Ancient Chinese Pottery and Bronze

March 7, 1997 – August 14, 2011

Freer Gallery of Art
Jefferson Drive and 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC

Galleries 14 & 15 Floor Plan

The selection of ceramic and bronze vessels on view begins at the important juncture between the end of the Neolithic pottery tradition and the emergence of the metalworking tradition (around 2000 B.C.E.), and stops at the end of the Bronze Age and the rise of glazed stoneware (around 200 C.E.). The exhibition shows the complex, changing relationship between two of China's oldest artistic traditions.

Clay, jade, and bronze are the dominant materials used in the art of ancient China from around 4000 B.C.E. to the early centuries C.E. Of these, clay and bronze appear to have been closely linked in their developments. Both materials were used to make pots and containers in a variety of shapes, the best of which were buried with their owners as status symbols or signs of wealth. Both required an intimate knowledge of the materials and expert handling to create the finished product.