February 20, 2010

The Shang Dynasty (1750-1085 BCE)

At one time, the capital city was Ao, but changed many times. At Ao, a wall was constructed by laborers and took twenty years to complete. It was 33 ft high. At another capital, Yin, there ware lavish tombs, bronze foundaries, artisan's shops and royal palaces.

The Shang dynasty had bronze metallurgy which allowed them to take over the previous dynasty, the Xia. This was because the rulers controlled the bronze and didn't allow others access to it. This dynasty was primarily under military rule and may have had over 10,000 troops.

Oracle bones were like the ancient Chinese version of a magic 8 ball. They answered questions with two possible answers such as "Should the emperor do this or that?". Based upon where a heated bone would crack, the answer written on that side of the bone would be interpreted as correct. The bones did not have spells written on them.

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