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					Empires of China and India                              Section 4

              Indian Society and Culture

  • Main Idea / Reading Focus
  • Life in Gupta India
  • A Gupta Golden Age
  • Visual Study Guide / Quick Facts
  • Video: The Impact of Buddhism as a World Religion
Empires of China and India                           Section 4

                Indian Society and Culture
  Main Idea
  The strength, prosperity, and stability of the Gupta Empire
  helped lead to a golden age in Indian society, trade, and culture.

  Reading Focus
  • What features defined Indian society and trade during the
    Gupta period?
  • What were major cultural and scientific achievements of the
    Gupta golden age?
Empires of China and India                             Section 4

                         Life in Gupta India
         Growth of Trade                        Sea Trade
  • Indian civilization flourished   • Gupta, Tamil kingdoms in
    during Gupta empire                southern India traded actively
                                       by sea
  • Trade increased, economy
    strengthened, cities prospered   • Indian sailors used seasonal
                                       winds to reach foreign markets
  • Overland routes like the Silk
                                       across Arabian Sea
    Roads linked India to other
    markets                          • Sea trade also between India
                                       and Southeast Asia
  • Indian merchants traded ivory,
    cashmere, cotton, spices for     • Played key role in cultural
    Chinese silk, Roman ceramics       diffusion of Indian culture
Empires of China and India                                  Section 4

  Daily Life
  • Growth of trade strengthened economy; Gupta Empire’s cities
    reflected prosperity
  • Use of money became more common; new group of bankers,
    moneylenders emerged
  • Luxury, pleasure for urban rich; enjoyed music, poetry, art

  Simple Lives
  • Most Gupta people led simple lives in small villages
  • Majority of village dwellers, farmers
  • Most villages self-sufficient, but trade between villages occurred
  • People from different villages got together for religious festivals, other
Empires of China and India                              Section 4

                         Life in Gupta India
          Social structure                      Legal codes
  • Most people in ancient India      • Legal codes also defined
    belonged to specific caste          people’s roles
  • Castes determined jobs,           • Laws of Manu, compiled
    interaction with others             between 200 BC, AD 200
  • Number grew, developed rules      • Defined proper behavior

               Gender                         Laws of Manu
  • Also shaped Indian society        • Female child subject to father,
  • Men had more rights than            female youth to husband
    women                             • Men expected to treat women
  • Patriarchal society, similar to     with respect
    China                             • Abused women could leave
Empires of China and India           Section 4

            Identify Cause and Effect

  How did trade affect city life in Gupta India?

  Answer(s): cities prospered, shops and markets
  bustled, money became common, culture stressed
  luxury and pleasure for urban wealth
Empires of China and India                               Section 4

                       A Gupta Golden Age
   Like the Han period in China, the Gupta period was a golden age of
                  cultural and scientific achievements.
       Sanskrit Literature                     Panchatantra
  • Many great works created          • Another popular work of period
    during Gupta period               • Five Books, collection of stories
  • One of greatest writers,            meant to teach lessons
    Kalidasa                          • “The good and bad of given
     – Poet, playwright
                                       Wise thought must first reveal
     – Wrote plays for royal court
                                       The stupid heron saw his chicks
     – Sakuntala, most famous
                                        Provide a mongoose meal.”
     – Play combines myth, humor,
       court life, lyric poetry       • Warning to think before acting
Empires of China and India                                      Section 4

                        Art and Architecture
  • Much of art, architecture of Gupta period religious
  • Magnificent Hindu, Buddhist temples built across India
  • Hindu temples: huge towers, covered with carvings

  Buddhist temples
  • Included stupas, temples with domed roofs
  • Built to house sacred items from life of Buddha
  • Like Hindu temples, covered with detailed carvings

  Most spectacular architecture
  • Temples, monuments carved out of rock and cliff faces
  • Most famous, cave temples at Ajanta and Ellora
  • Intricately carved columns; include halls, rooms, windows
Empires of China and India                                       Section 4

                         Art and Architecture
  Great works of art
  • Paintings of the time often portray beautiful, graceful Indians wearing fine
    jewelry, stylish clothing
  • Many of finest paintings found in Buddhist and Hindu temples

  Temple paintings
  • Hindu artists decorated walls, entrances with devas, aspects of Brahman
  • Buddhists covered plaster walls, ceilings with scenes from life of Buddha
  • Some of finest examples of Buddhist art found in Ajanta cave temples

  • Made for temples
  • Buddhist temples, statues of Buddha, kings
  • Hindu temples, statues of Siva, Vishnu, other devas
Empires of China and India                                         Section 4

                      Science and Technology
  •   Ancient Indians pioneers of science of working with metals
  •   Indian iron valued for hardness, purity
  •   Gupta metalworkers built famous Iron Pillar, near Delhi
  •   Iron Pillar is resistant to rust
  •   Still being studied by scholars today

             Mathematics                            Medical Science
  • Gupta scholars most advanced            • Ancient Indians quite advanced
    mathematicians of their day             • Made medicines from plants
  • Developed modern math system            • Knew how to inject small amounts
  • First to use concept, symbol of zero      of viruses to protect against
  • Hindu-Arabic numerals; created            disease
    by Indians, brought to Europe by        • Doctors could perform surgery,
    Arabs                                     repair broken bones, treat wounds
Empires of China and India                   Section 4

               Science and Technology

  • Indians identified seven planets in solar system
  • Could predict eclipses of sun, moon
  • Aryabhata, one of most famous Indian astronomers
     – Correctly argued that Earth rotates on axis,
       revolves around sun
     – Knew Earth was sphere, calculated
       circumference with remarkable accuracy
Empires of China and India               Section 4

                Find the Main Idea
 Why do historians consider the Gupta period
  to have been a golden age in the history of
                ancient India?

  Answer(s): significant cultural contributions,
  Sanskrit, magnificent carvings, statues of Buddha,
  wall paintings; advancements in mathematics,
  medicine, and astronomy
Empires of China and India   Section 4
Empires of China and India                                 Section 4


   The Impact of Buddhism as a World Religion

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