Treasures of China by Michael Ridley

By Michael Ridley

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Excavations re-opened in 1950 after the establishment of the People's Republic of China and continued throughout the Cultural Revolution. These recent excavations are extremely valuable to us as bronzes and other artifacts unearthed have been able to be associated with stratigraphy and each other, something almost impossible before. The travelling exhibition of archaeological treasures of China sent out by the Chinese Government in 1973 has provided the first opportunity not only to see many unique antiquities, but also objects which have been unearthed in modern excavations, and therefore are accompanied by information gained at the time of discovery in the soil.

The cracks produced by heating these bones would be interpreted by the oracle for his may describe two types of vessel, a tall slender vessel, related to prehistoric pots of similar shape, and vessels in the form of animals. The Yu is a say that it clien t. bucket like vessel with hd and swinging handle. C. It is ritual bronzes. characterised by an inverted the Li/Ting, almost bell shaped body, with splayed legs which taper to a mixing wine with water, it has a spout, handle and lid rather like a teapot.

With them sprang up a class bronze workers and artisans. Bronze was monopolised by the of aristocratic warrior hunters. This freed the rural settlements to devote their attention to ruling classes, the peasants continued to use tools not greatly advanced from the Neolithic period, including stone sickles and wooden spades. The dual function of Shang society of co-existing complementary town and village populations proved an important step in Chinese civilization. Shang sites mainly developed from Neolithic sites, with many of the Neolithic traditions being continued, modified and adapted by the Bronze Age communities.

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