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China was one of the most triumphant of the earliest civilizations. The Chinese today can brag that their civilization has the longest history recorded. The Chinese conquered the eastern part of the Asian land and extended independently from Europeans and Asians from the Middle East.
Giles, Herbert. Religions of Ancient China. London: Constable and Company Ltd, 1906: P. 46 Print. The Shang Dynasty came to power in the Huang He River Valley sometime between 1750 B.C.E. and 1500 B.C.E. The Shang were farmers. Their most significant crop was millet, which is a type of grain. However, Shang farmers also planting rice, barley, wheat and vegetables and they raising cows, sheep, pigs and chicken. Plows had not yet been made so fieldwork was made hand by hand with tools made from the rock. However, the Shang pioneered mediocre methods of irrigation and flood-control so that they could flourish along the Huang He River banks. The Shang is believed to be China's first dynasty. A Shang king reigned the kingdom with total power. At its golden age, the Shang Dynasty manipulated over miles of territory. The dynasty was so titanic that they had to make a multifaceted bureaucracy - a government systematized into diverse levels and tasks - in order to govern the whole territory.
Edkins, Joseph. Religion in China; Containing a Brief Account of the Three Religions of the Chinese. Elibron Classics, 1999: P.35.Print. Shang religion was composed of shamanism, sacrifice and divination. There were major receivers of the sacrifice: First, Di, the chief God, second, nature powers such as sun and mountains, third, past gods or died people who is included to the dynastic pantheon, fourth, pre dynastic predecessors, fifth, dynastic predecessors, and sixth, dynastic woman predecessors. The Shang leaders accepted the idea that these predecessors have a power on them and they should execute rituals to determine their intentions.
Divination was one of the usual rituals which often performed to ascertain whether predecessors wanted particular sacrifices. Divination consisted of putting a crack to the carapace of a turtle or scapula of an ox to be able to find out an answer on the bone. It is undefined what criterion the diviners based to distinguished the answers to the question, however, it is considered to be the pattern or sound of the bone cracks.
Lagerwey, John & Kalinowski, Marc. HdO Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang Through Han. Brill Academic Pub, 200: P. 29. Print. The Shang people also seemed to consider afterlife, as proven by burial tombs erected for died leaders. Oftentimes, personal belongings such as weapons, sacrificial vessels, carriages and utensils would be comprised in the burial tomb. The burial of the king included the numerous horses and humans as well to join the king in the afterlife. Lastly, tombs included designs like jade that will protect the dead body against decomposition.
Ancient china. Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, 2012: P.12. Print. The Ancient Chinese developed a practice of providing for the next life through building elaborate tombs and graves. A lot of what archaeologists have found out about Ancient China’s history comes from artifacts that have been taken from tombs. Many artifacts have also been lost through plunder and grave-robbing over the centuries. The early Shang kings were buried in little more than vertical shafts dug into the ground. By the early Warring States Period (475 bce onwards) tombs grew to include additional chambers that were stocked with items that the departed could use in their next life. By the time of the Han dynasty (206 bce–220 ce), the tombs of rulers and nobles became mini versions of the universe. They were made from brick and stone, which were painted with pictures of the heavens. The tombs held many valuable items, including hundreds of bronze and jade sculptures and works of art.
Giles, Herbert. The Civilization of China & Religions of Ancient China. Echo Library, 2006: P.11.Print. The Ritual Tetrapod Cauldron (Fangding) is one of the famous artifacts made in the Shang dynasty. The fang ding is a bronze ritual vessel dig from the tomb of Lady Hao in 1976 in Anyang, North China. It was a tomb of meek level by contrast to the immense royal tombs. Its unbothered compartment deferred a fabulous quantity of superb tomb furnishings.
Lagerwey, John & Kalinowski, Marc. HdO:P.16. Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang Through Han. Brill Academic Pub: P. 41.2009. Since people from the Shang dynasty believed that their relative’s soul is continuing to live in the human world, Shang people buried the dead body of their dead love one or especially the member of the royal family to the fang ding to give honor and respect to its soul. The bronze that covers the fang ding was believed to aid the connection between the spiritual world and the human world. Ding means “storing the holy things in the vessel”. Fang ding was used for sacrificial ceremonies for gods and ancestors. However, fang ding, before it became a holy vessel is a drinking vessel. Also during that time, fang ding represented the class and ranks of the people during that time. The and heavier and more ornament in the fang ding, the higher its position in the Shang society.
The bronzes covered in the Tomb of Lady Hao constituted the biggest, whole group of their kind ever found at Anyang. Over 190 bear inscriptions which refer to "Lady Hao" and suggest her position and death date. She was a famous companion of King Wu Ding (c. 1200 BCE) and a general when she died somewhat before the King. The uniformity of materials found in her tomb and other materials dig at the site verified her acceptance into the Shang royal--she used the clan emblem, the taotie--and yet probably remained cultural accomplishments with her non-Shang parent culture as proven by the jade hawk, frontier-style bronze knives, horse gear and mirrors discovered in the tomb.
Anyang was a ritual capital during the Shang dynasty which the royal burial grounds as well as official temples and palaces established on earth platforms could be found there. The Shang faith was shamanism which requisite food and entertainment offerings to the predecessors; to died great men, and to gods of rain, water, wind, rives, mountains and stars. The ritual leaders were wu--seers, medicine men or sorcerers and their associates, the diviners who known to predict the future were mediums between the supernatural and human worlds.
Ritual Tetrapod Cauldron (Fangding)
Fangding And Its Reflections In Chinas Shang Dynasty Research Paper Examples
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