Now, the story of the Ni state and Shang hierarchy are in focus at Glory of Hedong, an exhibition at the National Museum of China in Beijing, which is planned to run until December 25.
Hedong refers to an area in Shanxi where the Yellow River flows and which is home to ancient cultures like the Ni state. The display of some 170 artifacts marks the first comprehensive public-viewing of archaeological discoveries that have been unearthed at the Jiuwutou site.
According to Gao Zhenhua, the exhibition curator and a member of the on-site archaeology team, the Shang empire exerted rigid hierarchy and funeral rules, such as what-and how many-objects to bury with the deceased in accordance with the obvious distinctions in class.
He says his team unearthed many objects made from pottery, jade and bronze, as well as weapons and chariot apparatus that indicate people buried in the Jiuwutou area hailed from high aristocracy-meaning they were below the royal family but above other elites at the time.