Factoid Lesson Plan of the Day: China - Taoism - 2 - Animism and the Five Schools
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Factoid Lesson Plan of the Day: China - Taoism - 2 - Animism and the Five Schools

This is an overview of Taoism. It is meant as a resource for teachers and students of Chinese History and Philosophy

2- The Fall of Animism

A. The fall of the Xia and the rise of the Shang led to the fall of Animism and Shamanism.

B. The rise of mystical and philosophical Taoism began.

C. Mystical Taoism became the dominant practice within the Xia Dynasty.

D. The Royal court often practiced Mystical Taoist ritual.

E. The reign of the Shang had left the seeds for meritocracy, the rise off the common man.

F. The birth of infant Confucianism and The Mandate of Heaven were to be two elements of the Shang.

Critical Questions

1. What elements caused the fall of the Xia?

2. How did the Shang come to power?

3. Why did animism and shamanism decline?

4. Why did mystical and spiritual Taoism emerge?

5. Why did the Shang foster Meritocracy?

6. How did the common man benefit from the rise of the Shang?

7. How did Confucianism begin under the Shang?

8. How does the Mandate of Heaven fit into dynastic rule?

Supplemental Material

1. How do we determine the existence of dynasties like the Xia and the Shang?

2. Why was the fall of the Animism and Shamanism an advance for mankind? Why was it a loss?

3. How did the meritocracy in China change how people lived?

4. How did the Mandate of Heaven affect later Western history?

Additional Internet Research Links For This Lesson:

Shang Dynasty




Lesson 4 - The Fall of the Shang and the Rise of the Zhou

A. The Shang dynasty (1750-1100BC) lasted for about 650 years.

B. The Shang falls to the Zhou and Taoism yields to the scientific certainty of Confucianism.

C. The 900 year reign of the Zhou (1100-200BC) is long and relatively peaceful.

D. This allows for the Golden Age of philosophy to occur within China (The Five Schools)

E. Confucianism emerges from the Five Schools as the dominant philosophy of China.

Critical Questions

1. What elements caused the fall of the Shang?

2. How did the Zhou come to power?

3. Why did Taoism decline with the rise of the Zhou ?

4. Why did Confucianism emerge with the Zhou ?

5. Why did the Zhou allow the Five Schools to exist and flourish?


1. What trends take place in the ends and beginnings of dynasties?

2. Why does one religion/philosophy fall in disfavor as another one rises with the advent of a new dynasty?

3. Discuss what problems might confront The Five Schools in the future.

Additional Internet Research Links For This Lesson:

Zhou Dynasty




Additional resources:

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