19 Facts About Shang Dynasty


The classic account of the Shang Dynasty comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian.

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Excavation at the Ruins of Yin, which has been identified as the last Shang Dynasty capital, uncovered eleven major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices.

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Many events concerning the Shang dynasty are mentioned in various Chinese classics, including the Book of Documents, the Mencius and the Zuo Zhuan.

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Shang Dynasty's history describes some events in detail, while in other cases only the name of a king is given.

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In Japan and Korea, the Shang are still referred to almost exclusively as the Yin dynasty.

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Di Xin, the last Shang Dynasty king, is said to have committed suicide after his army was defeated by Wu of Zhou.

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Between 1989 and 2000, an important Shang Dynasty settlement was excavated near Xiaoshuangqiao, about 20 km northwest of Zhengzhou.

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Also unlike the Shang Dynasty, there is no known evidence that the Sanxingdui culture had a system of writing.

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The Shang Dynasty 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.

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Line of hereditary Shang Dynasty kings ruled over much of northern China, and Shang Dynasty troops fought frequent wars with neighboring settlements and nomadic herdsmen from the inner Asian steppes.

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Apart from their role as the head military commanders, Shang Dynasty kings asserted their social supremacy by acting as the high priests of society and leading the divination ceremonies.

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The degree to which shamanism was a central aspect of Shang Dynasty religion is a subject of debate.

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Shang Dynasty believed that their ancestors held power over them and performed divination rituals to secure their approval for planned actions.

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Shang Dynasty seem to have believed in an afterlife, as evidenced by the elaborate burial tombs built for deceased rulers.

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Shang Dynasty infantry were armed with a variety of stone and bronze weaponry, including mao spears, yue (?) pole-axes, ge (?) pole-based dagger-axes, composite bows, and bronze or leather helmets.

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Recent archaeological finds have shown that the late Shang Dynasty used horses, chariots, bows, and practiced horse burials that are similar to the steppe peoples to the west.

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Oracle bone inscriptions suggest that the Shang Dynasty used chariots in royal hunts and in battle only as mobile command vehicles.

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The Shang Dynasty king maintained a force of about a thousand troops at his capital and would personally lead this force into battle.

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Shang Dynasty kings were referred to in the oracle bones by posthumous names.

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