China Dynasties Guide

A brief history of the Dynasties of China
All lands under the watch of Heaven

1045 - 256 BC: Zhou Dynasty

Image above - "Spade Money"
Warring States (475-221 BC)


Many are the emperors who reigned during the long Zhou Dynasty (1045-256 BC), generally divided into two periods: the Western Zhou (1045-771 BC) with capital Zhongzhou / Hao, near the present Xi'an, Shaanxi; and Eastern Zhou(770-256 BC) with capital in Luoyang, Henan.

At the end of the Battle of Muye, the king Wudefeated the last Shang king Di Xin, and founded the Zhou Dynasty, who through military campaigns pushed out the nomads of the north, extending its territory.

cina zhou
Zhou Dynasty 1045-256 BC

The Zhou established their power in a feudal system, with small city-state, with officials who often gathered for important decisions.

The "Annals of Spring and Autumn", traditionally attributed to Confucius, narrate the events of the period from the 7th to the 4th century, with periods of relative peace, prosperity, alternated by moments of internal battles between rebel nobles. It was in fact called "the period of the Warring States" (fifth century BC), when four most powerful states battle for power.

Under the Zhou Dynasty agriculture, hydraulic engineering, and bronze work for military and civilian purposes is further developed with the highest levels of craftsmanship. The jades and bronzes in particular, losing their purely religious use, became symbols of authority. At the end of Zhou, the use of molds and stamped decorations suggest great quality control of these works. Bronze vessels, made for funerary use, reflect a wide variety of shapes and decorative styles.

The Zhou dynasty ended with the surrender of the capital Wei of Kaifeng (225 BC) and the defeat of the states Chu (223 BC), Yan and Zhao (222 BC), beginning the era of the Qin Dynasty.