The Western Zhou dynasty saw the rise of a core part of classical literature that has been passed down to our days. On the other hand, there are literally thousands of bronze vessels with inscriptions whose number has been steadily growing over the past half century due to archaeological excavations and uncontrolled looting by tomb robbers. Unlike the Shang oracle-bone inscriptions whose number is very limited outside of Anyang, inscribed bronzes have been found all over North China and a part of South China from cemeteries or residential sites of the Zhou or non-Zhou elites. This makes the Western Zhou one of the most important periods for the spreading of literacy in Chinese history. Also different from the Shang divinatory records that are often fragmentary and almost always inconsequential, a core group of several hundred Western Zhou bronze inscriptions are remarkably lengthy. It is true that a large number of inscribed bronzes were used in the religious context of ancestral worship; however, the historical events they record are almost always unrelated to the ancestral ritual in which their material bronzes were used. Instead, they record a wide range of topics such as military merit, official performance, royal orders, marriage, lineage genealogy, economic deals, diplomatic exchange, legal treaties, and so on. Certainly, the actual use of bronzes in Western Zhou society was not confined to the religious scene either. The improvement in the quality of the written evidence available to us allows for a much better, or more consistent, understanding of the political and ritual institutions as well as social conditions of the Western Zhou than of Shang.