Since the dawn of civilization, the natural world has had a significant impact on life in China. Because China has always been predominately an agricultural society, the people of China have always had a close relationship with the land. China has always had the largest cities on earth; they were usually built with surrounding walls, as can be seen in modern (shee-ahn) or Beijing. Over several millennia, China was geographically isolated. The Pamir, Tianshan, and Himalaya mountain ranges, the vast deserts of the Gobi and Taklimakan, and large expanses of water from the Yellow Sea, East China Sea, and the Pacific Ocean made the spread of ideas and goods to China difficult. Despite the geographical barriers, China was interacting with neighbors as early as the a period of human culture characterized by the initial use of weapons, tools, and other objects made of bronze.. From the nomadic tribes to the west, the people of China learned how to handle horses and construct chariots, among other skills. In the arts of China, animals and nature are common subjects, from real and imagined creatures shaped in the form of a a container such as a cup, bowl, pot, or dish. to natural and imagined environments depicted on lengthy scrolls. These connections with nature are deeply embedded in ancient Chinese belief systems like (dow-ihz-uhm) a philosophy based on the ideas of the Chinese thinker Laozi, who taught that people should be guided by a universal force called the Dao (Way)., (bood-ihz-uhm) a widespread Asian religion or philosophy founded by Siddartha Gautama in northeastern India in the 5th century BCE., and a system of ethical and philosophical teaching associated with the Chinese philosopher Confucius (551–479 BCE). He developed a system of thought that stressed the importance of good government, social order, and harmonious and moral living..
- China has always had most of the largest cities on the planet, which require great social and natural engineering.
- An enduring theme in the arts of China has been assigning attributes and symbolic meaning to animals and nature.
- Animals and nature depictions in Chinese art can help one better understand the relationship and values Chinese cultures have had with the natural environment.
- Religions and philosophies have shaped China’s associations and relationships with animals and nature.