Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Era Information
Time: 1027 B.C.-221B.C.
Location of Capital:Hao, near the city of Xian, Shannxi Province
Emperors: Twelve kings for eleven dynasties
Replaced by:Spring and Autumn Period

Map of Zhou Dynasty in history of chinaThe Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC) followed the Shang Dynasty and was followed by the Qin Dynasty in China. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history — though the actual political and military control of China by the dynasty only lasted during the Western Zhou period. During the Zhou Dynasty, the use of iron was introduced to China, while this period of Chinese history produced what many consider the zenith of Chinese bronze-ware making. The dynasty also spans the period in which the written script evolved from the ancient stage as seen in early Western Zhou bronze inscriptions, to the beginnings of the modern stage, in the form of the archaic clerical script that emerged during the late Warring States period.

During the Zhou Dynasty, the origins of native Chinese philosophy developed, its initial stages beginning in the 6th century BC. The greatest Chinese philosophers, those who made the greatest impact on later generations of Chinese, were Confucius, founder of Confucianism, and Laozi, founder of Taoism. Other philosophers, theorists, and schools of thought in this era were Mozi, founder of Mohism; Mencius, a famous Confucian who expanded upon Confucius' legacy; Shang Yang and Han Feizi, responsible for the development of ancient Chinese Legalism (the core philosophy of the Qin Dynasty); and Xunzi, who was arguably the center of ancient Chinese intellectual life during his time, even more so than iconic intellectual figures such as Mencius.