ABSTRACT

The “re-birth” of weaponry, through recovery, cataloguing, reporting, and research, is an integral part of its biography. This chapter reviews the historiographic tradition in Chinese archaeology and its impact on studies of the Shang, which in turn has shaped the research foci of weapons. I then present an overview of the multiple sources of evidence for this book, namely archaeological data, the Chinese Shang bronze weaponry collection in the British Museum, and, to a lesser extent, inscriptions on oracle bones and bronzes. I introduce the process underlying the selection of my main corpus of data, over 1,500 bronze and jade weapons of various types from about 200 complete tombs at Anyang and their archaeological contexts.