Despite of numerous but non satisfying existing theories, the origins of bronze in the chinese world is always a mystery. The beginning of the usage of this technology is actualy not yet known but, one thing is certain: the bronze has been used during the middle of the Shang dynasty (XVth-XVIth century before JC) for the manufacturing of weapons and ritual vessels.

After the Shang dynasty, the cult to ancestors, extremely complicated and very ordered, govern all the state rules. The weapons made by bronze are exclusively reserved to people owning to the leading class and the bronze vessels are only rituals or religious. They are mainly destinated to honour the memory of ancestors. In fact, the short Shang inscriptions are like:"made for father X", "precious sacrifice vessel made for Y"...

During the Zhou dynasty, the religious meaning of these vessels seems to diminished and they become more commemorative or honorific.The inscriptions are now: "X asked to cast this precious sacrificial vessel " or they can commemorate a travel, a military expedition, a hunting, a official ceremony or any other religious or laic event in the kingdom.

During the Spring Autumn and the Fighting Kingdoms, the use of the bronze is spreading to different social classes. The rich merchands and land owners order to founders some bronze vessels whose usage becomes purely funeral.

After this period the art from steppes will bring a new breath with animal representations.
Concerning the different ornementations, they first began with geometrical compositions (leiwen), then a diversification began with the addition of mythical animals owning horns, hooks, like the taotie or the kui, or again the dragons (long). We also discovered the silkworm, the cicada, the tortoise and several other birds or animals, all from symbolic suggestion.






















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