The origins of bronze-working in China are mysterious and deeply rooted in ancient Chinese myths. Metallurgy in all its forms seemed miraculous to the ordinary man, and every object, sword or vessel was thought to possess a spirit of its own.
Those who worked with metals seemed to be wizards with supernatural powers, all the more so because the melting operation was preceded, accompanied and followed by religious ceremonies, exorcism and magic rites. M. Bussagli describes the background to the production of Chinese bronzes in fascinating detail, and explains the significance of the different types of ritual vessel and the symbolism of the stylized decoration. The fine illustrations include objects from the Shang, Chou, Han and T'ang periods, and each described fully in the accompanying notes.
Published by Casell Publishers, London, 1987
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