Yu [Ritual Wine Tote] Tiger Protecting a Young Man.
SHANG DYNASTY Anonymous
(1527 BCE - 1027 BCE)
15th-10th c BCE Chinese Shang Sculpture
c. 1500 BCE-1000 BCE
15th-10th c BCE
Institute for Aesthetic Development. Brentwood CA.
The two great dynasties of the Bronze are were the Shang Dynasty (c1600 BCE-1000 BCE) and the Chou Dynasty (1000 BCE-221 BCE). The most famous objects from this era are ritual vessels made of bronze. In this case is one small bronze vessel from the era with three legs. Next to this vase on the black pedestal is a large bronze vessel with two Dragon handles and the 'taotie' face. These bronze vessels were used for offerings to deities and ancestors. Some of the inscriptions tells of who made the offering and to whom. It was during the Bronze Age that the first forms of writing appeared in China. Shang inscriptions are quite short. It is during the Chou Dynasty that longer inscriptions appear. Some are quite poetic. An example of Chou writing appears here on the jade shamanic figure who has hands that are squared circles. Near him (or her) is a short jade cong and a translucent red jade bi with the pattern of gain along with other ritual objects of the era including a jade ax and a bronze sword on the other pedestal from the Chou dynasty. It is called a 'Dragon Sword' and probably was used in actual combat. In the West one wished to kill a Dragon. In the East one wished to become a Dragon. Research on the exact dates for all of the Early Chinese pieces in this exhibition are an ongoing curatorial process. ©Lanier Graham
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