Shang Dynasty

The Shang Dynasty (Chinese: 商朝; pinyin: Shāng cháo) or Yin Dynasty (Chinese: 殷代; pinyin: Yīn dài), according to traditional historiography, ruled in the Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, succeeding the Xia Dynasty and followed by the Zhou Dynasty. The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Classic of History, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based upon calculations by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled between 1766 BC and 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the Bamboo Annals, they ruled between 1556 BC and 1046 BC. The results of the Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project place them between 1600 BC and 1046 BC.

Archaeological work at the Ruins of Yin (near modern day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, 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, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been obtained. The workmanship on the bronzes attests to a high level of civilization.

The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.

Read more about Shang Dynasty:  Traditional Accounts, Early Bronze Age Archaeology, Late Shang At Anyang, Kings

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