Gender Roles In Ancient Chinese Dynasties

Good Essays
The Chicken or the Egg with Hierarchies
In ancient China, the earliest dynasties Zhou, Qin, and the Han were never unified by religion, but by the government. These different dynasties varied in government structure, social hierarchies, and political philosophies. These factors shaped familial hierarchies and gender roles. In ancient India, the role of government and religion varied from those of China. In India, religion shaped the patriarchal gender roles, and religion dictated familial hierarchy. In ancient China and India gender roles were rooted in patriarchy, but where family hierarchy was involved both societies took different paths from each other, and these hierarchies were influenced by religion or governmental structures.
Religion
…show more content…
India was similar to China in that it had different dynasties with different types of government. In India the two major empires, the Mauryan and the Gupta, did not last long enough to unify the country. Ruling in different ways, the Mauryan empire had a centralized government, but the Gupta empire was based on a decentralized government. In contrast, China was centered around its government. China’s different governments influenced how society ran. The Zhou had a decentralized administration; the Qin had its legalist system and central government, and the Han had both bureaucratic administration and central government. Legalism, Confucianism, and Daoism influenced government and societal roles. Legalism used in the Qin and Han dynasties constructed the social hierarchies, so individuals themselves could move up based on merit. Confusion morals in the Han dynasty dictated one should live according to morals. Chinese and Indian governments both had many different governments but only China was unified by …show more content…
Indian society was patriarchal; women had little influence and women were supposed to be dutiful. The Lawbook of Manu, said women must rely on the guidance of their husbands and sons, and a women’s job was to bear children and keep up with the house. In China, the mirror image to this sentiment is in Ban Zhou’s Lesson for Women saying women must be dutiful to their husbands, do womanly work, and put everyone before herself because women are lowly and weak. Women in both societies were treated as objects lower than men whose only job was to produce children. But, the reason for patriarchy differed. In China women were first lower than men because they could not preform religious rituals, later on they were lower because in government women had no place in the military and no influence in politics. In India women were lower because only men could be priests, landowners, and warriors which were the top castes, and religious texts like Mahabharata and Ramayana portrayed women as weak and emotional considering the best women to be dutiful to her husband. While patriarchy was formed by religion in India, it was formed by government in China. In India the caste system developed sub-castes, Jati, based on caste and occupation; these became communities made up of families that acted like one family, caring for each other, setting laws, and

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    These misunderstanding, Hevia claims, have contributed to the traditional Western View that the Chinese placed more importance on ritual than other aspects of government, specifically maintaining imperial power. Hevia then suggest how, according to historian Catherine Bell, rituals tie together political forces within a society and produce power relations. Hevia also suggests that rituals changed to serve more than one function or more important functions in society overtime. Even though the vocabulary may remain the same, the meaning behind the vocabulary may gain more context; this is demonstrated by John Hay’s macrocosm-microcosm relationship. Hay’s relationship is exemplified in the Comprehensive Rites of the Emperor.…

    • 1602 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Women were also very illiterate because education was more of a priority for men than for women. China was governed by the symbol of yin and yang, which represented the way that males and females complimented each other. The yin symbolized females, darkness, weakness and passiveness. The yang exemplified males, brightness, strength and activeness. It was said that “while male and female were both necessary and complementary, one was by nature passive toward the other.” The emperors of the Ming Dynasty did not do anything to change the social statuses of women in the family or in public life.…

    • 1178 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Clothing later became part of people’s lives in Ancient China, it represented their culture but mainly the differences in social status based on the hierarchy. Ancient Chinese fashion has also influenced modern fashion through its timeless design and aesthetic. [Describe the historical background of fashion in Ancient China.] The society in Ancient China was believed to be strict when it comes to the law in China. This belief all started by a Chinese philosopher,…

    • 1105 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    They were introduced to terms such as “national,” translated as guomin, which also mean “citizen,” and “nationalism,” translated as minzu zhuyi, as well as theories such as social Darwinism and Marxism. Using these terms and ideas, Chinese intellectuals would attempt to inform the public of what is an ideal nation for China and Western nationalism. More specifically, they used these concepts to inform the Chinese people of what they should do to make China a modern nation because the intellectuals concluded that “China’s position in the world arena was so poor because the Chinese were “not only a nation without a state, but also a people without a nation.”” Essentially, Chu and Zarrow make the claim that modern Chinese nationalism was inspired by Western theories to go against Western imperialism. The purpose of going against Western imperialism, uniting feelings of anti-imperialism and anti-foreignism is to save their…

    • 1180 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Bodeker 2 The Chinese and Egyptian civilizations were one of the oldest civilizations both occurring before the birth of Christ. Both civilizations were similar in some ways yet different in others. Although the early Chinese and Egyptian civilizations had similar advancements in terms of culture, economics and government, they were different in that they created their civilizations with opposing approaches to language, religion, and rulers of their nations. First, China and Egypt were different with respect to their belief systems. China’s culture was based on Chinese philosophy.…

    • 817 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Communism virtues are similar when it comes to knowledge and public service. Under Communism everyone would be serving the public and in an ideal Communist society, the people would do so with the responsibility of not complaining or fighting back. Communism relied heavily on the support of the people and the Communist government could use the teachings of Confucianism to “guide religion to adapt to socialism behind the Chinese Communist Party” (Fisher 159) similar to how the Han Dynasty used Confucianism to model laws. The final theme shared between Confucianism and Communism is the idea of the greater good over the good of one’s self. “A sage is not…

    • 1547 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    People never seem to acknowledge that Asian Empires through the 16th-19th century were very different. Although they did have their commonalities, we can see how Japan, China, and Korea were very different both politically and socially. Asian Empires were more different than similar because of things such as their social mobility and structure of administration. These Asian Empires had many things in different politically but they also had their things in common. For China their methods of domestic control were attempting to pacify the frontier tribes by forming alliances by arranging marriages between them and local aristocrats and granting them trade privileges.…

    • 577 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The social characteristics of early Indian and Chinese societies differ because they were dictated by two separate philosophies. This difference of the two philosophies can explain many other variations in the two societies. In Confucian principles and beliefs, structure is heavily emphasized. There are five cardinal relationships in Confucianism: Father to son, ruler to subject, husband to wife, elder brother to younger brother, and friend to friend. This system also emphasized the importance of education and admittance into governmental roles by knowledge and wisdom versus birth.…

    • 652 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Chinese Political System

    • 771 Words
    • 4 Pages

    The contemporary Chinese society is very different from the traditional one though some of the features are inherited. One of the biggest differences is that the feudal political system is greatly different from today’s separation of powers. The way to maintain the balance in politics has a vast change that the government leaders (the Emperor, the President, or the Chief Executive) of the state no longer enjoy the superior status. In ancient China, the powers of the emperors come from the ‘Heaven of Mandate’, as mentioned in the chapters. That is to say, they are with the support of the Chinese gods.…

    • 771 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The Han Dynasty represents the first structured institution that successfully cultivated a political system to govern society through the correlation of a humanistic and administration methods created by two differing theories. Confucianism” and “Legalism” similar in their efforts both successfully influenced two dynasties through different means, thus stabilizing society for a time period. Although the overall similar intent to use methods for the improvement of society, the form of governing would determine the outcome of the two different theories. Legalism and Confucianism sought to excel through poised leadership, and influential efforts. Although, one may argue that Legalism, rather than Confucianism, rules over China today (Duan) The equation of the two theories has displayed an ability to produce a powerful, enduring rule over any society.…

    • 1089 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays