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The Shang Dynasty (1600-1046B.C.E.)Culture:LiteratureThe Shang Dynasty created a writing system commonly called logistics. Logistics consisted of over 3,000 symbols and characters. Using logistics, people of the Shang Dynasty would write on strips of bamboo, silk, bronze vessels, and oracle bones. Most of the literature wrote in the Shang Dynasty were originally recorded on strips of bamboo and silk that have either been burned by a king of China in later times, or have decomposed, leaving only bronze and oracle bone inscriptions. By analyzing these pieces of literature, scholars have been able to determine the names of its kings, its style of government, its military history, its religious beliefs and rituals, and its society. At first historians thought the Shang Dynasty never existed until theinformation and details inscribed onto oracle bones matched thatof centuries later, proving the dynasty existed.ArtShang craftsmen made some pretty advanced art, such as carved jade and marble paintings, with inks on silk, bronze vessels, and drums. Carved jade was really valuable because jade is incredibly hard and Shang craftsman probably had to usediamonds to carve it, which could take as long as a year for a single man. Craftsmen used ceramic molds to make vessels as we do today. Almost all art was given to the king as taxes, and many were used for ceremonial purposes.ReligionThe Shang practiced a distinct religion; they worshipped the “Shang Di” who was supreme god that ruled over the lesser gods, just like Zeus ruled over the lesser gods in Greek Mythology. Since the Shang worshipped more than one god this makes them polytheistic. They also worshipped their ancestors because they believed they were still actively involved in the affairs of the family and their descendants. Kings would communicate with ancestors using oracle bones, and would alsouse animal sacrifices to “feed” nature gods or their ancestors so they may continue to help them. In the Shang Dynasty they believed if you failed to properly worship your gods and
ancestors, death and disaster would result. The people of the Shang Dynasty also believed in an afterlife, like the Ancient Egyptians, and because of this and ancestor worship, they