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Shang Dynasty (?1523 -1027 BC)

back   Somewhere near the early to middle part of the second millennium before Christ the Shang Dynasty emerged from the mists of historical uncertainty. Situated in the North China Plain, the Shang offers historians the first dynasty with a complete writing system. Dominated by an elite class who worshipped their royal ancestors (intermediaries between the earthly realm and the high god Shang-Di), this rather small kingdom held wide sway.
Chou (1027-221 BC)
Ch'in (221-206 BC)
Han (206 BC-AD 220)
Three Kingdoms (220-581)
Sui (581-618)
T'ang (618-907)
Sung (907-1279)

Yüan (1279-1368)

  The Shang domesticated horses, refined metals, built chariots, and made bronze weapons. With these advantages they traveled the Yellow River valley creating a league of settlements over which the Shang king and his immediate relatives ruled. The Shang used its large army and political stability to influence neighboring settlements perhaps as far south as the Yangtze River. And this was the Shang’s great success, transforming primitive villages into semi-independent city states, each loyal to the royal household of Shang.
Ming (1368-1644)  
Ch'ing (1644-1912)  
Opening the Door (1844-1911)  
The Period of Revolution (1912-1949)  
Mao's Dynasty (1949-1976)  
Raising the Bamboo Curtain (1972-1979)  
Into the Next Millennium (1979-)  


Jue wine cup
Jue wine cup
c. 1300 BCE-c.1100 BCE
Shang Period
bronze with green patina
7 1/8 in. x 7 3/8 in.

Courtesy The University of Michgan Art Museum