Shang dynasty

The Shang dynasty (Chinese: 商朝; pinyin: Shāngcháo), also historically known as the Yin dynasty (殷代; Yīndài), was a Chinese dynasty that ruled in the middle and lower Yellow River valley in the second millennium BC, traditionally succeeding the Xia dynasty and followed by the Zhou dynasty. The classic account of the Shang comes from texts such as the Book of Documents, Bamboo Annals and Records of the Grand Historian. According to the traditional chronology based on calculations made approximately 2,000 years ago by Liu Xin, the Shang ruled from 1766 to 1122 BC, but according to the chronology based upon the "current text" of Bamboo Annals, they ruled from 1556 to 1046 BC. The Xia–Shang–Zhou Chronology Project dated them from c. 1600 to 1046 BC based on the carbon 14 dates of the Erligang site.

Bronze water vessel with coiling dragon pattern, Late Shang Dynasty (c.14th - Mid 11th Century BC).

Shang (Yin)
商 (殷)
c. 1600 BC–c. 1046 BC
This map depicts various advanced, stratified societies that existed during the period of the Shang state.
Capital
Common languagesOld Chinese
Religion
Divination
GovernmentMonarchy
King 
 c. 1675 – 1646 BC
Cheng Tang
 c. 1075 - 1046 BC
King Zhou
LegislatureDynasty
Historical eraBronze Age
 Established
c. 1600 BC
 Zhou conquest
c. 1046 BC
Area
1122 BC est[1]1,250,000 km2 (480,000 sq mi)
Population
 1050 BC est
7,500,000
CurrencyShell money
Shell mussels
Tong Bei
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Xia dynasty
Zhou dynasty
Today part ofChina
Shang
"Shang" in oracle bone script (top left), bronze script (top right), seal script (bottom left), and modern regular (bottom right) Chinese characters
Chinese
Hanyu PinyinShāng
Alternative Chinese name
Chinese殷代
Hanyu PinyinYīndài
Literal meaningYīn era
ANCIENT
Neolithic c. 8500 – c. 2070 BC
Xia c. 2070 – c. 1600 BC
Shang c. 1600 – c. 1046 BC
Zhou c. 1046 – 256 BC
 Western Zhou
 Eastern Zhou
   Spring and Autumn
   Warring States
IMPERIAL
Qin 221–207 BC
Han 202 BC – 220 AD
  Western Han
  Xin
  Eastern Han
Three Kingdoms 220–280
  Wei, Shu and Wu
Jin 266–420
  Western Jin
  Eastern Jin Sixteen Kingdoms
Northern and Southern dynasties
420–589
Sui 581–618
Tang 618–907
Five Dynasties and
Ten Kingdoms

907–979
Liao 916–1125
Song 960–1279
  Northern Song Western Xia
  Southern Song Jin Western Liao
Yuan 1271–1368
Ming 1368–1644
Qing 1636–1912
MODERN
Republic of China on the mainland 1912–1949
People's Republic of China 1949–present
Republic of China in Taiwan 1949–present

The Shang dynasty is the earliest dynasty of traditional Chinese history firmly supported by archaeological evidence. Excavation at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered eleven major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices. Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been found.

The Anyang site has yielded the earliest known body of Chinese writing, mostly divinations inscribed on oracle bones – turtle shells, ox scapulae, or other bones. More than 20,000 were discovered in the initial scientific excavations during the 1920s and 1930s, and over four times as many have been found since. The inscriptions provide critical insight into many topics from the politics, economy, and religious practices to the art and medicine of this early stage of Chinese civilization.[2]