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Situated between myth and history, the Shang has been hailed both as China's first historical dynasty and as one of the world's primary civilizations. This book is an up-to-date synthesis of the archaeological, palaeographic and transmitted textual evidence for the Shang polity at Anyang (c.1250–1050 BCE). Roderick Campbell argues that violence was not the antithesis of civilization at Shang Anyang, but rather its foundation in war and sacrifice. He explores the social economy of practices and beliefs that produced the ancestral order of the Shang polity. From the authority of posthumously deified kings, to the animalization of human sacrificial victims, the ancestral ritual complex structured the Shang world through its key institutions of war, sacrifice, and burial. Mediated by hierarchical lineages, participation in these practices was basic to being Shang. This volume, which is based on the most up-to-date evidence, offers comprehensive and cutting-edge insight into the Chinese Bronze Age civilization.Read more
- Proposes a new approach to the study of ancient complex polities
- Synthesizes a vast body of archaeological, paleographical and transmitted textual literature
- Offers a holistic presentation of up-to-date evidence, much of which derives from the latest Chinese literature
Reviews & endorsements
‘… this book puts scholarship on the Shang on an entirely new level. It is a must-read for any scholar interested in early China or in exploring how Chinese evidence can reshape theoretical paradigms in history and the Social Sciences.’ Lothar von Falkenhausen, Journal of the American Oriental Society
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- Date Published: May 2018
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107197619
- length: 358 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
- weight: 0.72kg
- contains: 36 b/w illus. 4 maps
- availability: Available
Table of Contents
1. Being, society and world: towards an inter-ontic approach
2. Cities, states and civilizations
3. Central plains civilization from Erlitou to Anyang
4. The great settlement Shang and its polity: networks, boundaries and the social economy
5. Kinship, place and social order
6. Violence and Shang civilization
7. Constructing the ancestors: the social economy of burial
8. Technologies of pacification and the world of the great settlement Shang.
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