Museum of Chinese Art and Ethnography Xaverian Missionaries - V.le S. Martino, 8 - Parma, Italy 0521-257.337

Shang Dynasty

1600-1046 BC


Instrument "ge", dagger, ax, sickle or knife - Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC)
"Ge", dagger, ax, sickle or knife  
Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC)  

The Shang Dynasty ruled over northeastern China, in the Yellow River valley, from 1600 BC 1046 BC. Though these are still approximate dates, a sufficient number of archaeological findings (bronzes, oracle bones, tortoise shells) speak of the development of this dynasty founded by the commander Shang Tang who defeated Mingtiao, the last ruler of the Xia Dynasty.

The findings on the Shang Dynasty (see the shells of Cypraea, Anyang, Henan) help understand the political, economic, religious and cultural heritage of these populations, perhaps descendants of Neolithic Longshan culture, who settled in the valley of the Yellow River. The interpretation of the inscriptions on bones and tortoise shells, and on funerary bronzes found in the tombs of the royal family, show how the dynasty had reached a high level of civilization.

In fact, the Shang dynasty had developed a complex system of writing, were skillful in bronze casting, and the production of pottery vessels was fairly widespread. The population was engaged in mining, transportation and refining of copper, tin and lead. Moreover, at this time there is the development of jade objects for religious rites, and of silk.

More than a dynasty, the Shang state was a confederation of tribes and fiefdoms united by religious and military power by the Shang kings, forming the nucleus of future dynasties.



Shang Dynasty
1600 - 1046 BC