Ancient Chinese Bronze
Chinese discovered the use of bronze at the end of stone period and at the beginning of metal age. The Ancient Chinese bronze reached its zenith in the Shang and Zou dynasties.
Ancient Chinese used bronze to make weapons, rituals vessels and miscellaneous objects. The bronze weapon includes sword, spear, knife, axe, dagger and halberd. The ritual bronze is use by the aristocratic class in religious ceremonies. It includes water pots, wine vessels, musical instruments and food containers. The miscellaneous bronze includes the bronze utensils for the purpose of daily use.
The weapons made of bronze were predominant in China for about two thousand years. Some of the popular weapons of this type are Ge, Qiang, Fu and Dao. The “Ge” is the most popular form of weapons used in ancient China. It is a long weapon that is mainly use for fighting. The Qiang is also known as the spearhead and it ranks top in Chinese long weapon. The Fu is an axe that is use by the security force of kings, nobles, emperors and generals. The Dao or saber is use for the manufacture of weapons for military purposes.
The ritual bronze is designed with the combination of all the symbols of animals into one ferocious creature. These vessels are use for performing religious ceremonies like offering sacrifice to the gods of heaven, mountain, earth and heaven. They are also use to give honorary awards and for funeral purpose of the nobles. It reflects the religious and ritual spirit of the ancient people. Miscellaneous bronze includes Jue, Shuzhen, Lu etc. Jue is mainly use for farming as a hoe and its shape is like a pickaxe. Shuzhen is a weight paper and it is designed in the shape of crouching or reclining animal. Lu is a brazier use for holding burning coals.
The piece-mold casting is the earliest methods adopted to produce bronze. The techniques enhance the sharpness of bronze added with delicate and intricate designs. The Taotie is one of the finest characteristics of bronze decoration that is use in the Shang dynasty. It takes the shape of an animal with a pair of eyes and the nose lies in between the eyes. The nostril is at the base and taotie can include horns, ears, jaws, fangs and eyebrows.
Chinese bronze is a part of the Chinese culture since ancient times. It is also used in performing religious rituals. They place highly decorative bronze vessels and weapons near the coffin of the deceased with the belief of providing comfort and relief in the next world.
Chinese bronze is a beautiful creation of art with a perfect balance of innovations and traditions and with the intermingling of religious and secular images. The impressive design, inscriptions and its classical decorative ornament made it as unique national treasure of China of ancient times.