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China – Shang dynasty, High Degree of Civilization in

The China Shang Dynasty also referred to as the Yin Dynasty, began in the 2nd millennium BC  (where it is listed on the Bible Timeline Chart) and ruled in China’s Yellow River. Accounts of this dynasty were discovered from various texts including the Records of the Grand Historian and Classic of History. Research and archaeological explorations at the Yin’s ruins, which was Shang’s last capital, found 11 royal tombs and the foundations of ritual sites and palaces. Also, some weapons of war were discovered, as well as remains of human and animal sacrifices made during that era. There was also a vast amount of artifacts made of jade, bronze, ceramic and stone that were uncovered. The intricate craftsmanship of the Bronze artifacts reveals the high level of civilization in this dynasty.

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‘Oracle bones pit at Yin Anyang, Yinxu. China’

Archaeological studies made at the Anyang or Yin site showed evidence of early Chinese writing, and oracle bones such as ox scapulae and turtle shells were used to inscribe various texts. Several inscriptions that were discovered gave valuable insight into different topics during China’s early phase of civilization. These topics related to the dynasty’s religion, economy and politics. According to Chinese classics such as the Mencius and Book of Documents, there were several events that pertained to the dynasty. Sima Qian, a great historian of the Han dynasty, provided a chronological account of the events that transpired during the Shang dynasty, as included in the Records of the Grand Historian. There were several events described and narrated in detail, although, in some accounts, only the king’s name was presented. Sima Qian used “Yin” as the name for the dynasty. In fact, this name was quite popular as a term provided for the Shang, and it is also used to describe the last portion of this dynasty. In the Annals of Yin by Sima Qian, the dynasty’s founder was presented, which was Xie or Qi. In the text, he was conceived miraculously by Jiandi, who was Emperor Ku’s wife. It happened a black bird dropped an egg, which was caught and swallowed by Jiandi.

‘a black bird dropped an egg, which was caught and swallowed by Jiandi.’

In Qian’s accounts, the dynasty was only founded about 13 generations later after Tang, who was the descendant of Xie, successfully defeated Xia’s last and great ruler in the Mingtiao Battle. Moreover, the records stated that the capital of Shang was moved 5 times. The last move to Yin was made during the rule of Pan Geng, who also established the dynasty’s golden age.

Di Xin, who was the dynasty’s last ruler, was believed to have committed suicide after his army’s defeat. The army lost after his slaves betrayed him during the final battle between the Shang and the Zhou.

Upon the defeat of the Shang, Wu Geng, the son of Di Xin, was given a chance to rule the Shang, although it was only intended as a vassal kingdom. When Zhou Wu died, the Shang decided to fight against Zhou’s great Duke. However, Shang lost, and Zhou remained in control of the dynasty’s territory.

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