The Shang Dynasty ruled China for many years until they were defeated by the Zhou clan around 1200 to 1000 B.C. which is where it appears on the Bible Timeline with World History. When the Zhou Dynasty took over China they altered the political, social and religious institutions. The Zhou created a piece of legislation called the “Mandate of Heaven” which gave them the right to rule the former Shang society. They used this legislation to change the different parts of the culture including the architecture. The Zhou rulers wisely left most of the Shang architecture in place, but they made some adjustments on the major political, social and religious structures that reflected their style of rule.
When the Zhou took over they instituted a feudal-like system where the emperor ruled the whole entire land and Lords were instated in a fashion that was similar to kings and nobles during the middle ages. There were other classes of people which included the warriors, commoners and slaves. The Emperor ruled the land from his palace and their empire was constructed as a walled city since warfare was a common practice during this time period. The Lords allowed the commoners to work the land in the form of farming. Their farms consisted of nine plots of land arranged in nine even squares. This arrangement was to taken after the Chinese character or letter “Jing”. The middle plot was to be grown for the purpose of taxation. Many of the commoners lived in huts or houses made out of wood and they also existed in structures that were constructed from brick and stone. Many of the storage bins, walls and towers in the villages were constructed from these materials as well.
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When the Zhou built their cities they gridded them on a parallel pattern that allowed nine blocks to cross each other. This way they had could control the movement of people and carts within the city. This was also done for the purpose of protection. As with most cities, the administration district was located within the center parts of the town and the emperor’s palace was situated inside of the city instead of being located away from the main metropolitan area. The Zhou used this method in order to administer the empire more effectively and to keep order and civility within the empire. The emperor’s palace was constructed with stone, brick and mortar. The Zhou continued to use the same building techniques and styles as the Shang but once again they made a few changes.
Both the Shang and the Zhou Dynasties ruled China during the Bronze Age. Many Bronze Age constructions in China were erected with tools and equipment that allowed the workers to effectively construct and manufacture the buildings. Throughout the later Zhou period, when the Eastern Zhou split from their western counterparts the construction techniques and styles remained unchanged. Many of the brick and stone constructions that survived from the Zhou period still remain in modern day China. Though most of these structures were left over from the Shang Dynasty the Zhou’s influence can still be seen in these buildings, temples and palaces.