Ying Ruins, Anyang

Proposed World Heritage Classification: Cultural Site
North Henan Province


Yiu Ruins Museum

Located in north Henan Province, Anyang is the site of the former capital city of the late Shang (also known as Yin) dynasty, which controlled China from c. 1300 BC to c. 1046 BC. The ruins bear witness to a new era in China’s history, with a well-developed economy, political and military systems, technology and culture in what was a typical slave society. Inscriptions on oracles found at the site are the earliest examples of mature Chinese characters to have been discovered. The late Shang was the first dynasty to leave written historic records containing information on the politics, economy, culture, religion, geography, astronomy, calendar, art and medicine of the period and as such has an important place in the history of Chinese civilisation. On a more universal level, it forms one of the four major

ancient civilizations along with Egypt, Mesopotamia and India. Of the writing systems of these civilisations, only the Chinese characters found in the inscriptions at Anyang are still in use today. Covering an area of 30 square kilometres, the Yin Ruins lie on both banks of the River Huan, northwest of Anyang City. Based on studies from historical records, King Pangeng, 20th ruler of the Shang dynasty, moved his capital to Anyang where it remained until the end of the dynasty which spanned eight generations and twelve kings.In 1899, inscriptions on tortoise shells and cow bones were discovered at Xiao Tun Village, confirming the existence of a documented history of the Yin Xu. The archaeological sites were discovered in the early 20th century and the first excavations took place in 1928. By 1937, fifteen excavations had been carried out and since 1950, continuous efforts have been put into further exploration of the site. In 1961, the State Council proclaimed Anyang Yin Xu a protected historical site. The nominated sites of Anyang Yin Ruins include the Palace Area of Yin Xu and Fuhao Tomb located at the Yin Ruins Palace Ancestral Worship Temple area (Museum).

Outstanding Feature: Sophisticated ancient Chinese capital, and cradle of oracle inscriptions with mature characters.


Palace Area


Carriage and Horse


The Main Scenic Spots:

Yin Palace Ancestral Worship Temple Area

This area, consisting of the foundations of around eighty ancient constructions, is located to the south of Huanhe River, northeast of Xiao Tun Village. About 160,000 fragments of tortoise shell and bone remains with inscriptions have been unearthed, as well as a wellpreserved tomb for a member of the Imperial family, the so-called Fuhao Tomb. Surrounding this area there are scattered craft workshops, a residential area and a civilian cemetery.

Sacrifices Altar


Yin Palace Ancestral Worship Temple Area

Fuhao Tomb

The Fuhao Tomb is located in the Yin Palace Ancestral Worship Temple area. A total of 1,928 items, including bronze vessels, jade ware, bone ware, stone tools, tortoise shells and bones with inscriptions, and sea shells, were unearthed and are kept in Henan Museum, Zhengzhou and in the Anyang campus of the Social Sciences Institute of China. According to ancient documents, Fuhao was a female general and wife of King Wuding of the Shang dynasty, and her tomb provides a significant insight into Ancient China’s archaeology and history.


Palace Area

The Palace Area is located on the north bank of Huanhe River, north of Hou Jia Zhuang (Hou’s Mansion) and Wuguan Village. Thirteen imperial tombs and thousands of altars have been unearthed and many human and animal sacrifices have also been discovered. A large number of tortoise shell and bone inscriptions have been excavated during recent years, as well as fine bronze vessels, production tools and utensils. One extremely rare find is the Si Muwu Square Vessel, weighing 875 kilograms. All the artefacts found at this site illustrate the advanced development of the late Shang dynasty civilisation.

Most of the imperial tombs and altars have been re-buried and only a few pits, which are covered, are kept for display and further study. These sites include the Carriage and Horse Pit Museum, the Altar Pit Museum and the Imperial Tombs Museum. For other tombs in the area, cement pieces or plants are used to show the shape and location of the graves.

Inscriptions on Tortoise Shells