What were the most significant political and social developments during the Shang Dynasty?  Shang Dynasty

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The most important political development for Shang China was their control of the Bronze market and their ability to produce tools and weapons from this metal. Shang rulers had exclusive control over the production of copper and tin used to make bronze. Weapons made from bronze were far superior to any used by adversaries and allowed the Shang to control much of the Yellow River valley.

Control of Bronze was also something of a social development. Only the wealthy and nobility were allowed to use it for tools; peasants still used stone implements which were very inferior to bronze tools.

The Shang also developed a method of building structures known as "pounded earth." It was created by placing soil in a wooden frame and pounding it with a wooden mallet until it had the consistency of rock. City walls were made from pounded earth; but also residents for the wealthy and the nobility. The peasants lived in underground dwellings.

Finally, the Shang were one of the first Chinese cultures to fully develop a system of writing. For this reason, much more is known of their culture and customs than earlier dynasties. Much of the writing was in the form of Oracle Bones in which breaks in an animal bone when heated was used to divine the will of the Shang deity.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial