Zhou Dynasty 1111-256 BCE

China Project by Sidney Cohen and Anna Daraselia-Period 6


The Zhou used to be a clan in the Shang Dynasty, but they believed that the Shang were corrupted, and had to be overthrown. So that's what they did. The Zhou overthrew the Shang Dynasty and became the next Dynasty, one that ruled for the longest time yet. It is the beginning of the Zhou Dynasty. The current leader, Wu Zhou, decided to split China up into states, and appoint a leader to each of those states. All of the leaders were his friends or family, so that none of the states rebelled against him. Though the Dynasty was going great for about a millennium or so, the leaders of the Zhou Dynasty became indulged in their wealth and stopped paying attention to the needs of the poor. Food, clothes, and shelter were scarce, and hard to find. Many people didn't have enough of those things to live, and the Zhou Dynasty collapsed.


During the Zhou dynasty, there was an increase in a lots of different things. For example trade, the communication system, crops, towns, and more. One of the main trading items was iron. It had many uses. It was used for agriculture to make metal plows, it helped strengthen the army because of their iron weapons, and was used for animal drawn plowing. As you can see, there was a lot of new iron technology in this dynasty. In the Zhou dynasty there were other important items that were developed. For example, the chopsticks. The chopsticks are a huge part of the Chinese food culture and were created all the way back in 1111 B.C.E. which is a really long time ago. There was also the development of the coinage.

Inventions, Tecnology, Science, and Architecture

The Zhou Dynasty was a time of great learning. It was also a time for the Chinese philosopher Confucius to shine. He invented Confucianism. It stated that the way to happiness was being respectful to elders, obeying the laws, and being responsible. He also taught 5 virtues he believed were very important: kindness, righteousness, sobriety, wisdom, and trustworthiness. But Confucianism wasn't the only thing invented during the time period of the Zhou Dynasty. Many things were invented in the fields of agriculture, arithmetic, medicine, artisanry, astronomy, astrology, geography, and physics. For example, they used pesticides and fertilizers. In the area of math, they invented fractions and basic facts, geometry, trigonometry, and figured out how to calculate math problems with chips and tallies. In medicine, they invented acupuncture, and in physics, astronomy, astrology, and geography, they perfected the calendar, recorded abnormal astrological events, observed starry skies, mapped the constellations, and discovered magnetism. One of the biggest sections of improvement was artisanry. In that field, the Chinese in the period of the Zhou Dynasty perfected bronze casting, developed lost wax technology, inlayed gold and silver in wooden, lacquered, and metal objects, made iron casting technology, used a lot of iron objects/tools, developed warfare technology, started irrigation and drainage systems, waterways, canals, dikes, and dams, used modified pipes and bells to make music, dyed yarn, silk, and linen, produced glass, and made multi-colored wooden and bamboo products.

Religion, Culture, and Social Life

Lots of Chinese traditions started in the Zhou dynasty. They had very abstract and transcendental beliefs. For example, there was god named Heaven who was worshipped by everyone and was the person who suggested that the Shang were bad and corrupted. He also helped the Zhou overthrow them. The Zhou had many different believes for everyday living. One tradition they had was they prayed to the spirits of their ancestors. They also believed the most important relationship was with their family. Bronze played a big part in their culture because they used it for are. Normally they would wear long tunics and by tradition, the Chinese kept their hair long. On special occasions or certain festivals long gowns were worn.