K. C. Chang approaches the civilization of ancient China from the point of view of an anthropologist as well as from an archaeological perspective. He brings to bear on his subject familiarity with the Chinese materials and with the related data essential to placing the Chinese experience in context.
This volume of nine studies deals with the Shang (1766–1122 BCE) and Chou (1122–221) civilizations and the prehistoric cultures from which they sprang. Chang summarizes what is known about ancient crop cultivation and examines evidence concerning the transition from a food-gathering to a settled food-producing society. He discusses the origin of Chinese urbanism; the structure of Shang and Chou towns and the kinship and lineage system of this period; the preparation and serving of food in ancient China; the possibility of a coherent dualistic system in Shang society; and Shang and Chou mythology. One essay is published here for the first time; the others have been revised for this book. An extensive bibliography is appended.