Selected Works of Bronze Art in Beijing Area
Permanent Exhibition Venue: Room J, F4, Oval Hall
——Exhibition Overview——

Preface


The extensive use of bronze marks the time when early humans broke away from the initial barbaric period and entered the Bronze Age as the first stage of civilized society. This period in China began about the 21st century BCE.


In the Bronze Age, Beijing was in the northern borderland of the Central Plains Dynasties. The bronze culture in the area shows a strong identity with Central Plains culture, as well as a distinctive aspects of multi-cultural fusion.


Part I. Western Zhou period (mid-11th century - 771 BCE)


During the period of the Western Zhou Dynasty, the political center of the Yan State was in the Beijing area. The bronzes of the Yan state had an identical style with those of the Zhou Dynasty in the Central Plains. However, its weapons, tools and some other items of bronzeware were strongly influenced by the Northern Prairie Culture.


    Ritual Vessels and Musical Instruments


    During the Shang-Zhou period (16th century-221 BCE), ritual vessels and musical instruments in bronze were made exclusively for aristocrats and used extensively in sacrificial, mourning and other ceremonial activities. They were believed to possess the power for humans to communicate with the deities and symbolized power.


    Horse-and-chariot Trappings 


    Horse-and-chariot trappings in bronze were prevalent not only for their practical use, but also for their decorative and status-marking functions.

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