The Shang Dynasty By: Bailey and Adele English I- Louise S. McGehee School 2005
Description of the Shang Dynasty and their Civilization • The Shang dynasty lasted from 1523 to 1027 BC. • Records show the Shang dynasty is the earliest Chinese dynasty. • Their civilization was made up of towns that were ruled under one ruler. • The houses where made out of mud and wooden beams. • The houses where rectangle shaped. • People who lived within the city lived in cellars and pits. • In the villages they harvested wheat, millet, and barley. • They used a “well-field system,” which is a nine field system (Sharpe). • Using this “well-field system” helped the Shang produce crops more efficiently because the fields were more nutritious.
Art (“The Great Bronze Age of China.”) • The time period of art and culture during the Shang Dynasty is called the Bronze Age. • During the Bronze age men learned how to make weapons and valuables from bronze and other metals. • The Bronze age began in 1700 B.C. along the Yellow River. • The Bronze age was also a “revolution” for art during the time of the Shang Dynasty. Many people began making art from bronze and jade. • During The Bronze Age kings believed that ruling was based on religion. • Since the rulers believed that ruling was based on religion, most kings turned to their ancestors for help and guidance. • Society during the Bronze Age was similar to society in medieval Europe. • Society was similar because it has social classes such as peasants, kings, and high priests.
Culture • The Shang Dynasty was the first dynasty to invent a writing system and an alphabet. • The first calendar was invented during the time of the Shang Dynasty. • The calendar and writing system are the main reasons that the Shang Dynasty had an influence on China. ( “Picture of Jade Artifact”)
(“Shang Dynasty.”) The gray area shown below is the area in which the Shang Dynasty was settled.
Religion The people of the Shang Dynasty worshiped the “Shang Ti.” This religion was primarily based on ancestor worship. The ancestor worship later became the base of present day Chinese religion, Confucianism. Sacrifices were often made because of the Shang’s religious beliefs. They were made for special occasions or deaths of important people. The Shang people would also incorporate ancient oracle bones into their religions because they were thought of as good luck. (“Picture of Oracle Bone”)
Cool Facts! • The Shang had a writing system with over 3,000 symbols (“The Shang Dynasty”). • The average citizen during the Shang Dynasty usually raised pigs, dogs, sheep, oxen, or silk worms (“The Shang Dynasty”). • The people during the Shang Dynasty discovered oracle bones, which were ancient bones blessed by priests. • Priests would try to predict the future using oracle bones by writing a question, creating a hole in the bone, and waiting to see if the bone cracked. If the bone cracked, that usually meant something bad would happen (“The Shang Dynasty”). • The Shang dynasty declined because of some bad kings (“The Shang Dynasty”). • Their main achievements were math, science, and mastering the art of bronze (“The Shang Dynasty”).
Works Cited Greenhalg, Michale. “Shang House.” Shang Dynasty. 2004. Vandyck. 4 January 2005. http://vandyck.anu.edu.au/work/teach/context/faculty-web.at.nwu.edu/art-history/fraser/b40/F1040/F-1040-012.JPEG “Picture of Oracle Bone.” Ancient China. Ed. Ellie Crystal. 10 January 2005. http://www.crystalinks.com/index.html “Picture of Jade Artifact.” The Jade Trade. 2004. 4 January 2005. http://www.thejadetrade.com/ian/images/shanggod1.jpg “Shang Dynasty.” Ancient China. 2004. Minnesota State University. 4 January 2005. http://www.mnsu.edu/emuseum/prehistory/china/ancientchina/shang.html “The Great Bronze Age of China.” Asia For Educators. 2004. Colombia University. 4 January 2005. http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/china/art/tch_brnz.htm#The%20Bronze%20Age “The Shang Dynasty.” Early China. 1996. North Park University Chicago. 4 January 2005. http://campus.northpark.edu/history/WebChron/China/Shang.html “The Shang Dynasty.” Lycos Search Engine. Tripod. 5 January 2005. http://members.tripod.com/~jonbyrdjonbyrd/shang.html “The Shang.” World Civilizations. 1999. Washington State University. 4 January 2005. http://www.wsu.edu/~dee/ANCCHINA/SHANG.HTML