Shang Dynasty Essay

336 WordsAug 8, 20122 Pages
Keightley, David N. “The Shang: China’s First Historical Dynasty.” From the Origins of Civilization to 221 B.C.. Eds. Michael Loewe and Edward L. Shaughnessy. Cambridge University Press, 1999. Cambridge Histories Online. Cambridge University Press. July 24th, 2012. DOI:10.1017/CHOL9780521470308.006 Keightley contends that the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1570-1045 B.C.) was the first to have left behind written records and solid archaeological evidence of its existence. Through the Shang’s written records Keightley asserts that for the first time, one can describe in confidence the Chinese civilization. Aspects such as their political system, art forms, DIs (high Gods), religious practices, Ancestors, Tablet & Temples, rituals of their society, diet & agriculture and even warfare could now be learned through written records known as oracle-bone inscriptions and Bronze inscriptions. The oracle-bone inscriptions as described by Keightley were made on the back of a turtle shell or cattle scapula. The process first started by applying intense heat to hollows bored into the shell or scapula. This intense heat would cause the shell or scapula to crack. The Shang would then through a Diviner interpret the resultant stress cracks as either auspicious or inauspicious. The Diviner then inscribed into the bone or shell the predictions of the future based on the forecast of the King. These predictions normally applied to their upcoming events such as whether a harvest would be successful, childbearing, weather forecasts, and warfare. Keightley goes on to describe the many interesting attributes of the Shang Dynasty that he discovered from multiple sources that had studied, interpreted, and published their findings from oracle-bone and Bronze inscriptions. He uses this information to explain the five ritual cycle and the evolving religious conceptions. He also discusses

More about Shang Dynasty Essay

Open Document