The first poetry collection in China, the Shi jing, or Classic of Songs, was compiled in the pre-Qin period (times before 221 BCE), and consists of 305 poems written in the 500-odd years between the early Western Zhou dynasty and the mid-Spring and Autumn period (ca. 1100–ca. 600 BCE). It marks the glorious start of Chinese poetry, and has been a standard bearer of Chinese culture and the earliest sign of its cultural development. It had a great influence on the formation and development of Chinese literature and civilization.