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Modern scholars had dismissed the Xia as the legendary invention of Zhou historians until the excavations at Erlitou provided strong evidence for their existence.Bronzecasting reached new heights during the Shang dynasty (c. C.), whose kings ruled over much of northern China from their capitals at Zhengzhou and Anyang on the Yellow River. in a tomb of moderate size that also contained sixteen human skeletons (probably sacrificial victims), ivory goblets, seven hundred jades, and more than two hundred ritual bronze vessels.Two achievements stand out among the accomplishments of Bronze Age cultures in China: the development of writing and the discovery of bronze, produced on a massive scale for weapons and ritual vessels used by the ruling class.

67), twenty bronze masks, gold and silver objects, ritual vessels, jades, and, astonishingly, the first and only life-size human figure known from Bronze Age China (no. No ancient texts identify with any certainty this previously unknown culture, which is roughly contemporary with the tomb of Fu Hao.Chinese history has traditionally been viewed as a succession of dynastic rulers whose culture was the radiating source for the entire country.Recent excavations at sites outside the Shang sphere of influence, however, reveal that Bronze Age civilization was more varied and complex than had been in part a sequel to the exhibition of archaeological finds from China shown at the National Gallery of Art in 1974. Excavations over the past few decades have revealed that prehistoric societies also flourished along the Yangzi River to the south and at remote sites in far northeastern China, demonstrating that Chinese civilization developed not from a single source, but through the gradual blending of several distinct cultures.At the time of that exhibition, most of the works of art now on display were still lying deep in the ground. The earliest excavations focused on sites along the Yellow River, which runs more than thirty-four hundred miles from the Himalaya Mountains across the northern plains to the sea.

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