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From Bronze to Gold

China Daily Hong Kong Edition | Updated: 2019-11-25 10:24
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It's your rare chance to own a ritual vessel from ancient China, courtesy of famed art dealer and Asian art expert Christian Deydier at his new gallery in Hong Kong.


Ritual bronze food vessel ding, late Shang dynasty, 12th–11th centuries BC, height: 23.9cm. [Photo provided to China Daily]

People in ancient China believed strongly in spirits and the afterlife – and that the deceased required material comfort. The worship and appeasement of the spirits, coupled with the proper care (or lack of it) of ancestors in the afterlife, was thought to exert a direct influence on the lives and fortunes of the living.

Though it's impossible to pinpoint a date, such beliefs probably started as early as the Erlitou culture (circa the 19th–17th/16th centuries BC) during the Xia Dynasty (c.21st century-16th century BC). They gave rise to an active cult of spirit and ancestral worship, which dominated the society of the subsequent Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC) and has survived among the Chinese people up to the present day.

Bronze vessels were especially made for elaborate rituals and worship ceremonies. According to their form and size, they were used to cook or reheat fish or various meats, or to heat fermented beverages made from grains such as rice, sorghum and barley.

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