Week 10 Review/ideas

Based on the limitations of the Times, it is hard to tell one invention is great or not when you are a part of Times.

We always hear there are 4 great inventions 1.Papermaking 2.gunpowder 3.printing 4.compass

Each of these inventions change world a lot. However, ancient Chinese, very interesting, were never realized how great these inventions are. Papermaking, it changed the way of knowledge spreading. I thought about this and told about with my professor. I got an very good idea: it was so prevalent as to be unnoticed.

Here is an example by my professors:”Think for instance about WiFi: I remember the days before internet even existed, and then you needed a cable to the modem on dial-up… I wonder how many people like you stop and think about how wonderful an invention WiFi is… “

And people wouldn’t think about these things because they are so common that we don’t think they are great. From a modern perspective, with twenty-twenty hindsight, the development of paper and printing seems great and totally changed the world. But for them, ancient Chinese, the way they treated printing may just like what we treated Wifi—- well, it is just a new thing which is convenient to use.

It push me to think about the meaning of history. Finding our future from our past will always be a good idea. Taking a step back and thinking about what we did in the past, we will find something similar in our history.

Week8 review/ideas

Money, a magic word. It has very long history in China. Since 3000 years ago, people who lived in Shang Dynasty 商朝(16th to ) were using money. It is called Shell money(贝币) , made by shell. And In Waring period战国时代(475 BC – 221 BC),each states have their own currency. The Knife money was mainly used in Qi(齐国),Zhao(赵国),Yan(燕国). Although they all called Knife money, they have some differences between each other.

This is Qi Knife money, There are three main kinds of Qi Knife money: Knife with 6 words, Knife with 5 words, Knife with 3 words. The picture shown here is a Knife with 6 words.



Zhao Knife money was called 甘丹刀(Gan Dan knife). 甘丹(Gan Dan) is same as 邯郸(HanDan) which is the capital of Zhao.



The Knives in Yan were called 尖首刀(Sharp-top Knife). It was known as “the sharp shape”.



Here is an interesting thing about Zhao’s currency system. The official currency is called 布钱(Facaric money), but the trade relationship between Zhao and Yan is so close that knife money circulated in Zhao same as in Yan.

I read chapter 4– Detail for China’s vernacular architecture. All the examples in that book are something with my hometown—–Zhejiang.

I want to say something about the fire controls. There are 3 ways people protected themselves in the past.

1.Using 马头墙(horse-head wall)to block fire. 2.Placing a water vat near buildings 3. Using black printing/materials as a roof since black means water in Chinese Five Elements Theory(五行).

Week 6 review/idea

Talking with others about an article you read always inspires new ideas.

I read an article about the collections of the British museum. It talks about some collections’ journey from the time of people getting them until they get into the British museum.

The title is How the British fell for Chinese art and it comes from Apollo.

The article is nicely organized with clear descriptions, but short of references. I guess that is because Apollo didn’t shows them. It should have used a lot of references since the article used very specific details which didn’t seem like first resources.

How to use wikipedia is another interesting thing in our class. You can find resources in the end of article and read note about how and why the explanation changes.

On Thursday, we talked about textile and touched them in our class. I never thought about how people made them in ancient times before this class. But in that class, We really made thread. I had a lot of fun in that process. In the end of that class, I was thinking about the difference between the past and now. The material didn’t change a lot, but the style did change a lot.

Week 5 review/ideas

Bingo card is a very interesting way to figure out new ideas.

For the lecture part, “Doll’ from Astana is made by waste paper. That is very interesting. It shows environmental awareness in that time. And it makes me thinking about “敬惜纸张”(respect paper with words).

In the Ming and qing dynasties, people thought paper with characters was very precious. Waste paper after writing words can not be discarded at trashing bin. It also can not use for pasting window(before the age of glass, people in China use paper windows) or mixed with other waste. It should throw into the special collections and burning into ash. Special organizations were organized to collect the ashes and regularly held sacrifices to changjie (the man who created the word in Chinese legend)and send the ashes to the sea. In essence, respect for paper is not respect for paper, but respect for knowledge.

The special organization always called”惜纸会(XiZhiHui)”. In some way, it helps poor people who want to study knowledge. Rich people donated money to these organizations, which then used the money to buy used paper, and the poor who could not afford it had the opportunity to make some money by selling used paper.

Week 4 review/ideas

In this week. I felt more about how the western and eastern different. And also get something new to me.

  1. We told about should we explore these tomb like QinShiHunag tomb or not. People have different ideas. I never thought about it since I just listen to my teacher talk about discovery of Qtomb. It makes me feel more humanistic care. It is a good question that we should think. I may not want some guy disturb me in 2000 years later. But in another hand, it helps a lot for human’s history. So in fact, we just do it.
  2. In class, we told about bureaucratism in Qin dynasty. Qin wants to control everything include decorate in afterlife. That is so called bureaucratic. Why so bureaucratic? What cause that? I want know what cause bureaucratic in Qin dynasty. Basic on my back knowledge, I was thinking about Legalism(法家) should be part of reason since one of core idea of Legalism is controlling society by laws. The prosperity of legalism led to the prevalence of bureaucracy.
  3. The difference of definition of “Early China” Dr. D’Haeseleer think early China is Qin and Han dynasty. Because these two dynasties are not that different. These two dynasties have same idea in the society and people’s living way. And after Han, the power of empire became more and more stronger. It is different with I learned in high school. I think the early China is the period before Qin, since they have a different social institution: slavery. In Qin and Han, we think they are centralized feudal monarchy.

Week 3 review/idea

In this week, We learned about Bones and the production of bronzes.

It is so interesting that we can find so many information on the bones.

Through the bones, people in ancient China predict weather, pray for a child, and even they talk to ancient by bones. So we can see a lot of details of their life by the characters written on the bones.

I also feel they are talented about how they made bronzed production. They carved wood model and covered it with clay. So when they fired the whole stuff. The clay model remains and the wood is burned away. They poured melted bronze into the model. After it is cooled down, they break the clay and the production of bronzes is there.

When I read the article, the question in my head is:”How the lower class lived in that time?” Since the bones just record “big things” like prediction of something. It is not use for record farmer’s life or slave’s life.

And I am thinking more about lives not just human. I am wondering if we can see any species migration by these bones. We already know the species of the turtles:

(i) Ocadia sinensis, (2) Chinemys [= Geoclemmys) reevesi, (3) Mauremys (= Clemmys) mutica, and (4) a single example, Testudo emys. ^1

If these species still exist, did they migrate from the yellow river to any other place?

1.David N Keightley, Sources of Shang History: The Oracle-Bone Inscriptions of Bronze Age China. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1978.),9

Week 2 review/ideas

Let me tell you a story for why people built The Great Wall.

We thought that The Great Wall was built by Chinese for defense horde, which is true for the Ming Great Wall, which is The Great Wall in Badaling, near to Beijing. When you visit it, you will always hear something like “The Great Wall is more than 2500 years old” However, that is not true for the Ming Great Wall. When you are talking about the 2500 years old Great Wall, it should be The Great Wall built in Qin. Which has a different story.

There is a reason why Qin people who work agriculture in China built the wall: The Great Wall is more for attack rather than defense.

Here are some evidence:

First, the structure of the wall:

Three points about the walls’ construction should be emphasized. First, 40 percent of the total line of the wall was built on sloping terrain: the higher ground was kept on the inside, a moat was dug on the external (and lower) side, and soil and stones were piled up into a wall. Second,fortifications have been found near ravines, crevices, and rivers encased in steep gullies. We do not find actual walls made of stamped earth, but ele- vated platforms and occasionally a fort blocking the entrance to a valley. This type of system accounts for 20 percent of the total length. Third, walls made of stamped earth are seen across plateaus and flat or mildly rolling plains. For construction material the builders used what was available at a location – earth, stone, or a combination of both.“^1

The structure makes the walls in Spring and autumn period seem more for attack rather than defense. It stores war tools, place for solder to rest.

Second, three states Yan, Qin, Zhao occupied land in north which was land of XiongNu(142)

1.Nicola Di Cosmo, Ancient China and Its Enemies : The Rise of Nomadic Power in East Asian History, (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002.),146


Review for whole semester

I actually forgot this is a writing class.

The improve? some,  I don’t feel I am a master of writing but I feel better now. I always feel nervous about speaking and writing.

I improved my writing with three different ways.

First of all, idea. I learn how to use the “so what” way to keep going in  my topic. I learn how to link my ideas with “ten to one”. How to make a good get a good idea is learned.

second, organization . I know how to use make my work more fluency. The culture difference make a lot of trouble. Which I think “should be” in Chinese is not a default fact in America culture. One good example is “Tea ceremony”. When American saw these two words, they will think about Japanese tea ceremony rather than Chinese tea ceremony. But culture differences give me a lot of help too, which means I can think about one idea in another angle that most of my classmate never thought.

Third, word using. I like peer reviews in our class for paper. I learn a lot of word using in reading others paper. I feel in the review class, using computer to check word is a great way to learn. I learn “sour” can be used as describe relationship of two country. That is new to me. 

But to be honest, What I learned from this class is more about how to make peace with myself, rather than how to writing things. I don’t feel I am suck anymore. I am not a good student in my hometown. But I can understand I am not perfect. I am alive as most persons of the rest of world who is normal. I want to do a lot, but I learned I can’t be two places at same time. No one can do everything they want to do. “There is never time enough to do all the nothing you want”


be relax and

enjoy study and life.


“Free-write Response: Okakura Kakuzo’s Book of Tea

I feel something same with the cultural idea. The differences between the western and eastern. And the way writer organized this article. Good telling way make the article clear and easy to understand. It is reasonable which I feel the paragraph is coherent and

The way the author organized the article. I didn’t see much detail in the article. And the ending makes me feel uncompletely.

 I will see the thing with some evidence. and maybe make more evidence on it.

I feel all the article is pretty well. The suggestion actully is very critical. I think the work is pretty good for me. I need to find that drive to be creative and write better again. Often times I get stuck in a rut and I have no clue what to write about.

I feel all the article is pretty well. Thesuggestion actully is very critical. I think the work is pretty good. It isfriendly to a foreigner to read.

The most important thing for writing is, never give up with study. Although it is hard to keep going. Study is a thing which is accumulated. So never give up.