Essay Proposal

Essay Topic: What is Chinese tomb art? Compare two bronzes from the Shang dynasty.

Sources of information:

  • National Museum of China website
  • The Palace Museum of China
  • Books: Early Chinese Art from Tombs& Temples, The Arts of China, Art in China
  • etc.

Tentative Structure of essay

Introduction of Chinese Tomb Art:

  • Origin of Chinese Tomb Art
  • Chinese tomb art is funerary art
  • Belief in afterlife, religion, human sacrifice
  • Types of vessels
  • Skills & materials
  • Functions: Daily usage; ritual used (Who were they dedicated to)
  • Values of the tomb art & development

The Shang Dynasty Bronzes:

  • Introduction of bronzes from Shang dynasty(3 stages)
  • Types ( including vessels, weapons, musical instruments, implements, agricultural tools, horse and chariot fittings and all sorts of everyday objects. )
  • Comparison between two bronzes. One from the early stage and the other from a later stage when the techniques were developed & mature.
  • Comparing on techniques, patterns, types, change of focus etc.
  • What are the meanings behind the changes & differences

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A simple drinking vessel from early Shang & the famous Square vessel (fang zun) with four rams from late Shang

Possible statement:

The bronzes are a manifestation of the politics, economics, culture and life of their time; a time capsule concept





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Lin Chenyue

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One thought on “Essay Proposal”

  1. This is a good start. I appreciate your detailed introduction. Curious–were bronze vessels really used in daily life? Please check on this.
    Claim is too broad for now. You could be writing a Ph.D. thesis on this topic! But, you do seem to have an interesting idea lurking behind the question “what are the meanings behind these changes?” It is still too broad.
    So, please find a claim from the nice comparison you have chosen to do by framing your claim as a comparison (i.e. similarities and differences).

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