Major Periods in Chinese History

Dynasty or Period  Dates Developments in Religion
Shang (Yin) 16th-11th c. BCE Court ritual: divination and sacrifice
Western Zhou                       11th-8th c. BCE Mandate of Heaven;  beginnings of Five Classics
Eastern Zhou  8th-3rd c. BCE  
  "Spring & Autumn"  722-481 BCE Confucius (551-479)
  "Warring States"   480-221 BCE Mencius, Xunzi  (Classical Confucianism)
"Laozi," Zhuangzi ( Classical Daoism)
Qin 221-206 BCE Qin Shi Huangdi (First Emperor) supports Legalism; Burning of the Books
Former Han 206 BCE - 9 CE Confucianism becomes state orthodoxy
Xin 9 - 23 CE Wang Mang, the "usurper"
Latter Han 23-220 CE Beginnings of Daoist religion; 
Buddhism enters China
"Six Dynasties"  (disunion; also known
as Wei-Jin and Northern & Southern dynasties)
220-589  Daoism and Buddhism flourish;
Confucianism declines
Sui                                         589-618   Beginning of new schools of Buddhism:
Pure Land, Tiantai, Huayan, and Chan
Tang                                      618-907 845:  suppression of Buddhism
Five Dynasties (disunion) 907-960  
Song                                      960-1279   Confucian revival (Neo-Confucianism);
Pure Land and Chan Buddhism flourish
Yuan (Mongol)   1279-1368 Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucianism becomes basis of civil service examinations
Ming                                     1368-1644 Wang Yangming's Neo-Confucianism
Qing (Manchu)  1644-1911 Critical study of ancient texts; Western learning
Republic of China (ROC)       1911-     Confucian bureaucratic & educational systems
dropped; traditional religions maintained
People's Republic of China (PRC)
(ROC moves to Taiwan)

Under Mao Zedong (d. 1976):
   Confucianism discredited, temples destroyed,
   atheism official doctrine.
Since 1979: Confucianism regains some
   legitimacy, Daoism and Buddhism restored,
   popular religion tolerated.
Taiwan: religion thrives.