|Literal meaning||under heaven|
|Kana||てんか or てんげ or てんが or あめのした|
Tianxia (Chinese : 天下 ) is a Chinese term for an ancient Chinese cultural concept that denoted either the entire geographical world or the metaphysical realm of mortals, and later became associated with political sovereignty. In ancient China, tianxia denoted the lands, space, and area divinely appointed to the Emperor by universal and well-defined principles of order. The center of this land was directly apportioned to the Imperial court, forming the center of a world view that centered on the Imperial court and went concentrically outward to major and minor officials and then the common citizens, tributary states, and finally ending with fringe "barbarians".
The center of this world view was not exclusionary in nature, and outer groups, such as ethnic minorities and foreign people, who accepted the mandate of the Chinese Emperor were themselves received and included into the Chinese tianxia. In classical Chinese political thought, the "Son of Heaven" (Emperor of China) (Chinese :天子; pinyin :tiānzǐ; Wade–Giles :t'ien1-tzu3), having received the Mandate of Heaven ( 天 命 ; tiānmìng; 'heaven decree'), would nominally be the ruler of the entire world. Although in practice there would be areas of the known world which were not under the control of the Emperor, in Chinese political theory the rulers of those areas derived their power from the Emperor.
The larger concept of tianxia is closely associated with civilization and order in classical Chinese philosophy, and has formed the basis for the world view of the Chinese people and nations influenced by them since at least the first millennium BC. Tianxia has been independently applied by other countries in the East Asian cultural sphere, including Japan, Korea, and Vietnam.
The tianxia world view was not fully developed during the Shang dynasty. Only during the Zhou dynasty when Heaven took on human deity traits (or at least when references to Heaven as such enter recorded history) did the concept of tianxia become common. Terms like "Four Quarters" and "Ten Thousand States" appear in texts of the time; the term "Four Quarters" (四方; sìfāng) means territory established by the royal court and governed by the Zhou kings from the capital, but with peripheral non-Han tribes on the outer borders and Han Chinese in the center. The term "Ten Thousand States" (万邦; 萬邦; wànbāng) refers to both territory and the subjects who reside therein, both Han and "barbarian". The Zhou kings received and empowered these "Ten Thousand States" by virtue of the Mandate of Heaven. This is some of the earliest evidence of the Hua-Yi distinction.
During the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods in the latter half of the Zhou dynasty, the power of the feudal lords developed rapidly, and several non-Han regions became powerful states themselves. As many of these feudal states had shared cultural and economic interests, the concept of a great nation centered on the Yellow River Plain gradually expanded. The term tianxia began to appear in classical texts such as the Zuo Zhuan and Guoyu .
The territory and governments of the Zhou dynasty and the Qin dynasty were unified after the conquests of Qin Shi Huang, and the concept of tianxia was adapted to act as an actual geographic entity. Qin Shi Huang's goal to "unify all under Heaven" was, in fact, representative of his desire to control and expand Chinese territory. At the founding of the Han dynasty, the equivalence of tianxia with the Chinese nation evolved due to the feudal practice of conferring land and autonomy upon the aristocracy to avoid having to expend military expense in their subjugation. Although many areas enjoyed great autonomy, the practice established and spread Chinese language and culture throughout an even wider territory.
Unification theme applied to tianxia can be seen in Sun Tzu's The Art of War where the supreme goal of offensive strategy was to conquer without destroying that which you sought to conquer:
Your aim must be to take All-under-Heaven intact. Thus your troops are not worn out and your gains will be complete. This is the art of offensive strategy.
Unified China fractured into many different nations during the Southern and Northern Dynasties, and with it went the practical use of the term tianxia. When Emperor Gaozu reunited China under the Tang dynasty in the 7th century, some northern tribes, after being made vassal, referred to him as the "Khan of Heaven".
By the time of the Song dynasty, China's northern borders were met by the Khitan-led Liao dynasty, the Jurchen-led Jin dynasty, and the Tangut-led Western Xia kingdom. After being threatened by these northern states and realizing the possible effects of a war to the country and people, the Song rulers invented a false concept of kinship with the Jurchens in an attempt to improve relations.[ citation needed ] The Mongols divided Chinese citizens into two types during the Yuan dynasty: those of the south, and those of the north. When the Ming dynasty expelled the Mongols and reunited China under Han rule, the concept of tianxia returned largely as it was during the Han dynasty.
At the end of the Ming dynasty, criticisms of Neo-Confucianism and its mantras of "cultivation of moral character, establishment of family, ordering the state, and harmonizing tianxia" (a quote from the Great Learning) became widespread, producing large shifts in Confucianism. Contemporary philosopher Wang Fuzhi believed that tianxia was of a fixed, unchangeable dimension, notwithstanding the fact that the Great Learning's mentioning of "harmonizing tianxia" was actually in reference to government. Using these arguments, Wang was highly critical of Neo-Confucianism. On the other hand, the collapse of the Ming dynasty and the establishment of the Qing dynasty by the Manchus, people previously considered "fringe barbarians", heavily influenced people's views of tianxia. Gu Yanwu, a contemporary of Wang Fuzhi, wrote that the destruction of the State was not equivalent to the destruction of tianxia. He argued that the Manchus simply filled the role of Emperor, and that the tianxia of traditional Chinese culture was thus carried on.
The idea of the absolute authority of the Chinese emperor and the extension of tianxia by the assimilation of vassal states began to fade for good with Earl Macartney's embassy to China in 1793. Earl Macartney hoped to deal with China as equal sovereign nations, as Great Britain would with other European nations of the time, and to persuade the Emperor to sign a trade agreement. The Qianlong Emperor rejected his request, and stated that China was the foremost and most divine nation on Earth and had no interest in foreign goods, and rejected the idea that Great Britain could negotiate with China as an equal nation. In the early 19th century, Britain's victory over Qing China in the First Opium War forced China to sign an unequal treaty. This marked the beginning of the end for the tianxia concept.
Following their defeat in the Second Opium War, China was forced to sign the Treaty of Tianjin, in which China was made to refer to Great Britain as a "sovereign nation", equal to itself. This made it impossible for China to continue dealing with other nations under the traditional tianxia system, and forced it to establish a foreign affairs bureau.
Because Western nations' system of international affairs was based on Westphalian sovereignty, the idea that sovereign nations deal with each other as equals, China's traditional tianxia world view slowly collapsed. After China's defeat in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese terminated Korea's traditional status as a protectorate of China, and the system of feudal enfeoffment and vassalage that had been practiced since the Han dynasty came to an end, a move that greatly changed attitudes toward the tianxia concept. At the end of the 19th century, Chinese Ambassador to Great Britain Xue Fucheng took the traditional Hua-Yi distinction in the tianxia world view and replaced it with a Chinese-foreigner distinction.
References to tianxia first appear in Japanese history during the Kofun period, approximately 250 to 538 AD. At the time, Japanese rulers were respectful and submissive to the Chinese court, and Chinese immigrants (then called toraijin渡來人) were received happily and sought after for their knowledge of the Chinese language and culture. The excavated Eda Funayama grave mound in Kumamoto contained an iron sword with engraved characters that dates to the late 5th century. The characters on the sword refer to the king of the time as the "Grand King who rules all under Tianxia" (治天下大王). This discovery demonstrates that the Kofun-era Japanese (at least of that area) had begun viewing their realm to be a complete and divinely-appointed tianxia in its own right, separate from the tianxia of the older and larger Chinese empire.
According to the Book of Sui , the Yamato king in 607 sent a hand-written epistle to Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty in which he called himself the "Son of Heaven in the Land of the Rising Sun" (日出處天子), showing that the Japanese notion of their independent tianxia had continued to that time.
With the development of Ritsuryō in 7th-century Japan, a Sino-centric concept of tianxia was introduced and replaced older concepts. The hallmark of Ritsuryō – the concept of citizenship – necessarily accompanied its introduction into Japan, since Neo-Confucianism said that all were "Equal Citizens Under Heaven" (天下公民).
In the journals of Fujiwara no Kanezane (藤原兼実、九條兼実), an official of the Kamakura shogunate whose journals became the Gyokuyō (玉葉), he describes the founding of the Shogunate by Minamoto no Yoritomo as "beginning tianxia". His usage of tianxia is entirely Ritsuryō in nature, and his phrase "beginning tianxia" refers to the establishment of a new nation, jurisprudence, and system of order. However, even if Yoritomo had the intention to become a monarch-level ruler, Japan's tianxia concept had not achieved the Chinese level of an Emperor who governed feudal kingdoms and was entrusted with the ordering of the world by Heaven. In the journals of Gidō Shūshin (義堂周信), Gidō records a discussion he had with Ashikaga Yoshimitsu where the Shōgun repeatedly referred to his dominion as "tianxia". In the Muromachi period, people gradually began regarding the Shōgun as the representative of Heaven.
As the Muromachi shogunate weakened, regional warlords began fighting with each other for control of the nation. More powerful nobles, such as Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi, controlled large areas and viewed their domains as tianxia. The term was used with increasing frequency as generals sought to reunify Japan, and came to be equivalent with the land of Japan itself.
By the Edo period, the shōgun was referred to as "Man of Tianxia" and the Shogunate as "Court of Tianxia". The widespread adoption of the tianxia concept helped influence Japan's long period of isolation before the Meiji Restoration.
Based on epitaphs dating to the 4th and 5th centuries, Goguryeo had concepts of Son of Heaven (天帝之子) and independent tianxia. The rulers of Goryeo used the titles of emperor and Son of Heaven and positioned Goryeo at the center of the Haedong "East of the Sea" tianxia, which encompassed the historical domain of the "Samhan", another name for the Three Kingdoms of Korea.
In the 17th century, with the fall of the Ming dynasty in China, a concept of Korea as the cultural center of Confucianism, or the "Little China" (Korean : 소중화; Hanja : 小中華), emerged among the Confucian literati of the Joseon dynasty.
The "all under the heaven" expression became the origin for the literary expressions denoting China in a number of Western languages, such as the Russian Podnebesnaya (Поднебесная, i.e. "Under the heaven"). The English term "Celestial Empire" is said to have been based on the title of Chinese emperors, tian zi (Son of Heaven).
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|Names of China|
Confucianism, also known as Ruism, is a system of thought and behavior originating in ancient China. Variously described as tradition, a philosophy, a religion, a humanistic or rationalistic religion, a way of governing, or simply a way of life, Confucianism developed from what was later called the Hundred Schools of Thought from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius.
Chinese philosophy originates in the Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period, during a period known as the "Hundred Schools of Thought", which was characterized by significant intellectual and cultural developments. Although much of Chinese philosophy begins in the Warring States period, elements of Chinese philosophy have existed for several thousand years; some can be found in the Yi Jing, an ancient compendium of divination, which dates back to at least 672 BCE. It was during the Warring States era that what Sima Tan termed the major philosophical schools of China--Confucianism, Legalism, and Taoism--arose, along with philosophies that later fell into obscurity, like Agriculturalism, Mohism, Chinese Naturalism, and the Logicians.
The Zhou dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang dynasty and preceded the Qin dynasty. The Zhou dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history. The military control of China by the royal house, surnamed Ji, lasted initially from 1046 until 771 BC for a period known as the Western Zhou and the political sphere of influence it created continued well into the Eastern Zhou period for another 500 years.
The Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China, and later imperial China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.
Emperor of China was the title given to the monarch of China during the Imperial Period of Chinese history. In traditional Chinese political theory, the Emperor was considered the Son of Heaven and the autocrat of All under Heaven. Under the Han dynasty, Confucianism replaced Legalism as the official political theory and succession theoretically followed agnatic primogeniture. The Chinese emperors who shared the same family were classified into historical periods known as dynasties.
Shangdi, also written simply, "Emperor", is the Chinese term for "Supreme Deity" or "Highest Deity" in the theology of the classical texts, especially deriving from Shang theology and finding an equivalent in the later Tian of Zhou theology.
A posthumous name is an honorary name given to royalty, nobles, and sometimes others, in East Asia after the person's death, and is used almost exclusively instead of one's personal name or other official titles which had been used during the person's life. The posthumous name is commonly used when naming royalty of China, Korea, Vietnam, and Japan.
Sinocentrism refers to the ideology that China is the cultural, political or economic center of the world.
The Mandate of Heaven is a Chinese political and religious teaching that was used in ancient and imperial China to justify the rule of the King or Emperor of China. According to this belief, Heaven — which embodies the natural order and will of the universe — bestows the mandate on a just ruler of China, the "Son of Heaven" of the "Celestial Empire". If a ruler was overthrown, this was interpreted as an indication that the ruler was unworthy, and had lost the mandate. It was also a common belief that natural disasters such as famine and flood were divine retributions bearing signs of Heaven's displeasure with the ruler, so there would often be revolts following major disasters as the people saw these calamities as signs that the Mandate of Heaven had been withdrawn.
A jùn was a historical administrative division of China from the Eastern Zhou until the early Tang dynasty. It is usually translated as a commandery.
Neo-Confucianism is a moral, ethical, and metaphysical Chinese philosophy influenced by Confucianism, and originated with Han Yu and Li Ao (772–841) in the Tang Dynasty, and became prominent during the Song and Ming dynasties.
Tiān (天) is one of the oldest Chinese terms for heaven and a key concept in Chinese mythology, philosophy, and religion. During the Shang dynasty, the Chinese referred to their supreme god as Shàngdì or Dì (帝,"Lord"). During the following Zhou dynasty, Tiān became synonymous with this figure. Heaven worship was, before the 20th century, an orthodox state religion of China.
From the inauguration of dynastic rule by Yu the Great in circa 2070 BC to the abdication of the Xuantong Emperor on 12 February 1912 in the wake of the Xinhai Revolution, China was ruled by a series of successive dynasties. Dividing the history of China into periods ruled by dynasties is a common method of periodization utilized by scholars.
Son of Heaven, or Tianzi, was the sacred imperial title of the Chinese emperor. It originated with the ancient Zhou dynasty and was founded on the political and spiritual doctrine of the Mandate of Heaven. The secular imperial title of the Son of Heaven was "Emperor of China".
This is the glossary of Japanese history including the major terms, titles and events the casual reader might find useful in understanding articles on the subject.
Fēngjiàn was a political ideology and practice during the later part of the Zhou dynasty of ancient China, its social structure forming a decentralized system of confederation-like government based on the ruling class consisting of the Son of Heaven (king) and nobles, and the lower class consisting of commoners categorized into four occupations. The Zhou kings enfeoffed their fellow warriors and relatives, creating large domains of land. The fengjian system they created allocated an area of land to an individual, establishing him as the de facto ruler of that region. These rulers, known as zhuhou, eventually rebelled against the Zhou kings, and developed into their own kingdoms, thus ending the centralized rule of the Zhou dynasty. As a result, Chinese history from the Zhou dynasty to the beginning of the Qin dynasty has been termed a feudal period by many Chinese historians, due to the custom of enfeoffment of land similar to that in Medieval Europe. But scholars have suggested that fengjian otherwise lacks some of the fundamental aspects of feudalism. It often related with Confucianism but also Legalism.
The distinction between Huá and Yí, also known as Sino–barbarian dichotomy, is an ancient Chinese concept that differentiated a culturally defined "China" from cultural or ethnic outsiders. Although Yí is often translated as "barbarian", other translations of this term in English include "foreigners", "ordinary others" "wild tribes", and "uncivilised tribes". The Hua–Yi distinction asserted Chinese superiority, but implied that outsiders could become Hua by adopting Chinese values and customs.
Chinese era names were titles used by various Chinese dynasties and regimes in Imperial China for the purpose of year identification and numbering. The first monarch to adopt era names was the Emperor Wu of Han in 140 BCE, and this system remained the official method of year identification and numbering until the establishment of the Republic of China in 1912 CE. Other polities in the Sinosphere—Korea, Vietnam and Japan—also adopted the concept of era name as a result of Chinese cultural influence.
Chinese theology, which comes in different interpretations according to the classic texts and the common religion, and specifically Confucian, Taoist and other philosophical formulations, is fundamentally monistic, that is to say it sees the world and the gods of its phenomena as an organic whole, or cosmos, which continuously emerges from a simple principle. This is expressed by the concept that "all things have one and the same principle". This principle is commonly referred to as Tiān 天, a concept generally translated as "Heaven", referring to the northern culmen and starry vault of the skies and its natural laws which regulate earthly phenomena and generate beings as their progenitors. Ancestors are therefore regarded as the equivalent of Heaven within human society, and therefore as the means connecting back to Heaven which is the "utmost ancestral father". Chinese theology may be also called Tiānxué 天學, a term already in use in the 17th and 18th century.
[In contrast to the God of Western religions who is outside space and time] the God of Fuxi, Xuanyuan and Wang Yangming is in our space and time. ... To Chinese thought, ancestor is creator.
Emperor at home, king abroad (外王內帝) was a system of conducting relations between states within the East Asian cultural sphere. Rulers of non-Chinese regimes would use the title of emperor domestically and adopt the title of king (王) when dealing with China.This system was applicable to Japan, Korea and Vietnam, among others.