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Bronze & Metalworks
Epitomizing China's ancient civilization and rich cultural heritage, bronze artifacts have been treasured items ever since the time of the Shang (16th - 11th century BC) and Zhou (11th century - 221 BC) aristorcrats for whom they were made. Ritual bronzes served as ceremonial offerings to ancestors, as banquet utensils, and occasionally as formal gifts. Members of China's nobility possessed sets of bronzes, the sizes and types of which conveyed the social status of their owners.


Bronze Age artisans mastered complex casting techniques and produced vessels with rich decoration. In the period from the fifth to the third century BC China's Iron Age began, but the metal industry was still dominated by bronze casting.

Many bronzes have been found in the border areas of China. Characterized by distinctive shapes and local styles, these bronzes exhibit the artistic achievements of minority people living in the border areas, and they also supply valuable evidence of cultural exchanges among the different nationalities of ancient China.