Monthly Archives: October 2022

[Review] 张昌平《吉金类系:海外及港台地区收藏的中国青铜器研究》(Zhang Changping: Auspicious Metals’ Categories and System: A Study of Chinese Bronze Vessels Collected Overseas and in the Hong-Kong and Taiwan Region)

Zhang Changping 张昌平, Ji jin xi lei: Haiwai ji Gang Tai diqu shoucang de Zhongguo qingtong qi yanjiu 《吉金类系:海外及港台地区收藏的中国青铜器研究》(Auspicious Metals’ Categories and System: A Study of Chinese Bronze Vessels Collected Overseas and in the Hong-Kong and Taiwan Region). Beijing: Kexue Chubanshe 科学出版社, 2020. ISBN: 978-7-030-67212-4, 305 pages, 128 RMB.

Reviewed by Maria Khayutina (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)

Complex polities, often called “early states,” began forming on the territory of the present-day People’s Republic of China during the third Millennium BCE. The introduction of bronze-casting technology during the early second Millennium BCE gave a significant impetus to the rise of new political elites, who now could equip their troops with more lethal and awe-inspiring weapons and – even more conspicuously – allowed those elites to display their power and prestige using metal ritual paraphernalia. Indeed, Neolithic elites already employed elaborated sets of ceramic vessels for sacrificial offerings to their ancestors and feasting with their allies and retinues. Magnificently shimmering metal vessels and, somewhat later, musical bells made by skilled craftsmen enabled the kings of the Shang (ca. 1600–1046/45 BCE) and Zhou (1046/45–256 BCE) dynasties to host impressive sacrificial feasts. Leaders of smaller polities and aristocratic families followed their example and similarly commissioned vessels and bells.

Continue reading