Monday, January 5, 2009

What is " Ancient China Bronzes"?

(Bottom ) Shi Qiang Bronze vessel with Chinese oracle writing inscribed (PAN)H 16.2 cm, D 47.3 cm Middle Western Zhou Dynasty (end of 10th century B.C.)From Hoard 1, Zhuangbai, Fufeng, Shaanxi ProvinceExcavated in 1976-1977
Market Auction estimated price worth: US$20,000
(Above) Bronze owl-shaped vessel (ZUN)H 46.3 cmLate Shang Period (c. 1200 B.C.)From Tomb 5, Xiaotun Locus North, at Yinxu, Anyang, Henan ProvinceExcavated in 1976
Market Auction estimated price worth : US$25,000
Bronze vessels were used during the Shang and Zhou periods in ancestral rituals. Ancestors, it was believed, could intercede on behalf of the living, provided they were honored and respected. The bronze vessels were kept in ancestral halls and used during a variety of feasts and banquets. Most bronze vessels were used for food or to heat or cool a millet-based wine. Others served as water basins or jugs. Wine vessels dominated during the Shang, but ritual changes in the middle of the Western Zhou period resulted in a shift toward food vessels.
These Shang and Zhou bronze vessels were the most highly esteemed objects of their time, usurping the position held by jade in the late Neolithic period. In addition to their functional and symbolic role in support of lineage rites, bronzes also exemplified the latest technical and artistic developments. Early bronze vessels, including the jue, gu, and ding (above), were based on Neolithic pottery prototypes. But as bronze technology improved, vessels took on shapes and decorative schemes that were unique to the medium.
Dayangzhou produced a large burial chamber filled with hundreds of ceramics, bronzes (both weapons and vessels), and jades. Some of the bronzes could be related to types found at Erligang, but others, such as the meat-cooking vessels and bronze bells, were unique to Dayangzhou. Dayangzhou was also distinctive for its use of human heads, ram heads, deer, and especially tigers in design.

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