shang dynasty social classes
[18] [1] More recently discovered archaeological sites far away from the Yellow River valley reveal distinctly different cultures from the Shang, and scholars are now trying to determine how much these cultures influenced each other. Rights Reserved. Top Answer. The oracle bone inscriptions and the bronze inscriptions mark the beginning of written Chinese history. The people of the Shang state were skilled potters and produced glazed fired clay vessels. [1] The legend of the founding of China's first dynasty demonstrates the importance of bronze to the ancient Chinese: After King Yu of the Xia brought the primordial floods under control, in about 2200 B.C., he divided his land into nine provinces, and had nine ding (food cauldrons) cast to represent them. [1] [3], Oracles written on tortoise shells serve as the earliest evidence of the development of a writing system in China. Having a written lanuage helped to unify the Chinese people. [9], What type of social structure existed in Ancient China? [19] The merchants, traders, and peddlers of goods were viewed by the scholarly elite as essential members of society, yet were placed on the lowest of the four grades in the official Chinese social hierarchy, due to the view that they do not produce anything, only profit from others' creations. [17], At the top of the social hierarchy was the King, followed closely by the aristocracy/nobility, which often included members of the landed military elite. [10] While scholars still debate whether the Xia Dynasty actually existed, there is little doubt that the Shang Dynasty existed. 1)They developed and origionated what is now known today as Chinese manuscript 2)The Shang also passed down the political system known as a heirarchy. [13] [19] Citizens of the Shang Dynasty were classified into four social classes: the king and aristocracy, the military, artisans and craftsmen, and peasants. It has left its mark on not only the development of Ancient Chinese social life but transformed civilizations on both sides of the continent. [27], By analyzing oracle bone inscriptions, other artifacts, and archaeological sites such as tombs and ancient cities, scholars have been able to piece together many details of Shang civilization. [9] This dynasty was defined by four aspects; the location, technological advancements, society, and religion. There were stories of a Xia dynasty that preceded the Shang dynasty but there is no written or archaeological evidence for it. Writing and Technology in China. [19] Toward the end of the Shang, writing was also inscribed on bronze objects. [9] Bronze casting was perhaps the most important technology during the Shang Dynasty. After these major classes lies the actual social hierarchy of ancient China that was based on occupation of people. [14] [3] [12] "The Shang: China's First Historical Dynasty", in Michael Loewe, Edward L. Shaugnessy. [19] [10], Over the centuries, the expansion of the Chinese people led to large-scale migrations of peoples from southern China into Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, where they created new political states and culture areas. Having a written lanuage helped to unify the Chinese people. Traders were also known as "shang ren", the Chinese word for merchant. Answer . Millet is the dynasty's primary staple food, but rice and wheat were also eaten. Archaeological evidence (dated from the Shang and later dynasties) shows that an early farming culture was established around 2205 B.C., centralized in the Huang (Yellow) River Valley and the surrounding region. The king was unlikely to take away their positions. Artisans and craftsmen -- their class identified with the Chinese character meaning labor -- were much like farmers in the respect that they produced essential goods needed by themselves and the rest of society. The Xia Dynasty (2070-1600 BCE) is the first form of government in China which established large cities. Artisans and craftsmen comprised the middle class of Shang society. To guard against flooding by the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers, the ancient Shang developed complex forms of irrigation and flood control. [1] Under the Shang Dynasty, a unified sense of Chinese culture emerged. [19], One of his later successors was Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BCE), who not only cemented the ideology of Confucius into mainstream Chinese thought, governance, and social order, but also installed a system of recommendation and nomination in government service known as xiaolian. [10] [13] In the Shang dynasty there were six social classes: King and his family, nobles, craftspeople, traders, farmers, and slaves. According to Mr. Donn "Ancient China had lots of laws and dynasty's". [19], The Shi - During the ancient Shang and Zhou dynasties, the shi were regarded as a knightly social order of low-level aristocratic lineage compared to dukes and marquises. One of his later successors was Emperor Wu (r. 141-87 BC), who not only cemented the ideology of Confucius into mainstream Chinese thought, governance, and social order, but also installed a system of recommendation and nomination in government service known as xiaolian. Chinese writing has undergone relatively few changes since it was first developed 3,500 years ago. The Shang "middle class" were artisans and craftsmen, who mainly worked with bronze. The Shang were divided into 4 classes king and aristocracy,military, artisans and craftsmen, and peasants. According to the traditional Chinese view, the town dwellers artisans and merchants were the least favoured of the four classes. Since Shang documents were originally recorded on strips of bamboo and silk that have long since decomposed, the oracle bones and bronze inscriptions bear the only written history from the Shang era. In these books, the culture is described as people honoring family relationships and stressing social status distinctions. The four occupations or " four categories of the people " ( simplified Chinese : 士农工商 ; traditional Chinese : 士農工商 ) was a hierarchic social class structure developed in ancient China by either Confucian or Legalist scholars as far back as the late Zhou dynasty and is considered a central part of the fengjian social structure (c. 1046-256 BC). [9], Craftspeople made up a small social class included bronze and jade workers, potters, and stonemasons were higher than farmers but lower than nobles. [14] [12] [12] [7] Shang society can be divided into six social classes. [1] The dynasty claimed rule over much of northern China, but in reality its control and influence did not spread as far and wide. [10] The victor of this war was Liu Bang, who initiated four centuries of unification of China proper under the Han Dynasty (202 BCE-220 CE). The oracle bone inscriptions are the oldest known form of Chinese writing. The Chinese economy and society in ancient times, like all economies at that time (which had advanced beyond the hunter-gatherer stage), were based on agriculture. Italian missionary Matteo Ricci, who came to China in the sixteenth century, wrote in comparing the Chinese and the Europeans that the Chinese were contented with the status quo and cherished harmony and peace. [10] The bones reveal a great deal about what was important to Shang society. Nobles-the nobles made up the highest-ranking social class after the ruling family.They were rich land owners in ancient china. Oracle bone : Pieces of ox scapula or turtle plastron, used for divination in ancient China. 2. [9] The Shang Dynasty is important because it is the first centralized kingdom in China to levy taxes, build an army that was effective over generations of people and to use the early pictographs that would become the modern characters of Mandarin Chinese. [11] [3], Members of the aristocracy were the most respected social class, and were responsible for governing smaller areas of the dynasty. There was also a gradual fusion of the wealthy merchant and landholding gentry classes, culminating in the late Ming Dynasty. [1] We know that the capital was changed at least six times, which solidifies the knowledge that substantial growth was made during this time period from Xia China. To expand his power, the king set up smaller kingdoms under his younger brothers and nephews. The Shang Dynasty marked the middle of China’s Bronze Age and was a dynasty that made great contributions to Chinese civilization. The Shang Dynasty (also called the Yin Dynasty) succeeded the Xia Dynasty, and was followed by the Zhou Dynasty. [3] [1], Oracle bones were pieces of bone or turtle shell used by the ancient Chinese, especially Chinese kings, in attempts to predict the future. [14], Some historians posit that the dynasty may have had a peasant class comprised of slaves or serfs. [11] [2] The gentry class originated in Shang and early Zhou times as groups of warriors who made up the personal retinues of the lords.

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