THE CULTURAL HISTORY of China truly begins with the period of the Shang Dynasty (ca. 1765-1123 B.C.). Two major cultural attainments characterize this stage in the course of Chinese development. One is a well-established form of writing, which provides an extensive record of the life of the time, and the other an extraordinarily brilliant and never-surpassed mastery of the art of bronze casting. The oracle bones and the Shang bronzes have bestowed upon this period a special fame in human history.