THE FATE OF THE BRONZE-AGE STATES – It is necessary to have a brief idea of what transpired in the four regions after the Bronze Age.
In northern and central China, the Western Chou, who had been powerful in the Shaanxi province (along the upper Wei river) as the western neighbours of the Shang, defeated the Shang and dominated the region from 1122 to 771 BC. There was continuity in the ancestor rituals and casting of bronze vessels, in iconography and in the practice of royal lineage fissioning. But the Chou did not themselves inscribe oracle bones. Their inscriptions on bronze ritual vessels are much longer than Shang inscriptions, and this was a time when literary output increased. A collection of historical narratives and some poetry of this period, known to us in later compilations/editions, are a valuable source of history. The Iron Age came to China in around 500 BC. The political unification of all China was achieved in 221 BC.

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