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Xia and Shang Dynasties

The Xia Dynasty of China, about 2100 BC to 1600 BC, is the first dynasty to be described in ancient historical records. The establishment of Xia Dynasty marked the end of primitive society and the beginning of the class society.

It was a state existed in the Yellow River Plain in the present provinces of Shandong, Shanxi and Shaanxi. The earliest discovered written record of China's past dates from the Shang Dynasty in the 13th century BC. All the things were recorded on the bones or shells of animals - so-called oracle bones.

The Xia Dynasty was overthrown by Shang. Since the capital of Shang Dynasty was based in Yin (today's Xioatun village, Anyang City, Henan Province), this dynasty is also called "Yin Shang". It was a state whose civilisation was based on agriculture, augmented by animal husbandry and hunting. The use of bronze metallurgy began in this period with a number of ceremonial bronze vessels.

This period also featured the practice of ancestor worship. Findings from the royal tombs indicate that the royalty were buried with valuable articles (for use in presumable afterlife) and commoners, who had been servants or slaves.

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