Artful Photos: Chinese Bronzes & Replicas (Part 2)

This is a continuation of photos Taken at the Chicago Art Institute of an exhibit of Chinese bronzes, March 6, 2018.

Beginning in the first century A.D. (C.E. – Common Era, which I will use in this post), there were two types of collectors of ancient bronzes: emperors and the elite scholar-officials (shidafu). Rulers saw these ancient artworks as a symbol of moral and political authority. From the 1100s onward, intellectuals and artists outside the imperial palace were also engaged in collecting and studying ancient bronzes, especially their inscriptions.

The following pieces were collected during the Song Dynasty (8th-12th centuries C.E.). 20180306_135421.jpg
The Song Dynasty instituted a civil service system based on Confucian principles. Scholars began studying antiquities systematically, cataloguing their physical features and inscriptions.
20180306_135640Emperor Huizong (ruled 1100-1126) of the Song Dynasty was the first Chinese emperor to enshrine collecting as a serious endeavor. He assembled a huge collection of ancient bronzes and replicated many of them.20180306_135649
Huizong attempted to establish a new political order by referring to a past that no longer existed.

In the Qing and Ming Dynasties, replicas were made of ancient bronzes using different materials.


Censer in the form of an ancient bronze tripod cauldron (Ding), Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), nephrite jade



Censer in the form of a ancient bronze rectangular cauldron (Fangding), Qing Dynasty, nephrite jade



Beaker in the form of an ancient bronze container (Zun), Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), Cloisonné



Censer in the form of an ancient bronze tureen (Gui), Ming Dynasty, Cloisonné

There were many different animal forms, which I especially liked.
This one looks like it was made of metal objects which were soldered together. Note the two-colored patterns on the side.
I also loved this beautiful red container, embossed with intricate repeated designs.
The following are two paintings of a set of 12 commissioned by Emperor Yongzheng, portraying palace consorts known as court beauties (meiren), surrounded by or using antiquities. The first is of a young woman looking into a mirror. The photo just below it shows the type of ancient bronze mirror she was using.


Court Lady Looking into a Mirror (from Twelve Beauties), artist unknown. She is sitting on a couch made from tree roots and looking into a bronze mirror. On the screen behind her is a poem that Yongzheng wrote.



Ancient bronze mirrors with inscriptions and decoration



A bronze jar (hu) from the Han Dynasty (206BCE-220CE) sits on the lacquered table where this lady sits. Behind her are cabinets of antiquities, including a beaker (gu) from the Shang Dynasty (c. 1600-1046 BCE) and a bell (bo) from the Zhou Dynasty (1046-256 BCE).

Part 3 next week will include paintings, rubbings, and music!









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