Musical instruments were also developed by the Shang. At Yin Xu, near Anyang, excavations have unearthed Shang-era instruments such as the ocarina (a wind instrument), drums and cymbals. Bells, chimes and bone flutes have been discovered elsewhere. The founding of the city of Anyang, which would become the capital of the Shang Dynasty, coincided with the height of its power. In 1046 BC. The Zhou, a subject people living in the western part of the kingdom, overthrew the Shang dynasty at the Battle of Muye. It was a battle between the Shang and Zhou clans over Shang expansion. They had broad support from the Chinese people: Di Xin (the last king of the Shang dynasty) had become cruel, spending public funds on alcohol and gambling, and ignoring the state. The Zhou established their authority by forging alliances with regional nobles and established their new dynasty with their capital at Fenghao (near present-day Xi`an in western China).
It is believed that Taoism developed during this period and the folk religion (including ancestor worship) that emerged from Taoist teachings. These religious developments included believing in life after death and allowing one`s ancestors to seek help in life. It also meant that the king who ruled the land did not rule by chance or whim, but by the will of the almighty gods and in harmony with the ancestors. Joshua J. Mark comments on this: The Chinese philosophical concept of the circumstances under which a ruler is allowed to rule. Good rulers were allowed to rule under the mandate of heaven, while despotic and unjust rulers had the mandate revoked. Shang rulers even sent hunting parties to capture members of primitive tribes in the northwest for use as sacrificial bodies in royal tombs. Heaven`s Mandate did not require a ruler to be of noble birth and had no time limit. Instead, leaders were expected to be good and fair to keep the mandate. The Zhou claimed that their rule was justified by the Mandate of Heaven. In other words, the Zhou believed that the Shang kings had become immoral because of their excessive alcohol consumption, lavish life, and cruelty, and thus lost their mandate. Instead, the blessing of the gods was given to the new ruler in the Zhou Dynasty, who would rule China for the next 800 years.
The Shang Dynasty developed not only ancestor worship, but also the bond between the people and the king and the king and the gods. This led to a completely harmonious understanding of life, in which the levels of the divine and the human, of the rulers and the ruled, were intertwined. Religious thought cannot develop if one cares about one`s safety or family, and so this is further proof of the stability of the Shang Dynasty and the validity of later documents claiming that it was a time of great happiness and prosperity for the people. The king or the professional fortune tellers hired by the king used oracle bones to make predictions about the future or answer questions such as: „Will the king have a son?“, „Will it rain tomorrow?“, „If we send 3,000 men into battle, will we succeed?“ or even „Is the long drought caused by ancestor X?“ 2 The scribe engraved the question on a bone (usually the shoulder bones of a water buffalo or other cattle) or on a turtle breastplate.3 On the other side of the bone or breastplate, he carved a series of small pits. Then he inserted a hot metal rod into these pits until the bone broke; and the king or the soothsayer interpreted the cracks. Then, on the other side of the bone, the writer engraved the answer and the final result. Lady Hao`s Anyang tomb from around 1250 BC. J.-C. Contains not only 16 human sacrifices, including children, but a large number of valuables, including bronze and jade ornaments and weapons, stone carvings, bone hairpins and arrowheads, and several ivory carvings. The tomb also contains 60 bronze wine vessels with images of animals. The Shang Dynasty ended around 1046 BC. The last king of the Shang line, King Di Xin, was considered a cruel leader who liked to torture people, which led to demands for the end of his reign.
The Shang dynasty ended around 1050 BC. AD when the conquerors of the State of Zhou invaded the capital and successfully overthrew the Shang dynasty. The Zhou conquerors claimed to overthrow the Shang dynasty on moral grounds. They said that King Shang was evil and Heaven no longer wanted him to rule. They blamed the disappearance of Shang for the excessive consumption of alcohol, the indulgent lifestyle and the immoral behavior of its king. The fall remained a cautionary tale for kings and emperors for years to come. Much of the history of the Shang Dynasty has been deciphered from oracle bones found in Anyang, representing a kingdom at war, with histories of shifting alliances with other powers. In the Battle of Mingtiao, fought in the midst of a huge storm of thunder and lightning, Tang defeated Jie.
Jie fled the field and sought refuge in exile, where he eventually died of disease. Tang abolished Jie`s tyrannical policies and excessive taxes, and installed a new government that worked for the people rather than against them. The two greatest emperors after Tang were Pan Geng, who moved the capital to Yin (the dynasty is therefore sometimes called Yin Shang), and Wu Ding. Wu Ding is one of the few Shang emperors whose existence is confirmed by physical evidence from archaeology. He reigned for 58 years from 1250 to 1192 BC. And during this time, the country has developed many of the major advances listed above, as well as in medicine, dentistry and fine arts. Because the Shang believed in life after death and ancestor worship, they thought very seriously about burial and what should accompany the deceased to his grave. The huge and ornate tombs of the Shang royal family are signs of their strong faith. Among the many treasures buried in important popular tombs were the remains of many other people. Some were anonymous people who had been captured during the battle and used as human sacrifices at funerals.
Others were relatives or subordinate dependents of the deceased. This practice of burying people of lower rank reflected the Shang belief that people related to a king or lord by blood or service in life were supposed to continue this relationship in death.11 Bronze Technology The Shang Dynasty existed in the Chinese Bronze Age. At that time, bronze represented power, wealth and luxury. Looking at how bronze was used by the Shang, it becomes clear that only those who had some degree of power in the realm had access to the use of bronze objects. Shang bronzes fall into two categories: weapons or ceremonial vessels for food and wine. From a distance, most of the pieces are ceremonial vessels and speak of a society and culture that valued rituals, such as burial, celebration and worship of gods and ancestors. Bronze was not used for ordinary tools such as hammers or hoes. The exact date of Wan-Nien`s work is unknown, but when it comes to the invention of writing, there is a bit more certainty.