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2: The Zhou Period (1045 – 256 BC)

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    One reason that we know Shang dominated the other groups in the mainland is that it was Shang whose conquest the Zhou dynasty celebrated. Like the Shang elite, Zhou aristocrats defined themselves by war, sacrificial ritual, and hunting. But they also moved beyond violence to invent ideology and history. They wrote the poetry and prose, and debated the philosophical ideas, that formed the foundation of East Asian civilization. The structure of the Zhou monarchical, aristocratic state was feudal, which permitted great expansion outwards and across ranks, and the absorption of many lifeways into Zhou culture.

    Thumbnail: A book written on bamboo strips, dating to the Warring States Period and held at the Shanghai Museum. The strips would have been tied together with a cord wrapping around each strip and its neighbor. In other cases, strips had holes punched at the top (or top and bottom) and were threaded together that way. The book is a Confucian discussion of the Book of Odes. (Public Domain; Shanghai Museum via Wikipedia).

    This page titled 2: The Zhou Period (1045 – 256 BC) is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Sarah Schneewind (eScholarship) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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