Friday, 26 April 2013

Chinese Ritual Bronzes Series Two - JIA Images

Two Images of JIA type vessels

Shang Dynasty Bronze


View from above of a similar vessel

Qing Dynasty Copy in Jade  of a Shang Bronze 

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Ding Sequence Five

A love of the Archaic

The Chinese have their version of collectors mania the idea any old object is valuable. Realisticly antique bronzes are rusty containers but collectors insist that lovely green oxidation adds to the patina and aura of the antique.

We should remember looking at these that originally they were a far different color! Not GREEN!

One of the favorite subjects for the genre we call still life painting are the scholars treasures often a valued ceramic pot or an image of a table with ink and scrolls and brush rest. This 20th century Chinese painting shows two beloved antique bronzes the round and square forms of the ding.

 Here we have the irony of an semiantique depicting antiques?

Ding however are quite beautiful.

Soon I'll be discussing the jia zun jue and other chinese bronzes.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Ding Sequence Four

Ding Sequence Four

Some metal smith seems to realised that the moulds for metal casting allowed one to be have stable metal forms without having to worry about cracks.

You can make a shape like this in clay but you would have to join several slabs and either use a press mould for the sides or press on many smaller pieces.

I have seen vessels in metal and clay very similar to the fang ding used to hold incense sticks in Taoist and buddhist temples.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Ding Sequence Three

The elite of the Shang Dynasty revered objects of bronze and jade suggesting gold was relatively scarce  though it may be that gold was easier to melt down and recycle or traded for jade and tin and other minerals?

Whether decorated or not the shape of the ding stayed very consistent down thru the centuries

Here are two later examples

A Dehau Ming period copy of archaic forms in porcelain

this is a late qing copy of a fang ding the subject of the next blog

A Chinese View of Stonehenge

A Chinese View of Stonehenge

This painting is the work of Fang Zhao Lin a Chinese woman trained in traditional styles who admired the works of Shi Tao.


Monday, 8 April 2013

Friday, 5 April 2013

Ding Sequence One

Once upon a time Neolithic China had tripod ceramic  vessels

then bronze casting technology arrived in the Shang dynasty

Note the distinct shape two handles and three round legs much narrower than the cone legs of ceramic vessels. 

A note for those with no experience of working clay cones are easier to form by hand or wheel than narrow tubes .

Next the character used to write DING.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Ancient Chinese Bronzes

Ancient Chinese Bronze Artifacts have decorative embellishments that show a grand mastery of metal craft. We know that several shapes are derived from pottery forms and vessels but others seem to be evolved and changed as the ancient smiths increased their abilities and skills. Ceramic tripods also appear but never with this elaborate degree of decoration until molds were invented centuries later. 

My next series of Technozi will focus on these bronzes and related developments on jade and ceramics such as the replicas created during the Qing dynasty. 

Most these elaborate vessels ceased to be made perhaps because of a cultural change towards metal being used for statues and mirrors and bells and for  vessels  for temples and the court to be made of jade  clay or gold or silver.

It may be that natural copper arsenic alloys became harder to find and mine and that with the introduction of iron and steel it became easier to create tools capable of carving jade and incising patterns into gold and silver?

Personally I suspect the aristocracy became more and more obsessed with acquiring jade objects when the new sources in Central Asia became available as trade routes extended. We read of white AND green / blue  stone ware and porcelain being compared to jade not bronze.

One form that is still used today and often seen in temples to hold incense sticks is the square ding so perhaps some of those "ritual" vessels contained sand rather than wine or potions or meat offerings?