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Cast of Gods: Ming Dynasty Bronzes

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Views: 2898 Added: 07/18/2009 Updated: 07/18/2009

These examples of Chinese bronzes demonstrate why the Chinese are called the "masters of the mold" in a tradition of bronze casting that dates back to before the Shang dynasty (1766-1122BC). These Ming dynasty bronzes embody the dignitaries and deities of the "Three Teachings": Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism.


They not only show the aesthetics and artisanship of the Ming period (1368-1644AD), but also allude to the socio-political climate of the period, when the "Three Teachings merged into One". The reawakening of a more universal form of neo-Confucianism revived reverence for antiquity and brought forth the "100 Antiques", a reference to archaic bronze forms. At the same time, bronze manifestations of such deities as Guanyin, Guandi, Laozi, the Buddha and Wen Chang, to mention but a few, for temples and home shrines, represent the multifarious faces of Chinese divinity in the syncretic religious environment of Ming China.

These bronze figures display techniques such as gold and silver inlay, enamel inlay, gilding and various patination, all of which appeared in this period.

An example of Ming dynasty opulence: in 1427 the Xuande Emperor, received 39,000 (23 tons) caddies of copper as tribute from the King of Siam (Thailand). In 1428, these became ritual bronze vessels. So popular was the demand for bronze vessels for religious, courtly and scholarly use, incense was burned in temples, home shrines as well as scholar's studios in elegant ding shapre bronze censers.

This will open a window onto the inner worlds of the Confucian State cult, with roots in ancient Chinese shamanism, as well as Buddhism and Daoism, through these bronze objects, which reveal the heart and soul of China.
Author:   Edith Frankel - E. & J. Frankel, Ltd.
Phone: 212 879 5733
Web-site: http://www.ejfrankel.com
E-mail: Ask for Details

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Cast of Gods: Ming Dynasty Bronzes
 






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