The Shang Dynasty

By Robin Huang, Julia Cummer, Maddie Miner, and Ethan Hayes

Anthropologist: Robin Huang


The Shang Dynasty was one of the first ancient civilizations. The emperors of the Shang Dynasty ruled with a strict but firm hand. They could make beautiful artwork and had a successful way of farming called 'crop rotations'. Also, something unique about the Shang Dynasty civilization was that women were almost equally treated like men, able to have political power.

The Shang Dynasty was quite advanced for their time. They were master potters because of their time. They were master potters because of their abundance of clay between the Yellow and Yangtze rivers, were they had settled down. But there was sometimes flooding because of the area, so they developed irrigation systems to block out the water so the civilization could thrive. The Shang Dynasty also had successful farmers that grew crops of rice millet and kinds of vegetables and hers, and the Shang Dynasty crafted jewelry of jade and weapons of bronze and carvings of ivory and bone. They even made jade figurines to bury people with to honor their memory. The Shang Dynasty civilization could also make instruments like bells, drums and pipes. The Shang Dynasty civilians lived in houses of wood and clay, which was cool in the summers and warm in the winters, with well-established cooking areas. They built chariots of lacquered wood to endure the damage in war against neighbors.

This ancient civilization were also a literate people, too, which wasn't too common back then. The civilization wrote with stencils on bones and tortoise shells. They used pictographs, ideograms and phonographs.

To the people of the Shang Dynasty, religion was very important. They were polytheistic, but the head god of their religion was Shang Ti, like how Zeus was important to the Greeks. He was the heavenly link between the immortals in heaven and mortals on earth. He sent instructions to the people from the gods. The citizens of the Shang Dynasty would try to please him as much as possible, with incenses and offerings, and sometimes human sacrifices. In each house of the Shang Dynasty there would be shrines to the gods, but Shang Ti was the most honored. The Shang Dynasty honored their dead ancestors, too. If not honored properly, the people believed that their families would have to endure strife and hardship. But if honored properly, you would receive good health and fortune.

Historian: Julia Cummer


The Shang Dynasty started with a war, as many civilizations start. Many kings ruled over the land where the Shang Dynasty would soon be, and each wanted to conquer all of the land. War broke out, as not everyone could rule over all that land. One king had a very good army, and clever advisers, so he one the war. He later went on to found the Shang Dynasty. No one remembers his name, because it happened in 1600 B.C., but he was a very important leader. Another important leader was Tang. His rule was the golden age of the Shang Dynasty. He abolished the persecution of people, that had been started by other kings. He was one of the best, while king Zhou was one of the worst. Zhou's rule was at the very end of the dynasty. He tortured people he did not like, and weakened the empire by fighting many pointless wars. At the end of his rule, the Shang Dynasty was taken over by the Zhou, or Wu people, in 1100 B.C. The Wu people lived to the south. The Wu were one of the invaders that attempted to take over the Shang kingdoms, the other being the Mongolians, or Huns, to the north.

Geographer: Maddie Miner


The Shang Dynasty, one of China’s first dynasties, was located near the Yellow, Wei, and Yangzi river, in southeast China. Some of their many capitals were Ao, Anyang, and Yin. The geographic location of this civilization was very important because it allowed for a more mild climate. This climate made it possible to live off the land. For example, they were able to grow crops very easily without many interruptions. Some of the natural resources they were provided with were water, land, clay, and animals. All of these resources were used to benefit their civilization. They used the water to help grow crops on the large amounts of land and to feed themselves as well as the animals. They used the land to grow the crops, and the clay to make things to benefit themselves such as pots, bowls, and plates. Finally, they used the animals for food and transportation.

This dynasty was geographically lucky because they had many natural resources that other places in the world did not have. This civilization was geographically lucky because they were located near water. Water is needed to grow crops, feed animals, and help people. Another reason that this civilization was geographically lucky is because they had a large amount of land . They had more room to grow crops and domesticate animals. What used to be the Shang Dynasty is now part of Bejing, China. This civilization stretched as far north as Shandong province and as far west as Henan province.

Archaeologist: Ethan Hayes


Some of the symbols that The Shang Dynasty had were a horse. The horse was a symbol of speed power and high rank. The tiger was a popular creature to put in your home to ward off bad things from happening. The bird was also a symbol of speed and freedom.

Part of the Shang Dynasty’s legacy was the creation of the kite. The model that they created was made out of bamboo and silk. Now, people love playing with kites, especially at the beach.

The tiger was a popular symbol to ward off any evil spirits and bad fortune. The bird was also important to them, a symbol of power and freedom. If you got a bird statue or painting, that means you were a free man and wouldn’t have to work as long as you want.

The Shang Dynasty was a very complex civilization. They had four different groups of wealth, just like today, with the upper class the middle class and the lower class. This civilization had a huge impact on our life today. Also,. the power of the person could be determined by the size of their house.