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

79f0f736afc37931b6d1893ce8c4b74543a9116d 1

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