China

The Shang Period, 1750-1045 B.C.E

Art
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Spouted ritual wine vessel (guang), Shang dynasty, early Anyang period (ca. 1300–1050B.C.), 13th centuryB.C.
Possibly Anyang, Henan Province, China
Bronze
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Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Spring and Autumn period (770–ca. 475 B.C.), early 5th century B.C. China Bronze

Bell, Eastern Zhou dynasty, late Spring and Autumn period (770–ca. 475B.C.), early 5th centuryB.C.
China
Bronze
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Buffalo, late Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1050B.C.), 13th–11th centuryB.C.
China
Jade (nephrite)
9. major advances in the arts
Social
  • Cities
    • Shang cities are not well preserved in the record because of the climate and the building materials used. The buildings were constructed with wooden posts and dried mud. Cities served as centers of political control and religion.
    • The common people lived in agricultural villages outside these centers. 1.Cities as administrative centers
  • Writing Systems
    • Characters were originally pictures of objects that become simplified over time, with each character representing a one-syllable word for an object or ideas 6. system of records (writing)
  • Gender roles
    • The authority of the family belongs to the father. The father always arranges the marriages for his daughters, controls the amount of education received by the children and chooses the career for his sons.
    • The mother occupies a subordinate postion in the family and they are unable to own their own property.
  • Written documents (oracle bones)
    • Shang rulers used the shoulder bones of cattle and the bottom shells of turtles to obtain information from ancestral spirits and gods.
    • The writing concerns the king, his court, and religious practices.
    • the introduction starts from 0:50
    • p72.gif220px-Oracle_bones_pit.jpgoracle bones pit at Yin
Political
  • Historical facts
    • Shang succeeded Xia and became the second dynasty in Chinese history
    • Historical era: 1600–1046 BC
    • Population: 13.7 million
    • The Shang dynasty was founded by a rebel king: Tang of Shang
    • Capital:yinThe site of Yin, the capital (1350–1046 BC) of the Shang Dynasty, also called Yin Dynasty.
  • Elite
    • The Shang Elite were a warrior class reveling in warfare, hunting, exchanging gifts, feasting, and drinking.
    • 4. status distinctions based largely on accumulation of substantial wealth by some groups
  • King
    • The King had supreme power over everything else. He was both the political leader as well as the religious leader. The King along with the aristocrats and bureaucrats directed the life and work of the peasants and serfs
Religious
  • Afterlife
    • The tombs contain the bodies of family members, servants, and prisoners of war who were killed at the time of the burial. It appears that the objects and people were intended to serve the main occupant of the tomb in the afterlife.
  • God and King
    • The supreme god: Di
    • The Worship of ancestors was very important
    • King is the crucial link between Heaven and Earth: this belief has been an extremely effective rationale for authoritarian rule.
Intellectual/Tech
  • Warfare: People fought with bronze weapons and rode into battle on horse-drawn chariots.
  • Inventions:
    • invention of many musical instruments and observations of Mars and various comets by Shang astronomers.
  • Bronze
    • A method of casting bronze using multiple ceramic molds was invented.
    • The method required time and precision and the control of the raw materials, labor and technology: prerogatives of the ruling elites.
    • 8. major advances on science
Trade/Econ
  • Agriculure
    • The Yellow river valley and the Yangzi river valley
    • North: milllet and wheat
    • South: rice
  • Trade
    • Cowry shells were excavated at Anyang, 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.
  • Economy
    • The serfs and slaves performed all economic funtions of society
    • The asrtisans formed another group of economic structure 3. many people engaged in specialized, non-food producing activities

    • Main income came from farming or the harvest of crops
Environment
  • Geography
    • China is isolated by formidable natural barriers
    • Most of East Asia is covered with mountains, making overland travel and transport difficult.
    • The great river system -- Yellow River and Yangzi Rivers facilitate east-west movement and support agriculture
  • Climate
    • Because of the diversity of environments, each region developed distinctive patterns for land uses, the kinds of crops grown, and the organization of agricultural labor.
    • Chinese civilization developed in averse conditions on the northern plains and gradually moved toward the warmer southern lands.
    • Loess: winds blowing from Central Asia and deposit a yellowish-brown dust
  • Map
    • shang-dynasty-map1.jpg2. a political system based on control of a defined territory rather than a kinship connection




Additional information
1. Define civilization
5. monumental architecture
7. long distance trade
All the others except for number five and seven fullfilled the requirements of a civilization. Although many palaces were built in Shang dynasty, historians can't find any traces since all the palaces were built using wood. Shang dynasty was isolated to the others. As the result, there was no long distance trade. However, farmers did cultivate the silkworm and silk later became Chinese main export.

2. The evolution of Chinese characters (started from the oracle bones)
chinese_scrips.gif