or Chou dynasty
(1046256 BC) Ancient Chinese dynasty that gave China its historically identifying political and cultural characteristics.
The period before 771 BC is known as the Western Zhou; the period from 771 BC on is called the Eastern Zhou and is further divided into the Spring and Autumn period (770476) and the Warring States period (475221). During the Zhou dynasty, iron, ox-drawn plows, crossbows, and horseback riding were introduced; large-scale irrigation projects were instituted; the Chinese writing system was further developed; and the great Chinese philosophers of antiquity, including Confucius , Mencius , and Zhuangzi , lived and taught. Pottery and bronzework expanded on the traditions of the earlier Shang dynasty , as did work in jade and lacquer.