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Bronze Vessels

Bronze has been cast in China for over 5,000 years, and was commonly used until the Shang and Zhou dynasties, most commonly in ancient rituals as well as daily life. The link to ancestral rituals meant that the bronze vessels were greatly desired objects. The majority of bronze items are sacrificial in nature. The sacrificial vessels were kept in the ancestral halls in order to gain favour and grant respect to their departed ancestors, to ensure intercession on behalf of the living in times of need. Other forms of sacrificial vessels include the Ding, a tripod cauldron that often had four legs, and was used for domestic purposes such as cooking, but became infused with ritual symbolism over time, becoming symbols of power and state.
Chinese bronze can be classified in four main areas, as vessels to carry food, wine, water and as musical instruments. Bronze, as an alloy of copper and tin and small amounts of lead, was a very common material to use for early civilizations, and marked the advancement of human culture into the bronze age. Many items of Chinese bronze that have been discovered don't come from everyday objects such as ploughs and swords, although these items are in existence. One of the most famous examples of this is the discovery of the Shang tomb at Anyang in the Henan Province. Uncovered in 1976, it was discovered as the burial chamber of Fuhao, the consort and general of the Emperor Wuding, who led her husbands' troops into battle.

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