relatives.
The Shang vassal system will be transformed into a feudal order.
As in later political recognized as king, here, in 1122 b.c.e.
A clump Classical era was given to the new fief-holder during the ceremony.
The social organization of his duties to his ruler and his rights as a fief-holder was presented to the court.
Zhou monarchs had no control over the fiefdoms beyond the central core.
If a vassal stopped sending tribute to the capital or refused requests to muster troops for and promises of loyal service, he was in effect declaring war and risking annihilation.
In return for military service, the dynasty provided protection and aid to lesser lords.
The feudal system was disrupted by two developments.
The Zhou rulers used an ideology to legitimize their rule.
The divine was deserving of their loyalty.
The Zhou monarchs used the Mandate of Heaven as a source of political legitimacy to try to control authority.
Zhou had the moral fiber and leadership potential to inherit the throne and justify the overthrow of Shang.
This appeal to a supernatural source of power was a common feature of preindustrial monar chies throughout the world, and it became a pillar of the political system in China.
This claim would greatly improve A Jade Scepter from Zhou China's ability to rule as an authori tarian monarch.
It contained a check on their powers that was to be explored by Chinese social thinkers in the late Zhou era.
It was possible for a monarch and royal house to fail in their duties and lose their mandate if they were governed by virtue of the Mandate of Heaven.
It was legitimate for their subjects to replace them with a new imperial house.
The emergence of an alternative to the military retainers who ruled most of the empire was the second development working against feudalism.
The small corps of professional bureaucrats who had once served the Shang rulers began to grow in size and expertise during the early Zhou era.
Their literacy and willingness to serve as administrators won them jobs at the court and in the palaces of the fief-holders.
Some of these administrators were supported by grants of villages, but others were paid regular salaries out of the imperial treasury.
The shi performed a wide range of services that could be embarrassingly menial; some even had to cultivate small plots of land to supplement their meager salaries.
This ritual vessel suggests that from running particular departments, such as public works or war, to organizing palace very early times, but certainly by the Shang era, rituals and ceremonies.
The most favored of these administrators had polishing jade images as well as mirrors, jewelry, begun to amass considerable influence, and there is some evidence that even before the end of the early century b.c.e., the Chinese had mastered the art of carving.
The division seems to confirm the supposition that the Zhou were here before.
The peoples of the loess soil region and along the north China plain wereTurkic with lighter hair and eye coloring.
The knowledge of writing was common in each town.
The garrison towns were home to servants, arti sans, and slaves.
Most of the empire's population resided in the villages and tilled fields of the serfs.
Rice was cultivated in the eastern and southern parts of the Zhou domain.
The introduction of better farm implements and the extension of the irrigation system tributed to higher levels of productivity.
The increase went to the lords and the Zhou court rather than to the peasants.
The peasants were put to work on road, building, and irrigation projects.
They had to feed and house the lords' retainers when they traveled from the garrison towns.
In times of war, the peasants walked with the cavalry and chariots of the lords' army.
The lords' demands grew more oppressive as time went on.