Change and Continuity in China

Published: 2021-08-29 05:25:08
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Category: China

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From a monarch to total communism, China’s society had a multitude of new ideas and policies they had to adapt to. From 618 to the late 1400s, China’s art and literature hardly changed at all. Landscape painting remained a common form of art from the Tang and Song dynasty to the Ming dynasty. In landscape painting, artists tried to capture the essence of nature. Both old and new styles were used as mountains, forests, and even city life, were painted. Some Chinese painters believed that they should “create a harmonious relationship between heaven and earth” when they are painting.
Landscape painting was revived during the Ming dynasty, but it always played a role – big of small – in Chinese art. Along with landscape painting, making pottery was another skill that the Chinese had. Porcelain, hard pottery prized as the finest in the world, was a popular form of art that people continued making for numerous years. A variety of glazes were created for decoration and several other objects considered as “chinaware” were developed during the Tang and Song dynasties. These included tea services and porcelain figures ranging from foreigners to camels.
Years later, in the Ming dynasty, porcelain was still being made. Blue and white porcelain emerged, and porcelain became a popular export to the west. The Ming vases were the most valuable of these exports, and westerners admired these delicate, beautiful pieces. Lastly, the Chinese also enjoyed writing poetry. Works based on philosophy, religion, and even history, were extremely popular to read and write. Confucian scholars were expected to master the skills of poetry since it was the most respected form of Chinese literature.
Chinese writers often focused on a broad topic such as life or the universe. Poetry never faded throughout these years, and new forms of popular literature began to emerge in the Ming dynasty. Stories began to be told by specific pieces of literature, and classical poetry continued to play a part in Chinese literature for many years. While China culturally remained the same from the 600s to the late 1400s, the country hardly changed politically either. A monarchy completely dominated China’s government during these years.
Under the Tang dynasty, the rulers constantly changed and new policies were thought of, but the overall government did not change. The Tang Code, the criminal or penal code, was established in 624. It synthesised Legalist and Confucian of law, and it has constantly been considered one of the greatest achievemnts of traditional Chinese law. This code became the basis of later codes in both China and other parts of Asia. During the Ming dynasty, Zhu Yuanzhanged began the draft of a new Confucian law code, the Daming Lu, which repeated various clauses that were found in the Tang Code years ago.
Specific aspects in the Tang dynasty were revived during the Ming dynasty, resulting in a very slight amount of change for the lives of Chinese citizens for almost 800 years. Women’s status remained lower than that of men’s. After a young woman married, they would become a part of her husband’s family and was not allowed to keep her dowry. However, wives and mothers-in-law had the job of managing the servants and family finances. They played an important role in the family, although boys were always preferred more than girls at birth.
Other than women, Chinese peasants kept the same status throughout the years. A multitude of the Chinese population were made up of peasants who worked the land and lived off of what they poduced. They managed their own affairs in their small villages. Peasants had a low status in society, but they had the oppurtunity to move up through education and government service. Their status would increase of they received education and passed the civil service examinations.
After being a monarchy for several years, China’s new policies and new leaders changed China politically from the late 1800s to the 1900s. In the 1800s, the Qing dynasty began to decline, and the peasants began o gain power. Rebellions emerged. The Taiping Rebellion almost toppled the Qing dynasty while the Boxer Uprising eliminated foreigners across China. The monarchy-like government became a Chinese republic after Sun Yixian became president. Sun Yixian and his Guomindang established their own government in South China, which was taken over by
Jiang Jieshi after Sun’s death. He slaughtered the Communist Party because he believed they were a threat to his power. However, Mao Zedong thought that Communism should be supported by large peasant groups instead of the smaller peasant groups. He sought to change from the original Confucians ideals, suppressing peasants. Contrasting from the original monarchy years ago, Mao Zedong set up a one-party totalitarian autocracy with the communists leading the entire thing, replacing traditional religions and Confucian beliefs.
The government also simplified Chinese characters so it would be easier to read and write for illiterate people. With a new government comes a new constitution. Under China’s new constitution, woman gained equality, which they did not have in the 1800s. Instead of an extended family being the most common type of family, the idea of a nuclear gamily emerged. Women during this time period were all expected to work alongside with men and set up nurseries for children. From the early Golden Ages to the late 1900s, a variety of cultural and political continuity and changes occurred in China.
The country remained the same, both culturally and politically, from the 600s to the 1800s. The series of cultural and political transformations shaped the lives of many Chinese citizens. Art and literature continued to be a significant aspect of Chinese lifestyle, and a monarchy was the active government until Mao Zedong took over. In the late 1800s, China experienced a great amount of political change, a monarch to communism, when a new leader completely transformed the original policies.

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