The Chinese had mastered bronze making already in the
2nd millennium B.C. Bronze was used to cast ritual vessels, weapons,
tools, coins and items for personal adornment. With archaeological
excavations of tombs in China in recent decades and subsequent research
both by Chinese and Western scholars, we have witnessed an increasing
number of works and reports published on bronzes. This section also
lists works on other Chinese metalwork, such as gold, silver and cloisonne.
Bagley, Robert W. Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur
M. Sackler Collections. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press,
First of the three volumes in the series Ancient
Chinese Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, it lists
104 bronze pieces attributed to the Shang period (2nd half of
the 2nd millennium B.C.) The author=s scholarship, detailed analysis
and review of previous studies of the subject has made the book
a leading source for studying Chinese bronze in general and bronze
technology in particular.
_____. AShang Ritual Bronzes: Casting Techniques and
Vessel Design,@ Archives of Asian Art 43 (1990), p. 6-20.
An updated and shorter summary of issues discussed
in the above book, related to the author=s 1981 dissertation Bronze
Casting in the Shang Period, focusing both on metallurgical
techniques and artistic aspects.
_____. Hou-ma t=ao fan i shu = Art of the Houma
Foundry. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996.
A pictorial survey of two centuries of Chinese bronze
decoration as recorded in casting debris excavated from Houma
Foundry, the largest foundry site in the world. The book was the
winner of the 1996 Shimada prize.
Brinker, Helmut and Albert Lutz. Chinese Cloisonne:
The Pierre Uldry Collection. New York: The Asia Society Galleries,
Translated from the 1985 exhibition catalog of the
Reitberg Museum, Zurich, the catalog is fully illustrated with
a lengthy discussion on the art form. Also included is a useful
chart of historical events of the Ming and Qing and a glossary
of decorative motifs.
Bunker, Emma C. AGold in the Ancient Chinese World:
a Cultural Puzzle,@ Artibus Asiae 53, no. 1-2 (1993), p.
27-50. and AThe Enigmatic Role of Silver in China,@ Orientations,
vol. 25, no. 11 (Nov. 1994), p. 73-78.
Discusses gold and silver in China.
Chase, W. Thomas. Ancient Chinese Bronze Art: Casting
the Precious Sacral Vessel. New York: China House Gallery, 1991.
Formerly head of Department of Conservation and
Scientific Research of the Freer and an expert on bronzes, the
author wrote this exhibition catalog on the techniques of bronze
Chinese Bronzes of Yunnan, forward by Jessica
Rawson. London: Sidgwich and Jackson, 1983.
Focuses on Chinese bronzes from one province, Yunnan,
and their characteristics.
Delbanco, Dawn Ho. Art from Ritual: Ancient Chinese
Bronze Vessels from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Cambridge,
MA: Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, 1983.
Catalog of an exhibition at the Fogg Art Museum
in 1983, a much slimmer volume compared to the three works in
the series Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler
Falkenhausen, Lothar von. Suspended Music: Chime-bells
in the Culture of Bronze Age China. Berkeley: University of
California Press, 1993.
In 1977/78 the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng (d. ca.
433 B.C.) was discovered in Hubei Province and more than 7000
items were excavated, among them 65 bronze bells. This is a comprehensive
overview of historical information on chime-bells, types, physical
properties, technology, and musicological aspects for study of
early Chinese music.
The Great Bronze Age of China: an Exhibition from
the People=s Republic of China, edited by Wen C. Fong. New York:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980.
A catalog of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum
of Art and other U. S. museums, with focus on the Shang and Zhou
dynasties, displaying important recent archaeological finds. The
work not only describes carefully the objects of bronze and jade,
such as bronzes from Lady Fu Hao=s tomb, but also gives a valuable
assessment of the contribution they have made to our understanding
of the Bronze Age.
The Great Bronze Age of China: A Symposium,
edited by George Kuwayama. Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum
of Art, 1983.
Consists of 10 scholarly papers delivered at the
May 1981 symposium in conjunction with the above-mentioned exhibition.
Kelley, Clarence W. Chinese Gold and Silver in
American Collections: Tang Dynasty, A.D. 618-907. Dayton, Ohio:
Dayton Art Institute, 1984.
Catalog of a traveling exhibition of Tang gold and
Kerr, Rose. Later Chinese Bronzes.[Victoria
and Albert Museum Far Eastern series] London: Victoria and Albert
One of the few books on later Chinese bronzes, the
work concentrates on the Ming and Qing periods, includes a discussion
on inlaid decoration, metal-works, fakes and forgeries.
Lawton, Thomas. Chinese Art of the Warring States
Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, DC:
Freer Gallery of Art, 1982.
Catalog of an exhibition in 1982/83, describing
bronze, jades and lacquer pieces of the Warring States period
from the Freer collections. As is typical of the author each object
is thoroughly researched and documented, with bibliographical
Li, Hsüeh-ch=in. Chinese Bronzes, a General Introduction
[Chung-kuo ch=ing t=ung ch=i kai shuo. English] Beijing:
Foreign Languages Press, 1995.
As the title indicates it is a general history of
Chinese bronzes, tracing back to its origin, its development,
inscriptions on vessels, motifs, techniques of casting, and various
shapes. The author is one of the renowned authorities on Chinese
bronzes and has conducted research on Chinese bronzes in collections
outside of China.
MacKenzie, Colin. Southern Traditions of Bronze-work
in China During the Eastern Zhou Period (770-221 B.C.) Ph.D.
thesis, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London,
The study surveys the development of regional traditions
including Hubei, Jiangsu, Anhui, Hunan provinces, describing their
distinctive styles which evolved from local traditions.
Mowry, Robert D. China=s Renaissance in Bronze:
the Robert H. Clague Collection of Later Chinese Bronzes 1100-1900.
Phoenix: Phoenix Art Museum, 1993.
The essay-like entries for objects of the exhibition
organized by the Phoenix Art Museum, and the extensive notes and
bibliographies serve as a guide for identifying later bronze pieces.
Munsterberg, Hugo. Chinese Buddhist Bronzes.
New York: Hacker, 1988. Reprint of the 1967 edition.
O=Donoghue, Diane M. AReflection and Reception: the
Origins of the Mirror in Bronze Age China,@ Bulletin of the Museum
of Far Eastern Antiquities 62 (1990), p. 5-183.
Originally the author=s Ph.D. thesis, the work documents
the origins of bronze mirrors and their production during the
Zhou and the Warring State periods, based on archaeological finds
from the 1950s to 1980s.
Owyoung, Steven D. Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the
Saint Louis Art Museum. St. Louis: The St. Louis Art Museum,
The work is not only a catalog of the museum=s ancient
Chinese bronze collection, but also has an essay by Thomas Lawton
on Chinese bronze collections and catalogs outside of China and
the collecting of these bronzes. It also includes technical analyses.
The Problem of Meaning in Early Chinese Ritual
Bronzes (Colloquies on Art & Archaeology in Asia ; no. 15),
edited by Roderick Whitfield. London: Percival David Foundation
of Chinese Art, 1993.
Papers focus on the meaning of the Shang and Zhou
bronze motifs, especially the taotie motif.
Rawson, Jessica. Chinese Bronzes: Art and Ritual.
London: British Museum Publications, 1987.
This work is a catalog accompanying an exhibition
of bronzes from the British Museum. The objects were chosen to
illustrate the artistic and technological achievements of Chinese
bronze casting from 1500 B.C. to the end of the 3rd century B.C.
The essay highlights the characteristics of each period from the
Shang to the Zhou, followed by detailed catalog entries.
_____. Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur
M. Sackler Collection. Washington, DC: The Arthur M. Sackler
Second in the series Ancient Chinese Bronzes
in the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, the 2-volume work covers
the period of Western Zhou (11th c.-771 B.C.)
_____ and Emma C. Bunker. Ancient Chinese and Ordos
Bronzes. Hong Kong: Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong, 1990.
Catalog of an exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum
of Art, with detailed descriptions of the objects of Chinese and
Ordos bronzes, their characteristics and changing values.
Shaughnessy, Edward L. Sources of Western Zhou
History: Inscribed Vessels. Berkeley: Oxford University Press,
Aims at providing a comprehensive introduction to
the inscribed bronzes of the Western Zhou dynasty (1045-771 B.C.).
The work also demonstrates the value of the inscriptions as historical
documents. Major reference works available in the field, a survey
of techniques of casting inscribed bronzes, and problems surrounding
their authenticity are also included.
So, Jenny. Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the
Arthur M. Sackler Collections. New York: The Arthur M. Sackler
Foundation in association with the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian
The 3rd in the series Ancient Chinese Bronzes
in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, the work covers the
period of Eastern Zhou (770-221 B.C.)
_____ and Emma C. Bunker. Traders and Raiders on
China=s Northern Frontier. Washington, DC: Arthur M. Sackler
Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Seattle: University of Washington
Catalog of an exhibition at the Arthur M. Sackler
Gallery, the work is the result of recent studies on intercultural
contacts between the ancient Chinese and the tribes to their north,
covering the background, trade and contact, luxury exports, and
belt ornaments, most of them made of bronze or metal.
White, Julia and Emma C. Bunker. Adornment for
Eternity: Status and Rank in Chinese Ornament. Denver: Denver
Art Museum, 1996.
Catalog of an exhibition of 113 objects of adornment
as indicators of status and rank in ancient society. Prominent
on display were objects of gold and silver.