Six Dynasties Civilization Chapter Summary

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Albert Dien’s Six Dynasties Civilization goes through a career’s worth of information while also offering an invitation to a scholarly study of early Medieval China. It takes on the task of describing the material culture of the period. In his introduction, Dien tells readers the purpose of this work stating "It is hoped that this volume will be a start in coming to grips with the material culture of the period and will help further our understanding of Chinese society during this so-called Dark Age between the better known dynasties of the Han and the Tang” (Dien viii).
The book starts by giving a general overview of the historical setting of the era, as well as providing insight on the important social and political issues, the culture of
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In these chapters, Dien covers the topics of furniture, clothing, military items and musical instruments. In chapter eight, Dien uses literary references, drawings and models to discuss the origins and uses of the chair in Six Dynasties China. Chapter nine, which discusses the clothing of the period and the writers argument the greatest innovation in apparel were the result of foreign influences via the Silk Road. Chapter ten discusses the armor and weapons of the period but also the lack of reflection inscribed on tomb objects despite the intense fighting between the kingdoms of Wei, Wu and Shu and the collapse of the Jin Dynasty, which ushered in the Northern and Southern Dynasties. Chapter fourteen, though brief, is one of the more interesting chapters of the book. On the topic of the Musical instruments, Dien provides the reader with a solid amount of background information and major discussions on the major instruments that show up during this period including the qin, pipa, and the konghou. He continues on to discuss the evolution of music in China during the period describing the changes from the percussive sound of Han era music to the much softer sounds of string and wind instruments which he argues was caused by foreign
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