The Spring and
Autumn Period (770-476BC) refers to the period covered by Confucius' book
The Spring and Autumn Annals, which recorded history from 722 to
|Bronze vessel of the Spring and Autumn Period unearthed
in Yancheng Site, Jiangsu Province|
The Spring and Autumn Period was a time of
turbulence and transition in Chinese history, with the decline of the
patriarchal clan system, enfeoffment system and traditional cultural pattern of
the Western Zhou Dynasty (11th century-771BC).
During this period vassal states did not
obey orders from the king and fought with each other for their own interests.
Some powerful states united with other vassal lords by invoking the slogan
loyalty to the King of the Zhou and fought anti-Zhou states and other resisting
states. During the annexation of the vassal states, Duke Huan of the Qi, Duke
Wen of the Jin, Duke Mu of the Qin, Duke Xiang of the Song and Duke Chu of the
Zhuang, known as the Five Overlords of the Spring and Autumn Period, had, in
turn, emerged as the supreme powers of the states.
|The sword used by Gou Jian, King of the Yue State of the
Spring and Autumn Period (55.7cm high, 4.6cm wide and with a handle of
From the social structure to the political
system, great changes had taken place during the late Spring and Autumn Period.
Cultural and educational systems were no exceptions. At that time persistent
social upheavals gradually broke the monopoly of culture and literature by
members of the nobility. To educate and foster more scholars and officials,
private schools became a trendy development. Confucius started private tutoring
under such circumstances. Praising King Wen of the Western Zhou Dynasty and
influenced by Guan Zhong and Zi Chan of the Spring and Autumn Period, Confucius
created a school of thought called Confucianism by refining various literary
materials in history.
Following a long war period, only seven
states -- the Seven Powers of the Warring States Period -- remained before they
were finally absorbed by the Qin when the country was