Shang Dynasty
Overview
 
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty (殷代; pinyin: yīn dài) was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty
Dynasties in Chinese history
The following is a chronology of the dynasties in Chinese history.Chinese history is not as neat as is often described and it was rare for one dynasty to change peacefully into the next. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they...

, after the Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper
China proper
China proper or Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Qing Dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history...

" in the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 valley. According to the chronology based upon calculations by Liu Xin
Liu Xin
Liu Xin , later changed name to Liu Xiu , courtesy name Zijun , was a Chinese astronomer, historian, and editor during the Xin Dynasty . He was the son of Confucian scholar Liu Xiang and an associate of other prominent thinkers such as the philosopher Huan Tan...

, the Shang ruled between 1766 BC and 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the Bamboo Annals
Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times and extends to the Warring States Period , particularly the history of the Wei state...

, they ruled between 1556 BC and 1046 BC.
Encyclopedia
The Shang Dynasty or Yin Dynasty (殷代; pinyin: yīn dài) was, according to traditional sources, the second Chinese dynasty
Dynasties in Chinese history
The following is a chronology of the dynasties in Chinese history.Chinese history is not as neat as is often described and it was rare for one dynasty to change peacefully into the next. Dynasties were often established before the overthrow of an existing regime, or continued for a time after they...

, after the Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

. They ruled in the northeastern regions of the area known as "China proper
China proper
China proper or Eighteen Provinces was a term used by Western writers on the Qing Dynasty to express a distinction between the core and frontier regions of China. There is no fixed extent for China proper, as many administrative, cultural, and linguistic shifts have occurred in Chinese history...

" in the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 valley. According to the chronology based upon calculations by Liu Xin
Liu Xin
Liu Xin , later changed name to Liu Xiu , courtesy name Zijun , was a Chinese astronomer, historian, and editor during the Xin Dynasty . He was the son of Confucian scholar Liu Xiang and an associate of other prominent thinkers such as the philosopher Huan Tan...

, the Shang ruled between 1766 BC and 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the Bamboo Annals
Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times and extends to the Warring States Period , particularly the history of the Wei state...

, they ruled between 1556 BC and 1046 BC. The results of the Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project
Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project
The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project was a multi-disciplinary project commissioned by the People's Republic of China in 1996 to determine with accuracy the location and time frame of the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty and the Zhou Dynasty...

 place them between 1600 BC and 1046 BC. According to historical tradition, the Shang Dynasty followed the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 and preceded the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

.

While some direct information about the Shang Dynasty comes from Shang-era inscriptions on bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 artifacts, most comes from oracle bone
Oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...

s – turtle shells, cattle scapula
Scapula
In anatomy, the scapula , omo, or shoulder blade, is the bone that connects the humerus with the clavicle ....

e, or other bones, which bear glyphs that form the first significant corpus of recorded Chinese character
Chinese character
Chinese characters are logograms used in the writing of Chinese and Japanese , less frequently Korean , formerly Vietnamese , or other languages...

s. Other sources on the Shang come from historical records of the later Zhou Dynasty and the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 Shiji, or Records of the Grand Historian, by Sima Qian
Sima Qian
Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes of the Han Dynasty. He is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography for his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian , a "Jizhuanti"-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to...

. The inscriptions on the oracle bones are divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

s, and because they can be gleaned for information on many topics from the politics and economy to the art and medicine of the period, they provide critical insight into the early stages of Chinese civilization.

One site of the Shang capitals, later historically called the Ruins of Yin
Yinxu
Yinxu is the ruins of the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty. The capital served 255 years for 12 kings in 8 generations.Rediscovered in 1899, it is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China and is one of the historical capitals of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

 (殷墟), is near modern day Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

. Archaeological work there uncovered eleven major Yin royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

, jade
Jade
Jade is an ornamental stone.The term jade is applied to two different metamorphic rocks that are made up of different silicate minerals:...

, stone
STONe
is a Japanese manga written and illustrated by Sin-Ichi Hiromoto. Kodansha released the two bound volumes of the manga on April 23, 2002 and August 23, 2002, respectively.The manga is licensed for an English-languague released in North America be Tokyopop...

, bone
Bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

, and ceramic
Ceramic
A ceramic is an inorganic, nonmetallic solid prepared by the action of heat and subsequent cooling. Ceramic materials may have a crystalline or partly crystalline structure, or may be amorphous...

 artifacts have been obtained. The workmanship on the bronzes attests to a high level of civilization. In terms of inscribed oracle bones alone, more than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s
1920s
File:1920s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Third Tipperary Brigade Flying Column No. 2 under Sean Hogan during the Irish Civil War; Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol in accordance to the 18th amendment, which made alcoholic beverages illegal throughout the entire decade; In...

 and 1930s
1930s
File:1930s decade montage.png|From left, clockwise: Dorothea Lange's photo of the homeless Florence Thompson show the effects of the Great Depression; Due to the economic collapse, the farms become dry and the Dust Bowl spreads through America; The Battle of Wuhan during the Second Sino-Japanese...

, and over four times as many have been found since.

Traditional accounts

The classic account of Shang history comes from the Historical Records
Records of the Grand Historian
The Records of the Grand Historian, also known in English by the Chinese name Shiji , written from 109 BC to 91 BC, was the Magnum opus of Sima Qian, in which he recounted Chinese history from the time of the Yellow Emperor until his own time...

written by Sima Qian
Sima Qian
Sima Qian was a Prefect of the Grand Scribes of the Han Dynasty. He is regarded as the father of Chinese historiography for his highly praised work, Records of the Grand Historian , a "Jizhuanti"-style general history of China, covering more than two thousand years from the Yellow Emperor to...

 during the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

, as well as older works such as the Book of History and the Bamboo Annals
Bamboo Annals
The Bamboo Annals is a chronicle of ancient China. It begins at the earliest legendary times and extends to the Warring States Period , particularly the history of the Wei state...

, though there is some minor variation between accounts.

The Rise of Shang

According to Chinese tradition, the Shang dynasty was founded by a rebel king, Tang of Shang
Tang of Shang
King Cheng Tang of Shang was the first ruling king of the Shang dynasty in Chinese history. He overthrew Jie, the last ruler of the Xia dynasty.-Early life:...

, who overthrew the last Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 ruler in the Battle of Mingtiao
Battle of Mingtiao
The Battle of Mingtiao was a battle between the Xia Dynasty and the Shang Dynasty. This semi-mythological battle resulted in a Shang victory which created the circumstances for the elevation of the Duke of Shang to the throne of China.-Background:...

. According to the Shiji, the Shang had a long history, and there are different theories about their origin. An analysis of bones from the remains of Shang people showed a Huaxia
Huaxia
Huaxia is a name often used to represent China or Chinese civilization.-Etymology:According to the historical record, Zuo Zhuan, the ancient Xia Dynasty of central China was a state that held propriety and justice in high esteem...

 ethnic origin.

According to different history records, the Shang moved their capital many times over the course of their rule, with the final and most important move to Yin, in 1350 BC, initiating the golden age of the dynasty. In fact, the name "Yin dynasty" has been synonymous with the Shang throughout history and was actually the more popular term. However, it is now often used specifically to describe the later half of the Shang dynasty. In Japan and Korea, the Shang are still referred to almost exclusively as the Yin (In) dynasty.

The Fall of Shang

Shang Zhou
King Zhou of Shang
Emperor Xin of Shang was the last king of the Shang Dynasty. He was later given the pejorative posthumous name Zhòu . He is also called Zhou Xin or King Zhou . He may also be referred to by adding "Shang" in front of any of his names...

 (商紂), the last Shang king, committed suicide after his army was defeated by the Zhou
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 (周) people. Legends say that his army and his equipped slaves betrayed him by joining the Zhou rebels in the decisive Battle of Muye
Battle of Muye
The Battle of Muye was fought in China perhaps 1046 BC. The battle led to the end of the Shang dynasty, and the beginning of the Zhou dynasty.-Background:...

. According to the lost books of Zhou (逸周書) and Mencius
Mencius
Mencius was a Chinese philosopher who was arguably the most famous Confucian after Confucius himself.-Life:Mencius, also known by his birth name Meng Ke or Ko, was born in the State of Zou, now forming the territory of the county-level city of Zoucheng , Shandong province, only thirty kilometres ...

 the battle was very bloody. The classic, Ming
Ming Dynasty
The Ming Dynasty, also Empire of the Great Ming, was the ruling dynasty of China from 1368 to 1644, following the collapse of the Mongol-led Yuan Dynasty. The Ming, "one of the greatest eras of orderly government and social stability in human history", was the last dynasty in China ruled by ethnic...

-era novel Fengshen Yanyi
Fengshen Yanyi
Fengshen Bang, also known as Fengshen Yanyi in Chinese, and translated as The Investiture of the Gods or The Creation of the Gods, is one of the major vernacular Chinese epic novels written during the Ming Dynasty...

retells the story of the war between Shang and Zhou as a conflict where rival factions of gods supported different sides in the war.

After Shang were defeated, the Zhou king, King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhou
King Wu of Zhōu or King Wu of Chou was the first sovereign, or ruler of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 1046-1043 BCE or 1049/45-1043. Various sources quoted that he died at the age of 93, 54 or 43. He was considered a just and able leader. Zhou Gong Dan was one of his...

 (周武王), allowed Shang Zhou's son Wugeng Lufu (武庚祿父) to rule the Shang as a vassal
Vassal
A vassal or feudatory is a person who has entered into a mutual obligation to a lord or monarch in the context of the feudal system in medieval Europe. The obligations often included military support and mutual protection, in exchange for certain privileges, usually including the grant of land held...

 kingdom. However, Zhou Wu sent three of his brothers and an army to ensure that Wugeng Lufu would not rebel. After Zhou Wu's death, the Shang would join the Three Governors' Rebellion (三監之亂) against the Duke of Zhou
Duke of Zhou
The Duke of Zhou played a major role in consolidating the newly-founded Zhou Dynasty . He was the brother of King Wu of Zhou, the first king of the ancient Chinese Zhou Dynasty...

, but the rebellion collapsed after three years, leaving Zhou in control of Shang territory.

After Shang's collapse, Zhou's rulers forcibly relocated "Yin diehards" (殷頑) and scattered them throughout Zhou territory. Some surviving members of the Shang royal family collectively changed their surname from the ancestral name Zi (子) to the name of their fallen dynasty, Yin (殷). The family retained an aristocratic standing and often provided needed administrative services to the succeeding Zhou Dynasty. The Shiji states that King Cheng of Zhou
King Cheng of Zhou
King Cheng of Zhou or King Ch'eng of Chou was the second sovereign of the Chinese Zhou Dynasty. The dates of his reign are 1042-1021 BC or 1042/35-1006 BC King Cheng was young when he ascended the throne...

, with the support of his regent and uncle, the Duke of Zhou, enfeoff
Enfeoffment
Under the European feudal system, enfeoffment was the deed by which a person was given land in exchange for a pledge of service. This mechanism was later used to avoid restrictions on the passage of title in land by a system in which a landowner would give land to one person for the use of another...

ed Weiziqi (微子啟), a brother of Shang Zhou, as the ruler of Wei (微). Shang
Shangqiu
Shangqiu is a city in eastern Henan province, Central China. It borders Kaifeng to the northwest, Zhoukou to the southwest, and the provinces of Shandong and Anhui to the northeast and southeast respectively. An ancient city with a rich history, Shangqiu was also the first capital of the Shang...

 (商), the eponymous first capital of the former Shang dynasty, would become the capital of Weiziqi's state. In time, this territory would become the state of Song, and the descendants of Shang royalty there would maintain rites honoring the dead Shang kings until 286 BC.

Guzhu (孤竹國), located in what is now Tangshan
Tangshan
"唐山"redirects here. For an alternative name of China, see Names of China#TangTangshan is a largely industrial prefecture-level city in Hebei province, People's Republic of China. It has become known for the 1976 Tangshan earthquake which measured 7.8 on the Richter scale and killed at least...

, was formed by another remnant of the Shang, and was destroyed by Duke Huan of Qi. Many Shang clans that migrated northeast after the dynasty's collapse were integrated into Yan
Yan (state)
Yān was a state during the Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods of Chinese history. Its capital was Ji...

 culture during the Western Zhou
Western Zhou
The Western Zhōu period was the first half of the Zhou Dynasty of ancient China. It began when King Wu of Zhou overthrew the Shang Dynasty at the Battle of Muye. C.H...

 period. These clans maintained an elite status and continued practicing the sacrificial and burial traditions of the Shang.

Both Korean and Chinese legends state that a disgruntled Shang prince named Jizi
Jizi
Jizi was a semi-legendary Chinese sage who is said to have ruled Gojoseon in the 11th century BCE. Early Chinese documents like the Book of Documents and the Bamboo Annals described him as a virtuous relative of the last king of the Shang dynasty who was punished for remonstrating the king...

 (箕子), who had refused to cede power to the Zhou, left China with a small army. According to these legends, he founded a state known as Gija Joseon
Gija Joseon
Gija Joseon describes the period after the alleged arrival of Gija in the northwest of Korean peninsula. It was considered by most of the Chinese and the Korean scholars as a part of the Gojoseon period of Korean history...

 in Northwest Korea during the Gojoseon
Gojoseon
Gojoseon was an ancient Korean kingdom. Go , meaning "ancient," distinguishes it from the later Joseon Dynasty; Joseon, as it is called in contemporaneous writings, is also romanized as Chosŏn....

 period of ancient Korean history. However, the historical accuracy of these legends is widely debated by scholars.

Archeology of the Early Bronze Age in the Yellow River valley


During the Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

 (961–1284 AD), scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-bureaucrats
Scholar-officials or Scholar-bureaucrats were civil servants appointed by the emperor of China to perform day-to-day governance from the Sui Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty in 1912, China's last imperial dynasty. These officials mostly came from the well-educated men known as the...

 and the Chinese gentry
Gentry (China)
As used for imperial China, landed gentry does not correspond to any term in Chinese. One standard work remarks that under the Ming dynasty, called shenshi or shenjin, meaning variously degree-holders, literati, scholar-bureaucrats or officials, they are loosely known in English as the Chinese...

 became avid antiquarian
Antiquarian
An antiquarian or antiquary is an aficionado or student of antiquities or things of the past. More specifically, the term is used for those who study history with particular attention to ancient objects of art or science, archaeological and historic sites, or historic archives and manuscripts...

s and collectors of ancient artwork, some claiming to have found Shang Dynasty era bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 vessels with written inscriptions. Despite this, archeologists of the 19th century knew of written records and historical documentations spanning only as far back as the Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

 (1046 BC–256 BC). In 1901, it was found that Chinese pharmacists were selling "dragon bones
Oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...

" marked with curious and arithmaticestics characters. These were finally traced back in 1928 to a site near Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

 in the Yellow River
Yellow River
The Yellow River or Huang He, formerly known as the Hwang Ho, is the second-longest river in China and the sixth-longest in the world at the estimated length of . Originating in the Bayan Har Mountains in Qinghai Province in western China, it flows through nine provinces of China and empties into...

 valley, modern Henan
Henan
Henan , is a province of the People's Republic of China, located in the central part of the country. Its one-character abbreviation is "豫" , named after Yuzhou , a Han Dynasty state that included parts of Henan...

 province, where the Academia Sinica
Academia Sinica
The Academia Sinica , headquartered in the Nangang District of Taipei, is the national academy of Taiwan. It supports research activities in a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from mathematical and physical sciences, to life sciences, and to humanities and social sciences.Academia Sinica has...

 undertook archeological excavation until the Japanese invasion
Second Sino-Japanese War
The Second Sino-Japanese War was a military conflict fought primarily between the Republic of China and the Empire of Japan. From 1937 to 1941, China fought Japan with some economic help from Germany , the Soviet Union and the United States...

 in 1937.

By 1949, remnants of an earlier walled city were discovered near Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou
Zhengzhou , is the capital and largest city of Henan province in north-central China. A prefecture-level city, it also serves as the political, economic, technological, and educational centre of the province, as well as a major transportation hub for Central China...

.
It has been determined that the earth walls at Zhengzhou, erected in the 15th century BC, would have been 20 metres (65.6 ft) wide at the base, rising to a height of 8 metres (26.2 ft), and formed a roughly rectangular wall 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) around the ancient city.
The rammed earth construction of these walls was an inherited tradition, since much older fortifications of this type have been found at Chinese Neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 sites of the Longshan culture
Longshan culture
The Longshan culture was a late Neolithic culture in China, centered on the central and lower Yellow River and dated from about 3000 BC to 2000 BC...

 (c. 3000–2000 BC).

In 1959, the site of the Erlitou culture
Erlitou culture
The Erlitou culture is a name given by archaeologists to an Early Bronze Age urban society that existed in China from 2000 BCE to 1500 BCE. The culture was named after the site discovered at Erlitou in Yanshi, Henan Province...

 was found in Yanshi
Yanshi
Yanshi is a county-level city administered by the prefecture-level city of Luoyang in western Henan province, People's Republic of China. The ancient Erlitou culture existed in the area. Yanshi lies on the Luo River. The ruins the first Shang Dynasty capital, Xibo, are located in Shixianggou...

, south of the Yellow River near Luoyang
Luoyang
Luoyang is a prefecture-level city in western Henan province of Central China. It borders the provincial capital of Zhengzhou to the east, Pingdingshan to the southeast, Nanyang to the south, Sanmenxia to the west, Jiyuan to the north, and Jiaozuo to the northeast.Situated on the central plain of...

. Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating
Radiocarbon dating is a radiometric dating method that uses the naturally occurring radioisotope carbon-14 to estimate the age of carbon-bearing materials up to about 58,000 to 62,000 years. Raw, i.e. uncalibrated, radiocarbon ages are usually reported in radiocarbon years "Before Present" ,...

 suggests that the Erlitou culture flourished ca. 2100 BC to 1800 BC. They built large palaces, suggesting the existence of a dynastic kingdom preceding the Shang, often identified with the Xia Dynasty
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 of traditional histories.

Late Shang at Anyang

The oldest extant direct records date from around 1200 BC at Anyang, covering the reigns of the last nine Shang kings.
The Shang had a fully developed system of writing, preserved on bronze inscriptions and a small number of other writings on pottery, jade and other stones, horn, etc., but most prolifically on oracle bones. The complexity and sophistication of this writing system indicates an earlier period of development, but direct evidence of that development is still lacking.
Other advances included the invention of many musical instruments and observations of Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and various comet
Comet
A comet is an icy small Solar System body that, when close enough to the Sun, displays a visible coma and sometimes also a tail. These phenomena are both due to the effects of solar radiation and the solar wind upon the nucleus of the comet...

s by Shang astronomers.

Their civilization was based on agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 and augmented by hunting
Hunting
Hunting is the practice of pursuing any living thing, usually wildlife, for food, recreation, or trade. In present-day use, the term refers to lawful hunting, as distinguished from poaching, which is the killing, trapping or capture of the hunted species contrary to applicable law...

 and animal husbandry
Animal husbandry
Animal husbandry is the agricultural practice of breeding and raising livestock.- History :Animal husbandry has been practiced for thousands of years, since the first domestication of animals....

.
In addition to war, the Shang also practiced human sacrifice
Human sacrifice
Human sacrifice is the act of killing one or more human beings as part of a religious ritual . Its typology closely parallels the various practices of ritual slaughter of animals and of religious sacrifice in general. Human sacrifice has been practised in various cultures throughout history...

.
Cowry shells
Cowry
Cowry, also sometimes spelled cowrie, plural cowries, is the common name for a group of small to large sea snails, marine gastropod molluscs in the family Cypraeidae, the cowries...

 were also excavated at Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

, suggesting trade with coast-dwellers, but there was very limited sea trade in ancient China since China was isolated from other large civilizations during the Shang period. Trade relations and diplomatic ties with other formidable powers via the Silk Road
Silk Road
The Silk Road or Silk Route refers to a historical network of interlinking trade routes across the Afro-Eurasian landmass that connected East, South, and Western Asia with the Mediterranean and European world, as well as parts of North and East Africa...

 and Chinese voyages to the Indian Ocean did not exist until the reign of Emperor Wu
Emperor Wu of Han
Emperor Wu of Han , , personal name Liu Che , was the seventh emperor of the Han Dynasty of China, ruling from 141 BC to 87 BC. Emperor Wu is best remembered for the vast territorial expansion that occurred under his reign, as well as the strong and centralized Confucian state he organized...

 during the Han Dynasty
Han Dynasty
The Han Dynasty was the second imperial dynasty of China, preceded by the Qin Dynasty and succeeded by the Three Kingdoms . It was founded by the rebel leader Liu Bang, known posthumously as Emperor Gaozu of Han. It was briefly interrupted by the Xin Dynasty of the former regent Wang Mang...

 (206 BC–221 AD).

Court life

At the excavated royal palace of Yinxu
Yinxu
Yinxu is the ruins of the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty. The capital served 255 years for 12 kings in 8 generations.Rediscovered in 1899, it is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China and is one of the historical capitals of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

, large stone pillar bases were found along with rammed earth
Rammed earth
Rammed earth, also known as taipa , tapial , and pisé , is a technique for building walls using the raw materials of earth, chalk, lime and gravel. It is an ancient building method that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek more sustainable building materials and natural building methods...

 foundations and platforms, which according to Fairbank, were "as hard as cement." These foundations in turn originally supported 53 buildings of wooden post-and-beam
Timber framing
Timber framing , or half-timbering, also called in North America "post-and-beam" construction, is the method of creating structures using heavy squared off and carefully fitted and joined timbers with joints secured by large wooden pegs . It is commonplace in large barns...

 construction. In close proximity to the main palatial complex, there were underground pits used for storage, servants' quarters, and housing quarters.

Many Shang royal tombs had been tunneled into and ravaged by grave robbers
Grave robbing
Grave robbery, grave robbing, or tomb raiding is the act of uncovering a tomb or crypt to steal artifacts or personal effects. Someone who engages in this act is a grave robber or tomb raider...

 in ancient times, but in the spring of 1976, the discovery of Tomb 5
Tomb of Fu Hao
The Tomb of Lady Fu Hao is an archaeological site at the ruins of the ancient Shang Dynasty capital of Yin. It was discovered in 1976 and identified as the final resting place of the queen and military general Fu Hao, likely the Lady Hao inscribed on oracle bones by king Wu Ding and one of his...

 at Yinxu revealed a tomb that was not only undisturbed, but one of the most richly lavished Shang tombs that archaeologists had yet come across. With over 200 bronze ritual vessels and 109 inscriptions of Lady Fu Hao
Fu Hao
Fu Hao , posthumously Mu Xin , was one of the many wives of King Wu Ding of the Shang Dynasty and, unusually for that time, also served as a military general and high priestess....

's name, archaeologists realized they had stumbled across the tomb of the militant consort to King Wu Ding
Wu Ding
Wu Ding was a Shang Dynasty King of China.His is the first historically verifiable name in the history of Chinese dynasties...

, as described in 170 to 180 Shang oracle bones. Along with bronze vessels, stoneware
Stoneware
Stoneware is a vitreous or semi-vitreous ceramic ware with a fine texture. Stoneware is made from clay that is then fired in a kiln, whether by an artisan to make homeware, or in an industrial kiln for mass-produced or specialty products...

 and pottery vessels, bronze weapons, jade
Chinese jade
Chinese jade is any of the carved-jade objects produced in China from the Neolithic Period onward. The Chinese regarded carved-jade objects as intrinsically valuable...

 figures and hair combs, and bone hairpins were found. Historian Robert L. Thorp states that the large assortment of weapons and ritual vessels in her tomb correlate with the oracle bone accounts
Oracle bone script
Oracle bone script refers to incised ancient Chinese characters found on oracle bones, which are animal bones or turtle shells used in divination in Bronze Age China...

 of her military career and involvement in Wu Ding's ritual ancestral sacrifices.

The capital was the center of a glittering court life. Over time, court rituals to appease spirits developed, and in addition to his secular duties, the king would serve as the head of the ancestor worship cult. Oftentimes, the king would even perform oracle bone divinations himself, especially near the end of the dynasty. Evidence from excavations of the royal tombs indicates that royalty were buried with articles of value, presumably for use in the afterlife. Perhaps for the same reason, hundreds of commoners, who may have been slave
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

s, were buried alive with the royal corpse.

A line of hereditary Shang kings ruled over much of northern China, and Shang troops fought frequent wars with neighboring settlements and nomadic herdsmen from the inner Asian steppe
Steppe
In physical geography, steppe is an ecoregion, in the montane grasslands and shrublands and temperate grasslands, savannas, and shrublands biomes, characterized by grassland plains without trees apart from those near rivers and lakes...

s. The Shang king, in his oracular divinations, repeatedly shows concern about the fang groups, the barbarians living outside of the civilized tu regions, which made up the center of Shang territory. In particular, the tufang group of the Yanshan
Yan Mountains
The Yanshan or Yan Mountains are a major mountain range north of the North China Plain, in northern Hebei Province.The range rises between the Chaobai River on the west and the famous Shanhai Pass on the east. It is made up mostly of limestone, granite and basalt. Its altitude ranges from 400 to...

 region were regularly mentioned as hostile to the Shang.

Apart from their role as the head military commanders, Shang kings also asserted their social supremacy by acting as the high priests of society and leading the divination ceremonies. As the oracle bone texts reveal, the Shang kings were viewed as the best qualified members of society to offer sacrifices to their royal ancestors and to the high god Di, who in their beliefs was responsible for the rain, wind, and thunder.

Kings

Shang kings are conventionally referred to by posthumous name
Posthumous name
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 during his life...

s, of which the last character is one of the heavenly stems.
The earliest records are the oracle bone
Oracle bone
Oracle bones are pieces of bone normally from ox scapula or turtle plastron which were used for divination chiefly during the late Shang Dynasty. The bones were first inscribed with divination in oracle bone script by using a bronze pin, and then heated until crack lines appeared in which the...

s inscribed during the reigns of the Shang kings from Wu Ding
Wu Ding
Wu Ding was a Shang Dynasty King of China.His is the first historically verifiable name in the history of Chinese dynasties...

.
The oracle bones do not contain king lists, but they do record the sacrifices to previous kings and the ancestors of the current king, which follow a standard schedule.
From this evidence, scholars have assembled the implied king list and genealogy, finding that it is in substantial agreement with the later accounts, especially for later kings in the dynasty.
The kings, in the order of succession derived from the oracle bones, are here grouped by generation:
Generation Older brothers of patriarch Line of descent Younger brothers
17 大乙 Dà Yǐ 
16 大丁 Dà Dīng
Da Ding of Shang
Tai Ding or Da Ding was the eldest son of King Tang but sources are conflicted as to whether he actually succeeded his father as a Shang Dynasty King of China or not....

15 大甲 Dà Jiǎ
Tai Jia
Tai Jia was the son of Tai Ding and a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the fourth Shang king, succeeding his uncles Wai Bing and Zhong Ren...

 
卜丙 Bǔ Bǐng
14 大庚 Dà Gēng
Tai Geng
Tai Geng was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the sixth Shang king, succeeding his older brother Xiao Xin . He was enthroned with Bo as his capital...

 
小甲 Xiǎo Jiǎ
Xiao Jia
Xiao Jia was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the seventh Shang king, succeeding his brother Tai Geng . He was enthroned in the year of Dingsi with Bo as his capital...

13 大戊 Dà Wù
Tai Wu
Tai Wu Tai Wu Tai Wu (Chinese: 太戊, born Zi Mi (Chinese: 子密) or Zi Zhou (Chinese: 子伷), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the ninth Shang king, succeeding his brother Yong Ji (Chinese: 太庚). He was enthroned with Bo (Chinese: 亳) as...

 
呂己 Lǚ Jǐ
Yong Ji
Yong Ji Yong Ji Yong Ji (Chinese: 雍己, born Zi Dian (Chinese: 子佃) or Zi Zhou (Chinese: 子伷), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the eighth Shang king, succeeding his brother Xiao Jia (Chinese: 太庚). He was enthroned in the year of...

12 中丁 Zhōng Dīng
Zhong Ding
Zhong Ding Zhong Ding Zhong Ding (Chinese: 仲丁, born Zi Zhuang (Chinese: 子庄), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the tenth Shang king, succeeding his father Tai Wu (Chinese: 太戊). He was enthroned in the year of Xinchou (Chinese: 辛丑)...

卜壬 Bǔ Rén
Wai Ren
Wai Ren Wai Ren Wai Ren (Chinese: 外壬, born Zi Fa (Chinese: 子發), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the eleventh Shang king, succeeding his brother Zhong Ding (Chinese: 仲丁). He was enthroned in the year of Gengxu (Chinese: 庚戌) with...

11 戔甲 Jiān Jiǎ
He Dan Jia
He Dan Jia He Dan Jia He Dan Jia (Chinese: 河亶甲, born Zi Zheng (Chinese: 子整), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the twelfth Shang king, succeeding his father Wai Ren (Chinese: 外壬). He was enthroned in the year of Gengshen (Chinese:...

 
祖乙 Zǔ Yǐ
Zu Yi
Zu Yi Zu Yi Zu Yi (Chinese: 祖乙, born Zi Teng (Chinese: 子滕), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the thirteenth Shang king, succeeding his Father He Dan Jia (Chinese: 河亶甲). He was enthroned in the year of Jisi (Chinese: 己巳) with Xiang...

 
10 祖辛 Zǔ Xīn
Zu Xin
Zu Xin Zu Xin Zu Xin (Chinese: 祖辛, born Zi Dan (Chinese: 子旦), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the fourteenth Shang king, succeeding his Father Zu Yi (Chinese: 祖乙). He was enthroned in the year of Wuzi (Chinese: 戊子) with Bi...

 
羌甲 Qiāng Jiǎ
Wo Jia
Wo Jia Wo Jia Wo Jia (Chinese: 沃甲, born Zi Yu (Chinese: 子逾), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the fifthteenth Shang king, succeeding his brother Zu Xin (Chinese: 祖辛). He was enthroned in the year of Renyan (Chinese: 壬寅) with Bi...

9 祖丁 Zǔ Dīng
Zu Ding
Zu Ding was a King of China in the early Shang Dynasty . His pre-reign name was Zi Xin .-Sima Qian:In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the sixtteenth Shang king, succeeding his uncle Wo Jia . He was enthroned in the year of Dingwei with Bi as his capital...

 
南庚 Nán Gēng
Nan Geng
Nan Geng Nan Geng Nan Geng (Chinese: 南庚, born Zi Geng (Chinese: 子更), was a Shang Dynasty King of China.In the Records of the Grand Historian he was listed by Sima Qian as the seventeenth Shang king, succeeding his cousin Zu Ding (Chinese: 祖丁). He was enthroned in the year of Bingchen (Chinese: 丙辰)...

8 象甲 Xiàng Jiǎ  盤庚 Pán Gēng
Pan Geng
Pán Gēng was a Shang Dynasty King of China. He is best known for having moved the capital of the Shang Dynasty to Yīn....

 
小辛 Xiǎo Xīn  小乙 Xiǎo Yǐ 
7 武丁 Wǔ Dīng
Wu Ding
Wu Ding was a Shang Dynasty King of China.His is the first historically verifiable name in the history of Chinese dynasties...

 
6 祖庚 Zǔ Gēng  祖甲 Zǔ Jiǎ
Zu Jia
Zu Jia was king of the Shang Dynasty of China. His personal name was . His another name is Di Jia in the book of Guoyu .His capital was at Yin .In the 12th year of his regime, he sent troop to fight Rong people in the west until winter....

 
5 廩辛 Lǐn Xīn
Lin Xin
Lin Xin was king of the Shang Dynasty of China. His name by Bamboo Annals is Feng Xin , another book The Historic People of Han Book also called him Feng Xin.He got his throne in the year of Gengyan . His capital was at Yin ....

康丁 Kāng Dīng
Geng Ding
Geng Ding was a king of the Shang Dynasty of China from c. 1170 BC to c. 1147 BC. His given name is Xiao . He got his throne in the year of Jiawu and his capital was at Yin ....

 
4 武乙 Wǔ Yǐ
Wu Yi (ruler)
Wu Yi was king of the Shang Dynasty of China from 1147 BC to 1112 BC. His given name is Qu .According to Bamboo Annals, His capial was at Yin .One of the vassal Fen moved to Qizhou ....

 
3 文武丁 Wén Wǔ Dīng
Wen Ding
Wen Ding was king of the Shang Dynasty of China from 1112 BC to 1102 BC. Another name Da Ding , and his given name is Tuo .According to Bamboo Annals, His capial was at Yin or Zimou ....

 
2 帝乙 Dì Yǐ
Di Yi
Di Yi or Emperor Yi was king of the Shang Dynasty of China from 1101BC to 1076BC.His name is Xian . His capital was at Yin ....

 
1 帝辛 Dì Xīn

Notes

Bronze working

Chinese bronze casting and pottery advanced during the Shang dynasty, with bronze commonly being used for art rather than weapons.
As far back as c. 1500 BC, the early Shang Dynasty engaged in large-scale production of bronze
Bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

-ware vessels and weapons. This production required a large labor force that could handle the mining, refining, and transportation of the necessary copper
Copper
Copper is a chemical element with the symbol Cu and atomic number 29. It is a ductile metal with very high thermal and electrical conductivity. Pure copper is soft and malleable; an exposed surface has a reddish-orange tarnish...

, tin
Tin
Tin is a chemical element with the symbol Sn and atomic number 50. It is a main group metal in group 14 of the periodic table. Tin shows chemical similarity to both neighboring group 14 elements, germanium and lead and has two possible oxidation states, +2 and the slightly more stable +4...

, and lead
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

 ores. This in turn created a need for official managers that could oversee both hard-laborers and skilled artisans and craftsmen. The Shang royal court and aristocrats required a vast amount of different bronze vessels for various ceremonial purposes and events of religious divination
Divination
Divination is the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic standardized process or ritual...

. Ceremonial rules even decreed how many bronze containers of each type a nobleman or noblewoman of a certain rank could own. With the increased amount of bronze available, the army could also better equip itself with an assortment of bronze weaponry. Bronze was also used for the fittings of spoke
Spoke
A spoke is one of some number of rods radiating from the center of a wheel , connecting the hub with the round traction surface....

-wheeled chariot
Chariot (Ancient China)
The ancient Chinese chariot was used as an attack and pursuit vehicle on the open fields and plains of Ancient China during the Shang The ancient Chinese chariot was used as an attack and pursuit vehicle on the open fields and plains of Ancient China during the Shang The ancient Chinese chariot ...

s, which came into widespread use in China by 1200 BC.

Military

Shang infantry were armed with a variety of stone and bronze weaponry, including máo spears, yuè pole-axes, ge pole-based dagger-axe
Dagger-axe
The dagger-axe is a type of weapon that was in use from Shang dynasty until at least Han dynasty China. It consists of a dagger-shaped blade made of jade , bronze, or later iron, mounted by the tang of the dagger to a perpendicular wooden shaft with a spear point...

s, composite bows, and bronze or leather helmets (Wang Hongyuan 1993). Their western military frontier was at the Taihang Mountains
Taihang Mountains
The Taihang Mountains are a Chinese mountain range running down the eastern edge of the Loess Plateau in Henan, Shanxi and Hebei provinces. The range extends over 400 km from north to south and has an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 meters. The principal peak is Xiao Wutaishan...

, where they fought the ma or "horse" barbarians, who might have used chariot
Chariot
The chariot is a type of horse carriage used in both peace and war as the chief vehicle of many ancient peoples. Ox carts, proto-chariots, were built by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and also built in Mesopotamia as early as 3000 BC. The original horse chariot was a fast, light, open, two wheeled...

s. While the Shang themselves likely only used chariots as mobile command vehicles or elite symbols, they reportedly amassed over a thousand chariots to overthrow the Xia Dynasty.

Although the Shang depended upon the military skills of their nobility, Shang rulers could mobilize the masses of town-dwelling and rural commoners as conscript laborers and soldiers for both campaigns of defense and conquest. Aristocrats and other state rulers were obligated to furnish their local garrisons with all necessary equipment, armor, and armaments. The Shang king maintained a force of about a thousand troops at his capital and would personally lead this force into battle. A rudimentary military bureaucracy was also needed in order to muster forces ranging from three to five thousand troops for border campaigns to thirteen thousand troops for suppressing rebellions against Shang authority.

Contemporaries of Anyang

While written records found at Yin, near modern-day Anyang
Anyang
Anyang is a prefecture-level city in Henan province, People's Republic of China. The northernmost city in Henan, Anyang borders Puyang to the east, Hebi and Xinxiang to the south, and the provinces of Shanxi and Hebei to its west and north respectively....

, confirmed the existence of the Shang dynasty, Western scholars are hesitant to ascribe some settlements contemporaneous with Yin to the Shang dynasty. For example, archaeological findings at Sanxingdui
Sanxingdui
Sanxingdui is the name of an archaeological site and its deduced culture in China, now believed to be the site of an ancient Chinese city. The previously unknown Bronze Age culture was re-discovered in 1987 when archaeologists excavated remarkable artifacts, that radiocarbon dating dated as being...

 suggest the existence of a technologically advanced civilization that was culturally unlike the settlement at Yin. Also unlike the Shang, there is no known evidence that the Sanxingdui culture had a system of writing. The culture at Yin
Yinxu
Yinxu is the ruins of the last capital of China's Shang Dynasty. The capital served 255 years for 12 kings in 8 generations.Rediscovered in 1899, it is one of the oldest and largest archeological sites in China and is one of the historical capitals of China and a UNESCO World Heritage Site...

, and the Shang, thus are generally considered the first verifiable civilization in Chinese history.

The geographical extent of Shang control is difficult to determine due to a lack of archaeological exploration. It is accepted among historians that the city of Yin, ruled by the same Shang dynasty of official history, coexisted and traded with other culturally diverse settlements in North China. Chinese historians living in later periods were accustomed to the notion of one dynasty succeeding another, but the actual political situation in early China may have been more complicated. The Xia
Xia Dynasty
The Xia Dynasty is the first dynasty in China to be described in ancient historical chronicles such as Bamboo Annals, Classic of History and Records of the Grand Historian. The Xia Dynasty was established by the legendary Yu the Great after Shun, the last of the Five Emperors gave his throne to him...

 and the Shang can possibly refer to political entities that existed concurrently, just as the early Zhou
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

, who established the successor state of the Shang, are known to have existed at the same time as the Shang.

Shang influence, though not political control, extended as far northeast as the area of modern Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, where early pre-Yan
Yan (state)
Yān was a state during the Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods of Chinese history. Its capital was Ji...

 material culture shows evidence of Shang influence. At least one burial in this region during the Early Shang period contained both Shang-style bronzes and local-style gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 jewelry. This Shang influence likely made possible the integration of Yan into the later Zhou Dynasty
Zhou Dynasty
The Zhou Dynasty was a Chinese dynasty that followed the Shang Dynasty and preceded the Qin Dynasty. Although the Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than any other dynasty in Chinese history, the actual political and military control of China by the Ji family lasted only until 771 BC, a period known as...

. The discovery of a Chenggu-style ge dagger-axe
Dagger-axe
The dagger-axe is a type of weapon that was in use from Shang dynasty until at least Han dynasty China. It consists of a dagger-shaped blade made of jade , bronze, or later iron, mounted by the tang of the dagger to a perpendicular wooden shaft with a spear point...

 at Xiaohenan demonstrates that even at this early stage of Chinese history, there were some ties between the distant areas of north China.

See also

  • Chinese historiography
    Chinese historiography
    Chinese historiography refers to the study of methods and assumptions made in studying Chinese history.-History of Chinese Historians:Record of Chinese history dated back to the Shang Dynasty. The Classic of History, one of the Five Classics of Chinese classic texts is one of the earliest...

  • Chinese sovereign
    Chinese sovereign
    Chinese sovereign is the ruler of a particular period in ancient China. Several titles and naming schemes have been used throughout history.-Emperor Title:...

  • Chinese mythology
    Chinese mythology
    Chinese mythology is a collection of cultural history, folktales, and religions that have been passed down in oral or written tradition. These include creation myths and legends and myths concerning the founding of Chinese culture and the Chinese state...

  • Erligang culture
    Erligang culture
    The Erligang culture is the term used by archaeologists to refer to a Bronze Age archaeological culture in China. The primary site was discovered at Erligang, just outside of the modern city of Zhengzhou, Henan, in 1951....

  • Historical capitals of China
    Historical capitals of China
    The Chinese phrase Four Great Ancient Capitals of China traditionally refers to Beijing , Nanjing, Luoyang, and Chang'an ....

  • Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project
    Xia Shang Zhou Chronology Project
    The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project was a multi-disciplinary project commissioned by the People's Republic of China in 1996 to determine with accuracy the location and time frame of the Xia Dynasty, the Shang Dynasty and the Zhou Dynasty...


Further reading

  • Timperley, Harold J. The Awakening of China in Archaeology; Further Discoveries in Ho-Nan Province, Royal Tombs of the Shang Dynasty, Dated Traditionally from 1766 to 1122 B.C.. 1936.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
x
OK