Ancient River Valley Civilizations
Exhibit Opens at Dallas Museum
Indus River Valley
Social Structure: Caste System, when born into a certain class, you could not change under most circumstances. The classes include Brahmins (priests and kings), Kshatriyas (warriors and aristocrats), Vaishyas (Cultivators, artisans, and merchants), Shudras (peasants and serfs)
gender roles: males worked in their own social class, but women were prized for their ability to give birth to children, and when old enough, children took their parents roles
religions: polytheistic, Hinduism from 1700~1100 BCE, and monotheistic, Buddhism 365 BCE
writings: The Vedas, the oldest scriptures of Hinduism, containing rituals, prayers, philosophies and hymns
Cities: had an early sanitation system, along with bath houses, with no large monuments or structures and citadels for defense, with granaries throughout
rulers or governments: mostly rich kings, or priests/religious leaders that were higher up on the caste system governed the cities
Art: mostly sculptures, and carvings for art, including metalwork, terracotta sculptures, and pottery, one skill they used in making bronze sculptures, was the lost wax technique, which used a wax sculpture covered in clay, than was then heated, leaving a hollow clay hold, then molten metal was poured in, and when the clay was removed, a solid bronze statue remained.
A bronze statue, possible made with the same technique mentioned
General area or location of the ancient civilization
Picture of one of the cities of the ancient civilization
China/ Yellow River Valley Civilization
Government- The capital city, Anyang had the Shang king, who ruled over the area, using military leaders to control, and govern smaller parts throughout his territory. The king had all the power, because at the time, the chinese thought that the king could talk with the gods, and make all the correct commands.
Social Structure- Gender roles were heavily sided with the males, since the father had complete control over what the family would do, and arranged marriages for the daughters, and the mother held a more subordinate role, such as housework, and raising the younger children. The king was at the top, with military figures next, then merchants, and the wealthy were below the military, and the poor or the servants were below the merchants.
Literature: religious, historic, and poetic writings, that were all liked by the Chinese, but were mostly destroyed by the first empire.
Religion- The large importance of family in this civilization also led to the belief of honor and worship of the eldest family members, and the deceased ancestors, who were contacted through bone rituals. But, Buddhism was also common during throughout the civilization.
Cities- Besides the large capital city, most cities were walled towns, which were easier to defend, and were controlled by a local leader.
Art: wood carvings, black ink paintings on parchment, and jewelry for the wealthy, such as jade necklaces, and earrings, showing their power, and money.
Picture of front walls of a city in the yellow river valley
Map of yellow river, today
Artwork, inspired by the religious beliefs of the people at the time
Mesopotamia/ Tigris Euphrates River Valley
Religions: The Sumerians believed that each city was protected by a god, and that the pyramids were a connection to heaven, where they may worship the god that protected their city. Each god had powers, and the citizens were to make prayers, hymns, and offerings to the god for their protections, or else tragedy would fall.
Literature: The Sumerians came up with the earliest form of writings, and created written documents by using a triangular tipped stylus, to make imprints in clay
Art: Clay sculptures or carvings were the most common form of art in this civilization, and sculptures related to the gods that the cities worshiped were a common model for these artworks, since an offering was usually demanded.
Government:There were royal families that ruled, along with higher up religious figures, who mostly ruled the religious matters, such as the temples, but the kings and their families ruled what went on in the cities.
Cities: In the cities, the center usually contained a temple or ziggurat, which was used to worship the city's god, and was surrounded by the higher social group's homes, then with the lower class homes around the outer parts of the city, and the houses were usually made of dried brick, or wood.
The general area of where the civilizations were located
A drawing of what the center temples usually looked like
Some of the carvings found in the temples
Social Class- The social classes started out as slaves of the pharaoh and would make their way up from, artisans, merchants, soldiers, nobles, the vizier, which was the pharaoh's chief minister, and then the pharaoh.
Culture: Religion- It was a system of polytheistic beliefs with 114 gods and goddesses, one being Hapi who was the god of the Nile.
Culture: Art- They painted and sculpted, they often included stories within the paintings.
Writing- Hieroglyphics were the main way Egyptians communicated and would write stories and letters using it.