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This artifact is an oracle bone made in the Shang Dynasty. These bones were used to answer divine questions that the emperors had. The questions would be asked about many things, some of these included illness, birth, misfortune, or harvest, and others. Oracle bones were turtle shells or ox scapula that were heated until cracks formed in the bone. Diviners, or the religious priests, would then read the bones depending on where cracks formed, to answer the emperor’s questions. Later though, the kings began to take over the role of the diviner. Probably this might have happened so that they could control what the oracle bones said. Perhaps they said that the oracle bones said that they would be a great king, or bring their sons into power that way. Maybe it was used to justify a reason to go into war. I thought this artifact was a good example of government because it shows how the kings could use these bones for their advantage in different situations, such as defending a reason or their rights.


external image shangtang.jpg

This is a picture of an emperor from the Shang Dynasty. In Huang He the emperors were the top of the government system. The reason I put the picture of the emperor from the Shang Dynasty is because they were the ones that controlled most of the government. They were considered the chosen ones from the heavens. The emperor’s gained their power through the mandate of heaven. As long as the people of the Huang He civilization believed that the emperors maintained this honor, the emperor stayed in power. Through this the emperor managed to pass down his power through his family. Then if something bad happened, such as there was a big flood or all the crops died that year, another noble family could say that the emporor had lost the mandate of heaven and they could then claim that they had it and take power over the goverment this way.