Tang-Shang Dynasty

The Shang dynasty, also called Yin Dynasty, is the second dynasty of the three Dynasties period. It followed the Xia dynasty. The Dynastic era reigned in the northeast section of China proper. The Shang Dynasty was in the middle of China’s Bronze Age and had a great influence on Chinese civilization. It is found on the Bible Timeline starting in 1675 BC. The Dynasty was founded by a great rebel leader, King Tang or Tang 0f Shang, who dethroned the Xia Dynasty ruler, Jie, in 1675 BC.

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Map of Shang Dynasty from Bamboo Annals

During King Tang’s time, the agriculture of the dynasty was progressive and the territory expanded into Qiang and Di in the west side. The Dynasty prospered quickly and grew rapidly.  Shang dynasty’s economy was based mainly on agriculture, hunting and animal husbandry. From the 11th Emperor until the 19th Emperor, there were numerous problems. The crown passed to brothers and relatives of the emperor, and the capital of Shang was moved many times. The Shang Dynasty began to fail. Liegeman didn’t go to court any longer.

During the time of the twentieth emperor of Shang named Pangeng, the capital of Shang was moved to Yin, which is Xiaotun Village in Anyang City and known today as Henan Province. The Dynasty lasted for over 600 years and was led by 30 different emperors.

Shang Dynasty Religion

During the Shang Dynasty, the supreme god was called “Di” or “Shang Di.” He leads the minor gods of the Sun, Rain, Moon and other natural powers and places. The uppermost God was the one who send down disaster and fortune like diseases, drought and flood on Shang’s people. They also worshiped their deceased kings, and they named them with the title of di like Di Tang. Because they believed that even though their kings were in heaven after death, they were still involved in activities of their family and posterity.

Oracle bones were used by the recent kings to communicate with their ancestors or the deceased kings. They regularly offered sacrifices to them. The sacrifices were mainly animals. They use sacrifices to communicate and ask their ancestors or gods for help, and they also fed their gods to keep them tough and strong. Burial customs during the Shang period included burying the treasures of important people with them. They also buried some individuals along with them, primarily those who had been captured during the battles. These individuals were human sacrifices during burial. The burying of lower-ranked people reflected the Shang’s belief that the king’s relatives by blood or service in life would continue that same relationship in death.

Shang technology

The oldest Chinese writing is known to be the Oracle Bone inscription that was used during the time of the Shang Dynasty. Shang contributed to the development of the Chinese writing system still in use today.  Shang also used the bronze inscriptions that were short and were not as popular as the oracle bone inscriptions. During the Bronze Age of China when the Shang Dynasty existed, bronze represented power, wealth and luxury. Only those who had power in the kingdom had access to using bronze. The Shang bronzes had two uses; weapons for the army and ceremonial containers for food and wine. Shang Bronze totally transformed the way the Shang armies fought against their enemies. The bronze weapons gave the Shang army an advantage over their enemies. The weapons they created from bronze were the harpoon, bow and chariot.

The End of Shang

The Shang Dynasty ended when Zhou invaders conquered the capital of the Shang Dynasty during 1050 BCE. Zhou invaders said they were able to defeat Shang Dynasty for an ethical reason. Zhou conquerors said that the heavens wouldn’t allow him to rule because he was evil. They blamed the Shang’s King liberal lifestyle including drinking and unethical actions for the downfall of the Shang Dynasty.

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