Talk:Zhou dynasty

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Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

This article is or was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Yliu480. Peer reviewers: Yliu480.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 05:28, 18 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment[edit]

This article is or was the subject of a Wiki Education Foundation-supported course assignment. Further details are available on the course page. Student editor(s): Jtabron.

Above undated message substituted from assignment by PrimeBOT (talk) 05:28, 18 January 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

History Section: Expansion, but somewhere else...[edit]

I know everything's still a mess and much of the history coming out of the PRC is politicized, but we really ought to

A. Keep the sections here as a fairly brief and highly-linked outline.
B. Have somewhere else to put much more stuff.

For example, this article – even if not necessarily correct in all its particulars – should have its outline of the scholarly disagreements, consensuses, and concerns mentioned somewhere, even though here isn't really the place. Right now, we've got a branch out at Western Zhou but not Eastern Zhou and the closest thing to covering their early history is the stub I put up at Duchy of Zhou... but there really should be something like a History of the Zhou Dynasty article to tie it all together... — LlywelynII 12:56, 28 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The usual periodization is Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn and Warring States. Does anyone treat Eastern Zhou as a topic? Similarly the Western Zhou is so different from the later periods that it doesn't make much sense to treat the Zhou dynasty as a unified topic, even if it is nominally a single dynasty. I'd favour moving most of the content to those three articles and having this one summarize them. Kanguole 16:17, 28 October 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Improve Article[edit]

This article needs to be seriously "de-crapped" I remember when it used to be good. here are some issues:

  • why is the map a PNG file? this is something that should be SVG
  • what is the policy going to be on use of Pinyin Hanzi and English in the article for example, certain pinyin words become anglizcied when the dicritics are dropped from the vowels. which ones should be allowed to do so? should they be put in italics?
  • Chinese studies often suffers from poor or inaccurate translation for example: civil servant, scholar, gentleman, burecrat, ect. all used interchangably for describing "Shi" when in fact not every scholar was a civil servant. lets be very precise and consistant in our translations
  • Zhou dynasty could mean different things to an archeologist, a historian, a sinologist, an urban planner, ect. we should have a section for each one.
  • This article is related to Shang and Xia dynasty articles and the state formation of china in general all three should have identical layouts and section topics and be extensively cross linked.
  • If you are including Hanzi they should be cross linked to wiktionary so people can validate translations.

I propose the sections for xia/shang/zhou should be: Etemology, Ethnicity, Political History, Archeology — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gurdjieff (talkcontribs) 05:38, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't believe a uniform treatment of the Xia, Shang and Zhou would make sense. They are radically different, not least in the quality of evidence we have for them and the extent to which we can connect traditional accounts with archaeology. Even the Zhou period is too diverse for a unified treatment. We'd be better off building up the Western Zhou, Spring and Autumn period and Warring States period articles and trimming this one to a brief overview. Kanguole 23:32, 23 December 2012 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Starting year of Zhou[edit]

Current version of this page says that the beginning year of Zhou is BC 1046. However, Korean historian Min Hooki says in his article A Survery and Criticism on the Date of the King Wu's Conquest of Shang" and "the Chronology of the Late Shang" in the Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project(하상주단대공정 중의 '무왕극상년'과 '상대 후기 연대학'에 대한 검토와 비판) there are many different theories assuming the starting year of Zhou. The earlist year among them is BC 1130, and the last year is BC 1018. The BC 1046 is just one of these theories, supported by Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project. This project caused severe conflict between scholars participating this project and the others, including Western scholars and even minor Chineses. David Nivison and Edward Shaughnessy don't accept this result and claimed BC 1045 (see The Cambridge History of Ancient China). I think there is no orthodox theory for estimating Zhou chronology, even the result of Xia-Shang-Zhou Chronology Project is accepted as orthodox in china. Therefore, I think that description of the starting year of Zhou should not point a certain year.--Synparaorthodox (talk) 11:05, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

We should certainly flag the uncertainty of Chinese dates before 841 BC, but modern scholars seem to have converged on shorter chronologies with mid-11th century dates for the conquest. No-one seems to advance the traditional date of 1130 any more. I think putting "c." in front of 1046 would be sufficient. Kanguole 12:06, 10 January 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Move request to decapitalize all Chinese dynasty articles[edit]

There's a move request to decapitalize "dynasty" in the Chinese dynasty articles, as in Han Dynasty → Han dynasty. For more information and to give your input, see [1]. --Cold Season (talk) 17:52, 15 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Source on Zhou religion[edit]

Title Early Chinese Religion: Part One: Shang Through Han (1250 BC-220 AD) (2 Vols) Early Chinese Religion Editors John Lagerwey, Marc Kalinowski Publisher BRILL, 2008 ISBN 9004168354, 9789004168350

Rajmaan (talk) 19:22, 8 October 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Language. Removed, without consultation on this page[edit]

According to Scott DeLancey, the growth of the Shang state probably led to the adoption of its language as a lingua franca among the southern Baiyue and the Sino-Tibetan speaking Zhou to the West, creating a common lexical stock. The rise of the Zhou within the Shang state in turn, strengthened the Sino-Tibetan component, and, when the Zhou established a dynasty, the lingua franca underwent creolization with a stronger Zhou Sino-Tibetan lexicon while building on a morphology that was inherited from the Shang dynasty speakers. The sum effect of the Zhou diffusion of their version of the lingua franca was, he argues, one of Tibeto-Burmanization, with a concomitant shift from a SVO morphological substrate to a language with an increasing tendency towards SOV structure.[1] Linguist Paul K. Benedict also proposed that the Shang may have not been Sinitic speakers and that the Zhou invaders from the west were the bearers of proto-Sinitic languages.[2]

  1. ^ Scott DeLancey, 'The origins of Sinitic,’ in Zhuo Jing-Schmidt (ed.) Increased Empiricism: Recent advances in Chinese Linguistics, John Benjamins Publishing Co. 2013 pp.73-99 pp.91-2, p.91: ‘When Zhou takes over the empire, there is, as on Benedict’s model, a temporary diglossic situation, in which genuine Zhou speech is, for a while, retained in the ruling class, but among the former Shang population, Shang speech is gradually replaced not by “pure” Sino-Tibetan Zhou, but by a heavily Tibeto-Burman influenced version of the lingua franca.’
  2. ^ Van Driem, George (2005). Tibeto Burman vs. Indo-Chinese. London: Routledge. p. 88.

— Preceding unsigned comment added by Nishidani (talkcontribs) 06:59, 9 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

A discussion of this issue is going on at Talk:Shang - weigh in there.
— Preceding unsigned comment added by Ogress (talkcontribs) 07:06, 9 June 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Deleted false IPA spelling. Can fix later. Lollipop (talk) 17:53, 17 July 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

order of chapters[edit]

I could use an expert (or other opinions) rather than handling this myself, but in "culture and society", I am going to put agriuculture closer to the top, as a subsection of fengjian (well-field system). I would put mandate of heaven at the top of this section, as I am given to understand that it emerged very early, even before fengjian.FourLights (talk) 22:38, 28 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eastern capital[edit]

"The capital was moved eastward to Chengzhou": shouldn't that be Luoyang? Languagehat (talk) 14:59, 28 August 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Chengzhou was located close to todays Luoyang, but the move of capital 771 BC was actually to Wangcheng. Best regards, --Bairuilong (talk) 03:02, 20 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Wang (king)[edit]

I have again reverted a claim cited to the Shiji. We should not be citing ancient sources, which need expert interpretation, and especially not Sima Qian on the Shang. He had no access to the oracle bones, which show that wáng 王 referred to the ruler, while 帝 referred to the deity or mainline ancestors. Kanguole 22:32, 19 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Which of the Shang ruler use the tile 王? (don't mix wáng 王 with rén 壬 from Chinese sexagenary cycle)
It was the late Shang rulers that used the title 帝, and for the title of these late rulers there is no conflict between the oracle bones and Sima Qian. We don't know if Sima Qian had access to oracle bones, but any way; We can look in other sources also. Please look at the reference below where the oracle bone titles for the rulers are listed, and you can see the title 帝 (but not 王):
Best reagrds, --Bairuilong (talk) 02:40, 20 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
After some additional thinking, I can agree that the Shang rulers could have been referred to as 王 "king", but it was not there title. The late Shang rulers use 帝 as title. The Zhou rulers use 王 as there title, and that is the change between between Shang and Zhou that I try to illustrate. Best regards, --Bairuilong (talk) 05:34, 20 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
In this article:
  • Keightley, David N. (1978). "The Bamboo Annals and Shang-Chou Chronology". Harvard Journal of Asiatic Studies. 38 (2): 423–438. JSTOR 2718906.
Keightley lists important features of Shang life revealed by the oracle bones that were unknown to Sima Qian and the author(s) of the Bamboo Annals, including Shang ritual practice, the importance of royal consorts, and the fact that living Shang rulers were called wáng 王 (p.429).
The last two Shang rulers are referred to by the names Sima Qian gave them because we have no names for them from the oracle bones. The names in the oracle bones are posthumous names used in the ritual cycle of the Shang ancestor cult. Since the Shang oracle bones cease at the Zhou conquest, there are no references to the last king, and only one that might refer to the previous one (as Fu Yi 父乙), but its date is uncertain. (Keightley Sources of Shang History, Table 1 note l and Table 15 notes al and ap) Kanguole 10:25, 20 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Thanks for the link to the article. It seams interesting, so I will look into it. Best regards, --Bairuilong (talk) 10:46, 20 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I have now read it (interesting - I have also worked a bit with the dating of the Shang rulers on Swedish WP), and as I already confirmed above; I agree that they where referred to as 王, but I still see the difference that the Zhou rulers use 王 as a title. I can accept the text in the article as it is. All my best --Bairuilong (talk) 13:13, 21 February 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Page Evaluation[edit]

As a Chinese history student, I can understand most part of this article. However, this article looks like a collection of a bunch of data. So there is a "Chinese wiki" you guys can refer to. Here is the link "". Yliu480 (talk) 00:22, 11 October 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Possible to be Turkic[edit]

According to Wolfram Eberhard, a German linguist and racialist, the Chou dynasty is of Turkic origin. The use of iron began in China during the Chou dynasty, and according to many, Chinese bronze ware making reached its peak during this period. AzərbaycanTürküAze (talk) 07:09, 8 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Eberhard's view is a fringe position. While it might be possible that the Zhou were related to Turkic groups, there is literally no way of proving that today. It also has nothing to do with their ability to work metal (which they adapted from the Shang, not their western or northern neighbors). Applodion (talk) 09:45, 8 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Commons files used on this page or its Wikidata item have been nominated for deletion[edit]

The following Wikimedia Commons files used on this page or its Wikidata item have been nominated for deletion:

Participate in the deletion discussion at the nomination page. —Community Tech bot (talk) 03:50, 4 July 2022 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personal names[edit]

I know it's confusing af in translation but, for the main introductory article to this period, the current treatment of the names is completely unacceptable.

None of these people were at any time named "Tai", "Wen", or "Wu". Those are posthumous adjectives that need to go along with the noun king (sometimes implicit in Chinese but never so in English) and are not in any sense personal names. The "Great King of Zhou"—mistranslated since Legge if not before as "King Tai of Zhou"—is an honorific for a guy actually named Dan who was never king for any purpose except ancestral veneration. Ditto the "Literary" or "Civilized King of Zhou" ("King Wen of Zhou") who was actually named Chang. Ditto the "Warrior" or "Martial King of Zhou" ("King Wu of Zhou"), who was actually named Fa[a] before becoming the first actual king of the Zhou dynasty.

You don't have to explain all of that here, of course,[b] but the founder of this dynasty was "Fa", "Ji Fa", or (at minimum) "King Wu" (where "the Wu King" is less common but much more correct) and not "Wu". Same applies across the board to almost any reference to these people. — LlywelynII 02:04, 26 August 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  1. ^ Well, a name eventually written with a character eventually written which is now pronounced Fā in Standard Mandarin and has the reconstructed Shang-era pronunciation of Pat or Pad. We very much don't need to get that far in the weeds, though. That's what Wiktionary links are for. They don't cover up the mess of what's going on with the posthumous names being mistreated as personal ones, though.
  2. ^ ...although doing so briefly in a shared alpha note like this is best. In particular, the usual English naming traditions of Chinese sovereigns varies by dynasty, so each dynasty page really should eventually cover that convention and link to the main treatment.

Sources for future article expansion[edit]

Loads more on early history here, although probably most of it is a better fit for Predynastic Zhou. — LlywelynII

has more on the Shang and Zhou's relationships with the south in the area that later became Chu, Wu, and Yue. — LlywelynII 03:45, 2 September 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]