Shang Dynasty

Shang is off the chain!1600 B.C.E. to 1122 B.C.E.The Shang Dynasty, although it was long ago, it has a lot of the same structure as modern day China. The way they wrote is similar to modern penmanship, using logo-graphic calligraphy instead of letters. China still uses very large armies to protect their people. Not only was the Shang Dynasty like modern China today but it was also, very successful. The people believed in the oracle bones, or dragon bones, where the king would write inscriptions to tell the luck of the king, weather, and good times to start big projects, such as building. They were the first to create calligraphy, rice farming, and the specialization of jobs. Also they were known for bronze and jade carving, as well as silk weaving. The Shang Dynasty was amazing!


  • Central state government with a king or king's family in power over politics and religion
  • King took decisions by force (life or death), managed wars and very large armies
  • Collected taxes from inhabitants in the form of property, king owned everything


  • Alters, temples, and royal tombs had cities built around them
  • Believed in the spirit world, used a "dragon bone" (oracle bone) to tell inscriptions of the weather, luck of the king, natural disasters, and good times to start projects
  • Sacrifices to the gods were believed to keep the gods happy, sacrificed dogs, humans, and horses as well as food offerings inside a bronze vessel called the Fang Ding Zun


  • Known as the Bronze Age, bronze was used in weapons and religious vessels
  • Most commoners farmed to make money, began specialization of jobs, carving of bronze and jade, cultivating and weaving silk, and making porcelain
  • Trade mostly in the form of bartering and the trade of cowry shells as a form of currency


  • they made crafted magnificent landscape paintings with ink
  • used bronze, and a mixture of copper and tin to make ceremonial weapons
  • other things they made were glass bottles with pictures on the inside
  • people of the Shang dynasty created, their biggest achievement, calligraphy

  • They developed a system of writing that was the foundation of writing Chinese language
  • They also made bronze age vessels, early bronze was similar to present day sheet metal
  • But over time the vessels grew bigger and bigger


  • Social classes mirrored early civilizations, first royalty and noblemen, then warriors, then artisans and merchants, and then slaves.
  • Most people in Shang china were peasants and they were clustered in farming villages.
By Siobhan Kelleher, Erik Kushner, and Jennifer Yee