Bronze Tripod or Cauldron
The bronze ding, a cooking utensil in remote
times, was used like a cauldron for boiling fish and meat. At first, about 5,000
to 6,000 years ago, the ding was made of fired clay,usually with three legs, occasionally
with four that is why it is loosely referred to as "tripod" in English.
It stands steadily and has a nice shape.
With the advent of the slavery system,
China entered the bronze age, and the earthern ding was gradually replaced by
the bronze one. In time, it assumed the role of an important sacrificial vessel
used by the slave-owning aristocrats at ceremonies of worship.
the bronze ding that have been discovered to date, and by far the largest, is
the "Si Mu Wu" ding which dates to the late Shang Dynasty(c.17th to
11th Century B.C.). Weighing 875 kilograms, it is 133 centimeters high and rectangular
in shape, standing on four legs. It was made for the King of Shang to offer sacrifices
to his dead mother Wu. Exquisitely cast, it is considered a rare masterpiece of
the bronze culture the world over. The ding of this historical period have a unique
shape and are often decorated with patterns of animal masks and other distinctive
features characteristic of animal masks and other distinctive features characteristic
of the period. They are important material objects for the study of the ancient
society concerned. Towards the end of the slave society, the ding became a vessel
which, by its size and numbers, indicated the power and status of its aristocrat
owner. At rites, the status of its aristocrat owner. At rites, the emperor used
a series of 9 ding, the dukes and barons 7, senior officials 5, and scholarly
gentlemen 3. From the number of ding yielded by an ancient tomb, one can tell
the status of its dead occupant.
visitors to palaces, imperial gardens and temples of the Ming and Qing courts
can still see beautiful arrays of bronze tripods which were, in their time, both
decorations and status symbols. In the periods when Buddhism was the predominant
faith in the country, the ding was also used as a religious incense-burner. Such
burners, made of bronze, iron or stone in various sizes, can still be seen in
many old temples. In Yonghegong, the famous Beijing lamasery, there is a large
bronze ding with an overall heigh of 4.2 meters, cast with the inscription "made
in the 12th year of Qianlong(1747). It was in this ding that Qing Emperors, which
they went to the temple for worship, were believed to have offered bundles of
burning joss sticks.
Bronze tripods and cauldrons have always fascinated people
with their heirachical associations and their simple but stately forms. So there
has always been a thriving craft devoted to the making of copies or imitations
of them. Normally they are miniatures for table-top decoration often made of other
materials such as jade, agate, lacquer and so on. They represent an important
branch of Chinese arts and crafts.
Name :Pair of Brass Lions
Material : 100% Brass
:W26.50 x D12 x H25 cm
Size(Inch) :10.44"Wx4.73"D x9.85"H
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Name :Pair of Brass Lions
Material : 100% Brass
:W11.50 x D7 x H18 cm
Size(Inch) :4.53"Wx2.76"D x7.09"H
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Name :Chinese Lucky Animal
Material : 100% Brass
:W36 x D20 x H26 cm
Size(Inch) :14.18"Wx7.88"D x10.24"H
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and Chime Stones
These are percussion musical instruments unique to ancient
China. The zhong are made of bronze while the qing generally of stone. They may
be played either individually or in groups. In the latter case, they are hung
in rows on wooden racks and known respectively as bianzhong and bianqing. Struck
with wooden hammers, they produce melodious sounds of various notes. In their
time, they were the important instruments played-either in solo performance or
in ensemble or as accompaniment-during imperial audiences, palace banquets and
1. Stone and Jade Qing
It can be easily imagined
that the stone qing must have been one of the earliest musical instruments in
China. During the Stone Age, the Chinese forefathers, working with stone implements,
founds out that certain sonorous rocks, when knocked, produced musical sounds
and that, by knocking at rocks of different sizes, they could make music. So the
earliest sizes, they could make music. So the earliest man-made chime stones were
born out of those natural rocks. In 1973 a Shang Dynasty(c.17th-11th century B.C.)
chime stone was discovered from the ruins of that age in Anyang, Henan province.
It is grey-coloured and has tiger patterns engraved on it, showing that it had
been used by the imperial court.
The key step in the making of a chime stone
is to give it the right note. Artisans learned long ago how to achieve this. If
the pitch of a Stone was too high, they would grind the two flat faces of the
slab, making it thinner if the pitch was on the low side, they would grind the
ends and make the slab shorter, until the right tone was arrived at.
qing was made much later, following the same idea as for chime stone but using
the more valuable jade as the material. In the hall of Treasures of the forbidden
City can be seen a chime consisting of 12 iade qing. They were made during the
reign of Qianlong(1736-1795) of a previous black jade exquisitely finished on
both sides with gold-painted dragons playing with balls. It is said that the twelve
were chosen out of 160 pieces made at the time by the jade carvers of Suzhou,
Jiangsu Province, involving 90,000 workdays and untold costs.
2. Chime of
To make the chime of bells, an important metal instrument
in ancient times, bronze was invariably used for the best acoustic effect. Early
bells are called yongzhong, rather flat in shape and very much like two concave
tiles joined face to face. Later, however, people stressed the beauty of their
shape and gave them a more and more round body, at the expense of the tonal qualities.
It seems that there was fixed number of bells for each chime. Judging by those
unearthed to date, a chime may be very simple, consisting of 3,6 or 9 bells, or
very complicated, with 13,14,16 or as many as 36 bells.
The most elaborate
ancient bianzhong, a set of 65 bells, was unearthed in 1978 in Suixian County,
Hubei Province, from the tomb of the Marquis of Zeng dating from the Warring States
Period(475-221 B.C.). Their total weight is over 2,500 kilograms, and they were
found hung on a three-tiered rack. The biggest of the bells has an overall heigh
of 153.4 centimetres and a weight of 203.6 kilograms. The whole chime, unprecedented
discovery in the history of musical instrument ever brough to light-not only in
China but in the world as a whole.
Although buried underground for over 2,400
years, the bells still produce fine tones. Ancient and modern music, including
tunes from Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, revived ancient tunes of the Tang Dynasty
and them tunes of modern Chinese Operas, has been played on them with satisfying
Careful study of the bells has revealed that they were cast according
to the 7 tone scale with 5 semitones in between, completing a well-integrated
system of 12 tones. The scale of the whole chime agrees with the modern 7-tone
scale in C major, and its range covers 5 octaves, just two octaves less than the
modern piano. What is more amazing, each bell can produce two different tones,
a unique feature in percussion imstruments.
An inscription of 2,500 characters
engraved on the bells tells of the musical theories and the names of the tones
prevalent at the time as well as the positions where the tones can be produced.
The unearthing of this set of bells has proved beyond all doubt the application
of the twelve-tone equal temperament in Chinese music as early as the 5th century
B.C., providing one more evidence of the antiquity of the Chinese Civilization.
The 65-bell bianzhong can be seen at the Provincial Museum of Hubei in the Central
China city of Wuhan.
Another bianzhong worth seeing is one of 16 bells made
of pure gold during the Qianlong period in the 18th century, now displayed in
the Forbidden City's Hall of Treasures. Cast in unique forms and about the same
size, the 16 bells are of a uniform height of 23.8 cenimetres, but their weight
ranges from 4,703 to 14,316 grams. Round in shape, they produce a rather than
monotonous ring, but they were meant during the heyday of the Qing Dynasty, to
impress viewers with the wealth and extravagance of the imperial house. And they
are indeed very much valued being cast in dazzling gold and engraved with lively
patterns of ball-playing dragons.
The bronze ware were unique national treasures for China n ancient
times for their impressive designs, classical decorative ornamentation, and wealth
of inscriptions. The ancient Chinese society fell into the Stone Tool Age and
the Iron tool age. The earliest stoneware in China was found in 3000 B.C. The
Shang and Zhou dynasties ushered China into the height of the Bronze Age. During
this period the making of bronze ware reached its zenith. After the Spring and
Autumn and Warring States periods China entered the Iron Tool Age. Bronze is the
alloy of cooper and zinc or copper and lead that is bluish grey. The museums across
China and some important museums outside China, have all collected Chinese Bronze
ware dating back to the Shang and Zhou dynasties. Some of them are part of the
cultural heritage passed down through the generations, but most of them were dug
up from underneath the earth. Ancient Chinese Bronze ware fall into three types:
ritual vessels, weapons, and miscellaneous objects. Ritual vessels refer to those
objects employed by aristocrats in sacrificial ceremonies or audiences. Therefore
there is something distinctively religious and shamanist about them. These vessels
include food containers, wine vessels, water pot and musical instruments. Bronze
weapons come in such varieties as knife, sword, spear, halberd, axe, and dagger.
The miscellaneous objects refer to bronze utensils for daily use. In ancient China
the making of bronze ware was dominated by the imperial families and aristocrats.
And the possession of such wares was regarded as a status symbol. In comparison
with counterparts in other parts of the world, the Chinese Bronze ware stand out
for their inscriptions which are regarded as major chapters in the Chinese history