Chapter 5

Political and Administrative Systems


A ding from the Shang dynasty.


A ding is an ancient Chinese cauldron with legs. Dings were originally made of ceramic materials, then later, at the time of the Shang dynasty (1766–1046 BC), cast in bronze. They were used for cooking, storage, and the preparation of ritual offerings to ancestors. Perhaps the most famous ancient dings were the set of nine bronze vessels (jiu-ding), which is said to have been cast by King Yu of the Xia dynasty when he divided his nation into the Jiuzhou or nine territories. During the Zhou dynasty (1046–221 BC), only the kings could have ...

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