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Wednesday, August 17, 2022

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WATCH: The Yin Ruins - an ancient Chinese city dating back 3,300 years

Published Jul 22, 2022


Yin Xu, or the Yin Ruins, located in the northwestern suburbs of Anyang, central China’s Henan Province, was the remnants of the capital of the late Shang Dynasty (1600 B.C.-1046 B.C.).

It dates back 3,300 years, and its existence has been confirmed by historical documents, oracle bone inscriptions and archaeological excavations as the first site of a capital in Chinese history.

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The archaeological remains of the Yin Ruins include two sites: the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area and the Royal Tombs Area. Situated in the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area, the scenic area featuring the remains of the palace and royal ancestral shrines of the Yin Ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage site, a national 5A tourist attraction, the birthplace of Chinese archaeology and the cradle of oracle bone inscriptions.

The 53 building sites found in the Yin Ruins before 1973 formed the center of the overall planning and layout of the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area. The sites have been divided by archaeologists into three categories. Group A includes 15 sites, which are believed to be the sites of the oldest and longest-used buildings of the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area.

Archaeologists believe that the buildings were the palaces and sleeping quarters of the Shang royal family. Group B, with 21 sites, is believed to be home to the ancestral temples of the Shang royal family, while the 17 sites in Group C are the sacrificial altar.

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So far, more than 80 large rammed earth building sites have been discovered in the Palace and Royal Ancestral Shrines Area.

The Tomb of Fu Hao, a talented female general and the queen of King Wu Ding of Shang Dynasty, is the only tomb of a member of the royal family of the Shang Dynasty to have remained intact. The tomb was excavated by archaeologists in 1976. A total of 1,928 cultural relics, including bronze and jade ware, have been unearthed from it.

The Simuxin Quadripod, or Simuxin Ding, a rectangular four-legged bronze cooking vessel, is one of the cultural relics unearthed from the tomb. With a height of 80.1 cm, a mouth length of 64 cm, and a width of 48 cm, it is now the most precious treasure in the Yin Ruins Museum.

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“Fu Hao was a legendary woman who was a queen, a female general, a chieftain of a fief, and a priest,” said Guo Weibing, secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) general branch of the Yin Ruins Museum.

Fu not only helped King Wu Ding handle affairs of state, but commanded troops in battles, Guo said, adding that Fu won almost all the battles she took part in as commander.

In appreciation of her outstanding talents and contributions to the Shang Dynasty, King Wu Ding awarded her a fief and allowed her to preside over large-scale sacrificial activities, Guo noted.

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