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Comparison and Interactions
Between China and Russia
Culture in China-Art
 Art- Mostly crafted out of jade, pottery, and later
bronze during the Shang Dynasty.
Porcelain was very popular at that time, and still is.
There were also many paintings drawn in China
Cloisonne, jewelery, tableware, room dividers, painted fans were made
By mid 1700s, special workshops produced wallpaper and other stuff
according to specifications of European merchants
Culture in China—Art
o Performing Arts- began during the Imperial Era of
the Yuan Dynasty.
Culture in Russia-Art
 Had handsome jewelry, wall hangings, and
decorated leather items
 Used many animal shapes in their art
The Chinese used nature and animal shapes in their art as well
 Christian Art
 The acceptance of Christianity in 988 AD shaped much of the
art in Russia through religious art.
Culture in China- Architecture
 Imperial Palaces
Very huge and rich
 Great Wall of China
Built in the Ming Dynasty
Started being built around the time of Christ
The Great Wall concept was revived again during the Ming Dynasty,
following the Ming army's defeat by the Oirats in the the Battle of Tumu in
Culture in Russia-Architecture
 Many churches were beautifully constructed during
this time period
Invented the iconostasis, a carved choir screen on which icons
are hung.
Culture in China-Festivals
 Dragon Boat Festival
Originating in Ancient China, it was celebrated to honor the death of Qu
Yuan, a renowned poet and minister to the King of Chu in 278 BC.
As Chu was conquered by Qin, Qu Yuan committed suicide on the fifth day
of the fifth month by drowning himself in the Milou river.
The local villagers, who admired him, fed the fish so that the fish wouldn’t
eat the body of Qu Yuan—allowing them to paddle out and retrieve his body.
This marked the beginning of the Dragon Boat Festival and it was celebrated
with the aim of spreading good wishes and happiness.
Culture in China-Festivals
 Chinese New Year
 Begins on the first day of the Lunar/Solar New Year.
 According to Chinese folk tales, the festival started with a fight
against Nian (a mythical beast). They believed that Nian would
not attack them, if food was offered to it. Since then, Chinese
put food in front of their doors on the starting day of the
Culture in Russia-Festivals
 Maslenitsa
 The equivalent of a Russian Mardi Gras.
 Celebrated the day before Lent.
 Also called the “Pancake Week” because that’s what they eat.
 Christian Holidays
 Celebrated Christmas, Lent, Palm Sunday, Good Friday, Easter
or Paskha, Ascension, Pentecost and All Saints Day
Culture in China- Martial Arts
 Kung Fu
 A form of Martial Arts where they trained both the physical
and spiritual body.
 It was a unique combination of art, exercise, self-defense, and
 Tai Chi
 A form of Martial Arts started by the Taoists.
Culture in Russia
 Russia had diverse population
 China’s society was also diverse and this diversity grew during
the Qing expansion (1644-1783)
 Government Tests:
 Started by Confucius 165 BC. Prevalent after his death as well.
 In order to get a government position, prospective officials
were required to take a test to get the job.
 The advent of printing books also helped
the process
 Jesuit Library at Beijing
 Jesuits shared books on technology and
science with Chinese scholars
 Common writing systems, language and Confucian
models connected China
There were still different dialects
Writing was also an art form through calligraphy.
 Confucianism modeled daily life
 It was the equivalent of the Christianity in Russia.
 Confucius’s life time
551–478 BC
 Still has a great impact
in modern China years
Culture-Russia and China
 Hierarchy-China
 Rulers
 Administrators
 Soldiers
 Peasants
 Men were the “rulers” of the family
 Hierarchy – Russia
 Land owners were the most powerful
 Artisans—people with trade professions
 Serfs—people tied to land as slaves
Woman were subordinate to men
Intellectual (Politics)—China and Europe
 The Europeans learned some political philosophy
tactics from China.
Late 1770s poems were supposedly written by Emperor
Qianlong and translated into French for Western Europeans to
European intellectuals who were also questioning their own
political systems found the Chinese’s practical, secular, and
compassionate ruler intriguing.
 Russia was connected by Religion and a common
Religion was a huge part in the intellectual and cultural aspects
of Russia.
Most of the Russians were Christians
Russian Orthodox Cross:
Change Over Time
Comparisons between China and Russia
Ming Empire (1500-1644)
Economic and cultural achievements
sustained early Ming Empire in 1500s
Ming manufacturers transformed global economy with an international
markets consisting of Ming porcelain, silk, and lacquered furniture.
Stimulated commercial development of East Asia, Indian Ocean and
Growing country lead to rapid growth in silk, cotton, and porcelain
Influx of silver led to substitute payments in silver for land taxes, labor
obligations, and other various dues.
After 16th century, gained knowledge from Europeans of new crops from
Africa and America
No production in rice-growing southern regions nor wheat-growing
regions in northern region.
Silk, Porcelain, Silver, Lacquered Furniture
Factors Leading To Decline
Agricultural distress and great famine fueled uprisings
and declines in local populations
Rapid growth of trading economy led to urban growth
and business speculation.
Suffered from price inflation caused by silver
Factories suffered from disorder and inefficiency
Rising environmental, economic, and administrative
problems weakened the Ming Empire
Decline of Ming Empire
1592-1598 Japanese invasion weakened
the Ming and Chinese defenses in the
northeast couldn’t stop advance of
Manchu troops
 Manchu gained control of south China
and incorporated Taiwan into imperial
 Conquered Mongol and Central Asia
 Ming Empire collapsed in 1644
Qing Empire (1644-1783)
Conquered former Ming territories, lower
Amur River basin, Inner Mongolia, eastern
Turkestan, and Tibet.
 Grew twice the size of Ming Empire
 17th and 18th century was a period of
great economic, military, and cultural
achievement in China
Encouraged foreign trade
Increase in overland routes of communication from Korea to
Central Asia
Influenced Europeans with culture and knowledge
Founded “variolation”, a form of inoculation used to spread
China’s population grew three times its size in 1500
Gradual adoption of New World crops, such as corn and sweet
Empire of the Great Qing
From 1550, Russia expanded rapidly from eastern
Europe across northern Asia and North America
 Became one of the major powers by 1750
 Expansion incorporated different cultures, languages,
ethnicities, and religious beliefs
 Power became centralized
 Civil and foreign war in 16th/17th century caused
disruption and economic decline
 By 1723, all Russian slaves became serfs, and by 1729,
made up over half the population in Russia.
Peter the Great (1689-1725)
Made major changes to
reduce Russia’s isolation
and increased empire’s
size and power.
Strengthen Russian state
and increase the power
of the tsar
Catherine the Great (1762-1796)
Promoted industry and
building a canal system to
improve trade
administrative reforms
and diplomacy
Expanded Peter’s policies
of westernizing Russian
Political Similarities
Land based
 China expanded westward and Russia expanded east,
west, and south
 Depended on superior numbers and tactics for success,
rather than technology
 Modern “gunpowder revolution” of 15th/16th century
was centered in Ottoman Empire and western
European states
 By the 18th century, its armies relied on size rather than
advanced weaponry
China used Confucian models, imperial customs, and
common system of writing
 Converts to Catholicism helped introduce European
techniques of crop production and engineering
 Orthodox missionaries encouraged conversion of
Siberian peoples.
 Roman Catholic Poles incorporated in late 1700s
 Russian language was promoted
 Absorption of new ideas and styles from western
Cultural, Social, and Economic Similarities
Expansion of China and Russia both incorporate new
lands and diverse cultures and people
Maintained policies which tolerated diversity and
promoted cultural assimilation
Hierarchical and oppressive social structures
Slave plantation societies of the Americas
Rulers governed with absolute powers and were more
limited in size of empires, bureaucracy and corruption.
Differences Over Time
In 18th century, Europe relied
on size rather than advanced
Constructed fleets of
warships in Baltic and Black
Approached people with
tolerance and superior ways
and beliefs
Absorption of new ideas and
styles from western Europe
China used small war junks
armed with only half-dozen
Did not develop navies with
size and coastlines
Used Confucian models,
imperial customs and a
common system of writing to
transcend differences
Governments conducted
diplomatic and strategic
Restricted overseas trade
Ming China
 European merchants bought large amounts of
porcelain (became known as “china”)
 New World crops introduced by European merchants
China and the Manchu
 The Manchu quickly assimilated Chinese customs (i.e.
Confucianism) after they came into power
 Emperor Kangxi studied Chinese, Manchu, and
Mongolian culture and promoted cultural tolerance
Europe and China
 Europeans slowly gained trading rights with China, mainly
by negotiation and observing Chinese ritual practices
Jesuit, Franciscan, and Dominican missionaries spread
Christianity throughout China
Jesuits obtained high positions due to their influence over
the Chinese elite
Jesuits transferred European techniques in manufacturing,
mapmaking, and medicine
Jesuits revised their teachings to accommodate for
Confucian beliefs
Chinese Influence on Europe
 New medicinal practices were brought to Europe from
 Chinese products, such as silk, tea, and porcelain, were
in high demand in Europe
 Europeans admired Chinese emperors, especially
 Exchange of culture took place across border with
 Asian languages spread through rural Russia
 Peter the Great traveled through Europe and adapted
Russian society and culture to that of Europe’s (trade
and tolerance)