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Bronze and the Shang Dynasty

Uploaded by frollypoo on Mar 02, 2002

A societies use of the materials surrounding them is imperative to their success as a prominent civilization. The reign of the Shang dynasty roughly began around c1600- c1050bc, during this time the middle class artisans devoted much of their time to perfecting bronze work for ritualistic purposes as well as military basis; while the Shang kings and nobles held positions of high power and prestige over the common day labourer. The kings were thought as having a special connection with the ancestors of the past and were highly respected. The common Shang dynasty labourer lived a very hard and tedious life, like the common Egyptian, everything was done to please the king. Unfortunately, the Shang kings were very harsh on the people and some even referred to the Shang dynasty as ‘the Slave dynasty’ because the nobility had so much control over the common day workers, they had no shame in sacrificing other humans for ritualistic practices. As well, the Shang people were also occupied with every day tasks such as hunting for food and an early form of farming. Evidence of the Shang peoples everyday life were found at An yang, the Shang capital city, inscribed oracle bones presented a picture of constant bickering with other groups around and even war. Modern day archaeologists have come to the conclusion that the bronze work of the Shang was very well crafted and elite at its time, thousands of Shang bronzes survives today. The influence of bronze on the Shang people’s everyday life, weaponry and art established a reputation of leadership among this group of people.

The Shang people’s everyday life was very religious and trying. The rulers had a great amount of power over the people and controlled much of what they did in their day-to-day chores. The Shang elites and artisans devoted much of their time to perfecting bronze work. The elites “organization was apparent because Shang rulers had to mobilize men and material to mine, transport, and refine the ores, to manufacture and tool the clay models, cores and moulds used in the casting process and to run the foundries.” (Buckley 129) The mining of ore used to make bronze was done by the poorer classes and looked after by the noble class. The Shang people were able to organize themselves and get to the resources that they needed. Through study, it is evident that the lower class...

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Uploaded by:   frollypoo

Date:   03/02/2002

Category:   History

Length:   6 pages (1,318 words)

Views:   2780

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