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  • Print publication year: 2015
  • Online publication date: March 2015

14 - Urban landscapes: transforming spaces and reshaping communities

from Part III - Early urban landscapes
Chinese urbanism has a history of more than 5,000 years, and ever since the invention of the Chinese writing system more than 3,000 years ago, the process of urbanization and the uninterrupted transmission of literacy have gone hand in hand. This chapter focuses on the second millennium BCE, the early Bronze Age, and also covers two consecutive episodes of that phase, such as the Huanbei period and the Yinxu period. The Anyang inscriptions are the first substantial corpus of Chinese writing, but they are display inscriptions; neither at Anyang nor at Zhengzhou does everyday writing survive. Unlike Huanbei, Yinxu had no city walls and no clearly demarcated perimeters other than those provided on the north and east by the riverbank. The royal precinct covers about 70 hectares, with over 100 building foundations found so far. It is in storage pits associated with some of the buildings that most of the inscribed divination bones have been found.
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The Cambridge World History
  • Volume 3: Early Cities in Comparative Perspective, 4000 BCE–1200 CE
  • Edited by Norman Yoffee
  • Online ISBN: 9781139035606
  • Book DOI:
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