Map The Shang Dynasty lasted around 5- 600 years, and was ruled by 30 different emperors in its time. It was in the Bronze Age, and took over the previous dynasty using bronze. The Shang Dynasty was only the second dynasty the period, and was not very large.
Background The Shang Dynasty was a very important part of the Chinese history. the Shang Dynasty was created by a rebel king. It was based on agriculture, but there was also some hunting. Their military was fairly strong, and used bronze weapons to fight with. The Shang also sacrificed humans. The civilization practiced ancestor worship, and believed in the afterlife. They formed their own writing system, and they also had some astronomers.
Social Structure The highest person in the Shang Dynasty’s social structure was the king. There were some slaves at the very bottom of the social structure, and nobles were the second highest. They were usually the relatives of the king. The priests were in charge of the religion of the dynasty, and watched over the government. Women were lower than men, and children (usually girls) were sometimes killed if they caused problems. An example social structure.
Housing The majority of the people in the Shang dynasty lived in small farming, and fishing villages while the rich lived in huge cities surrounded by gigantic walls. These huge walls that protected the city were made of mud and sticks. They were about 30 feet high, 65 feet thick and 6kms long. The wall took 18 years to build, and 10 000 people worked on it. The less well off people during this dynasty lived in houses made by dried mud and brick. The doors usually faced south to keep out the north wind. They had dirt floors and almost no furniture.
How the Wealthy The wealthy people in the Shang dynasty lived in large wooden houses similar to these. In their houses, there were wooden floors and some furniture. Their main diet for food was fish, grain products, vegetable and fruit. They lived very close to each other, which let all of the community know each other well. The people wore silk and other expensive materials.
Food The main food for the poor were millet, which is similar to rice. The main diet for everyone was mostly fish. Also, the rich ate other wild animals but hunting Used for crushing grain wasn’t a main source of food and more like a hobby. For special events, people would drink millet ale. The ale was known as wine. If the rich had extra money to spend, they would buy vegetables and fruit. They were not very hard to grow in the Shang dynasty, as it was based upon agriculture.
Family Life The family was one of the Oldest Man most important things in the Shang Dynasty. Loyalty to your family was a very key Man’s Wife part of the culture. The oldest man was the leader of the family, and the younger The children people looked up to their parents. The women were supposed to defer to their A sample Shang husband, and generally be Dynasty family. respectful.
Marriage When a girl was 13-16, their marriage was arranged by their parents. After she was married she would move to her husband’s house. The nobles would marry for political reasons rather than personal. They would create links between two different families or clans. Two people getting married.
Childbirth Practices When a woman finds she is pregnant people thought that everything the woman says and does will influence the unborn child. A pregnant woman reads poetry and doesnt gossip, No speaking gossip laugh loudly or lose her temper. Also, Chinese women will read nice stories before going to sleep. People believed that if a pregnant woman eats food thats not correctly cut, her child will have a deformation. Pregnant women would not be allowed to attend funerals, and to scare away evil sprits Chinese women slept with knives under their beds. The women would usually have the baby in their own house Read nice story before sleeping with only close family.
Childhood The Shang Dynasty worshipped their ancestors, so the children obeyed and looked up to their parents. If you were a girl, you would not be wanted and seen to be a waste. The male children would work on trades such as farming or fishing, and the girls would learn to wash clothes and do other assorted chores. The children of nobles would get better education, and generally have a much better life than the lives of commoners. Chinese children.
Childhood Comparison Equivalent to In the Shang dynasty children were expected to do every thing that their elders told them to do. If the child was a female, they would usually stay in their house doing chores like washing clothes. If the child was male, they would have to farm and fish if they were farmers or fishers and learn to fight if they were warriors. If they had the blood of the king the children could do almost anything they would like inside the walls of their town. Our life is probably the most similar to the relatives to the king because we don’t have to get are own food and we can do a lot of things when we want to.
Education Their was not much schooling in the Shang Dynasty. Nobles would pay tutors to teach their children, but the average child would not be educated. The children who learned would be taught on turtle shells, or bones. They would learn how to do things by being an apprentice to their job of choice. Some of the male children would learn to become warriors and fight in the army, but girls were not given this option. The children would be taught on shells of turtles.
Religion The Shang Dynasty worshipped their ancestors. This later became a main part of Confucianism, and the way China thinks. They would bring offerings to the tombs of their ancestors, but this wasn’t all of their religion. The Shang Dynasty also worshipped gods. The highest god was named Shang Di, Shang Ti or just Di. They believed in gods of specific things and places, such as the god of Earth. Dead kings were thought to have been gods, and their name was preceded by “Di”. An offering to an ancestor would often be a bronze pot.
One God In the Shang dynasty, there were many gods for war, ocean etc. but the main god was Shang Ti/Shang Di. He was the highest god and ruled over heavens and all the other gods. The people of Shang believed that their gods were very powerful and could cause droughts, floods, and plagues. They also thought that the king was from the heavens and was a mortal god, similar to Ancient Egypt.
ClothingThe Shang Dynasty, created the fundamentals of the Hanfu. Hanfu is a wool shoulder to knee fabric. Since the technology was only simple, the only colours that could be used were primary usually red, blue , yellow and green. The hanfu was worn by both men and women, and look almost identical. The higher strata of society of course had more elaborate work and motifs on it even though there were limited colours available. Hanfu
Art, Music The art in the Shang Dynasty was mainly based upon bronze casting. They would make pots and sculptures out of bronze or pottery, and they would also make ritual vessels. They made masks, and rubbings of patterns. The music of the Shang Dynasty also used bronze. They would make bronze bells, and also big bronze drums. Along with ceremonial rites the Shang would sing. It was believed you could communicate with the gods by making music or singing. They would do it as a form of tribute.
Festivals The biggest festival in the Shang Dynasty was Chinese new year. Weeks before the new year, homes would be cleaned thoroughly in preparation for the holiday. The new year marks the end of winter and the start of the new year. In the new year, people give small amounts of money in red envelopes (lucky money) to each other for good luck for the year. People who pray wish for things like good wealth for the year, good farming, and successful war.
Conclusion The Shang dynasty was only the second dynasty in its time but it is still one of the most important dynasties. They added a lot to the culture of China, and also to the world as a whole. One thing that changed China forever was the first Chinese writing system. The Shang dynasty has probably changed the world for ever and is history that will never be changed.
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Picture Bibliography Ceramic pot - http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosemania/3267207063/sizes/m/in/pho tostream/ Stone knife - http://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/4337754798/sizes/m/in/photo stream/ Another pot - http://www.flickr.com/photos/inyucho/4394400259/sizes/m/in/photos tream/ Pot -http://www.history-of-china.com/shang-dynasty/the-bronze-of- shang.html Rubbing - http://www.chinaknowledge.de/History/Myth/shang- arts.html Chinese marriage - http://news.alibaba.com/gallery/detail/business- in-schina/100015580-3-chinese-marriage-customs.html