The Shang Dynasty

1765-1112 B.C.E.

By Ryan Moorhead

Politics

Legend says that Tang the Successful, the first Shang leader, defeated and evil king who did not care about his people. This started the Shang dynasty. The Shang kept the government traditional and assigned local leaders to provinces. The Shang had a powerful army with bronze weapons and chariots. There was a flaw in the Shang government. The leaders focused more on religion than government. Eventually, the leaders began to ignore the needs of the poor. The Shang dynasty ended when a tribe, called the Zhou, rebelled against the government.
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The Shang dynasty at its greatest extent.

Economics

The economy of the Shang dynasty was mostly based on bronze tools, crops, and livestock. Local leaders and kings ruled China. Artisans made tools and weapons out of bronze. Farmers grew millet and rice. They also raised pigs, cattle, sheep, and dogs. Before coins, seashells were used as currency. There was not very much trade between China and other areas. There was only trade within towns, and provinces.
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Seashells were used as currency.

Inventions/ Technology/ Science and Architecture

The Shang dynasty, being the first official dynasty did not have very many inventions. They did have a few. The major ones were bronze and the Chinese script. They were also early users of the chariot and spoked wheel, originally from central Asia. They lived in rows of houses with rectangular roofs. They had temples that had circular roofs to worship heaven and square roofs to worship earth.
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This is a traditional temple.

Religion/ Culture/ Social Life

The Shang's biggest priority in life was religion. They believed that they must please a god named Di. If he was happy, he would send good fortune and if he was mad, he would send bad luck. The Shang made beautiful pottery and altar sets to worship Di. The Shang had a few instruments such as bells and cymbals. They had a few works of literature. City life was bustling. Men worked while women took care of the house and children. The Shang dynasty had a spring harvest festival which is basically the same as Chinese new year.
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This is an Altar set used for worshipping Di.