The Shang dynasty

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The Shang Dynasty
By Marta, Ani, Jeramiah, and Sakib
The Shang Dynasty
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Is one of the earliest Dynasty’s of China
Ruled around the area of the Huang He
Started in the 1700 – 1122 B.C.E.
Often fought against other Clans
Considered to be a myth to western foreigners
Might’ve been the 1st Chinese to learn how to write.
Government
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Led by a powerful king who controlled the the land.
The king set up smaller kingdoms under his younger brothers
and nephews.
Sometimes a son or a younger brother inherited the kingdom.
Depended to strong armies.
Engaged in almost constant war to defend and expand their
kingdoms.
Captured prisoners to use as laborers and human sacrifices.
Armies: foot soldiers, archers, cavalry riding horses, and
elephants, and fighters in chariots.
Social Structure
There were six social classes in the Shang Dynasty
 The first was the king and his relatives
 The nobles:
~ Fought in the kings armies.
~ Provided weapons, foot soldiers, and chariots.
 The craftspeople:
~ Small social class.
~ Bronze and Jade workers, Potters, and stonemasons.
~ Lower status than nobles but high status than farmers
~ Made weapons used by Shang warriors.
~ Made containers and ornaments for religious ceremonies.
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The traders
~ Ranked below nobles but above farmers – just like the craftsmen.
~ Mostly traded goods.
~ But used cowrie shells, a type of seashell as money.
~ Traded with neighboring regions.
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Social Structure
The traders
~ Ranked below nobles but above farmers – just like the craftsmen.
~ Mostly traded goods.
~ But used cowrie shells, a type of seashell as money.
~ Traded with neighboring regions.
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The Farmers
~ Largest social class.
~ Worked on small plots of land, grew millet, wheat, barley, rice, fruit, vegetables, and nuts.
~ Did not own the land they farmed.
~ The land was under control of either the king or the nobles.
~ Kept only enough crops to feed themselves and their families, and they gave the rest to the nobles who sent some to
the king.
~ The farmers used simple tools such as: wooden sticks, stone-tipped hoes, and stone knives and scythes.
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And last the slaves
~ Very bottom of the Shang society.
~ Had often been captured in wars.
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~ Spent their lives building tombs and palaces.
~ When their masters died they got sacrificed.
Religion
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Shang believed that dead ancestors had a life after death
It was important to honor ancestors and give them food and
wine
A king’s relationship to the ancient spirit was very important
Kings used oracle bones to ask their ancestors for advice and
when to hunt
Writing
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The Shang used a type of writing called logograph
Logographs are characters that stand for words
They had inscription on oracle bones (that kings used)
Before the Shang invented logographs, they only used
pictograph which were pictures representing something they
wanted to say
Although the Shang people spoke different languages in
different places, the people from the upper class all used the
same form of writing
Because of the written language, the Shang had a better way
of communicating
The Arts
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The Shang artists were very good when working
with bronze
Craftspeople made beautiful vessels
The vessels had either geometry or mythical
creatures
They made many animal masks. The most common
one was a taotie
The Shang also made very beautiful jade pieces
They believed the quality of jade represented a
superior person and the hardness of jade stood for
good wisdom
Technology
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Working with bronze.
Used bronze to make many tools of war.
Arrowheads, spearheads, ax heads, and helmets.
^ One of the reasons why they were able to remain
in power for more than 500 years.
The Fall of the Shang Dynasty
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Fighting many wars weakened the military power.
The king and nobles spent so much money on
palaces, furnishings, clothing and tombs, and
spending weakened the economy.
The last king did pleasurable activities instead of
looking after his people.
1045 B.C.E: A frontier state called Zhou (joh) rose
up against the dynasty.
Zhou armies caught the Shang unaware, defeating
and overthrowing them.
And now A Trivia!
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Approximately how long did the Shang dynasty
rule?
Who inherited the kingdom?
What were the 6 social classes of the Shang
dynasty?
How did the kings ask their ancestors for advice?
What was the type of writing they used?
Name one of their tools that they used as weapons.
Who took over the Shang Dynasty?
THE END!
Hope you learned something interesting!
Bibliography For Pictures…
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http://www.chinatownconnection.com/images/shan
gdynasty.jpg
http://www.artsmia.org/art-ofasia/history/images/maps/china-shang.gif
http://www.thejaderoad.com/html/images/shangg
od1.jpg
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