Early Dynasties 2200-221BC


Xia 2200-1700BC
Western Zhou1100-771BC
Eastern Zhou770-256BC
Warring States Period476-221BC

The dynasties that preceded the formation of the Qin in 221BC have much less historical documentation and represent a smaller geographic area. Chinese civilization emerged principally in the Yellow and Yangzi river basins. Chinese are proud of the 5,000 years of unbroken civilization which is unique in the world.

The Shang dynasty are famous for their skills in casting elaborate bronze vessels and artefacts. It is in this period that the Chinese characters were developed and used on 'oracle bones' and in books made of bamboo strips. The Zhou dynasty saw the development of large planned cities.

During the Warring States, the country broke up into small precarious feudal states constantly fought with each other. It was at this time that the philosophers Confucius (Kongfu Zi) and Lao Tse (Lao Zi) lived. Indeed, the time is known for the 'hundred schools' of philosophers. The detailed historical documents of the period are quite incredible when compared to the big blank picture of life in the U.K. and much of Europe at this time. Eventually the 'legalist' philosophy won out and the small state of Qin took over the other small states that made up China.

Bronze door knocker
Bronze knocker decorated with phoenix and interlaced serpents
The ring of the knocker is held below the mouth of an animal mask
which in turn supports a phoenix on its forehead.
The wings of the phoenix are each wound round by a serpent
with back-turned head Warring States period (475-221BC)
Height 45.5cms Unearthed in 1966 at Yixian, Hebei province
Oracle bones with script
Inscribed oracle bones on animal bones for divination.
Oldest known Shang script. About 3,500 years old.

Here are some photographs reflecting Early times, click on the thumbnail to see the photograph in full

Bronze Bowl
Bronxe Replica Tripod
Wine Vessel
Gold Coins
Iron Sickles
Taishan Gateway
Bronze Bowl

Bronze Vessel
Bronze Decorated Axe
Bronze Ding

See also :
China sage guide to Spring and Autumn Period

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