Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

Bronzes Of Ancient China

The Chinese Bronze Age began during the middle of the second millennium before the beginning of our current calendar (B.C).

The early period covers the Shang, Zhou and Han dynasties. Much of what survived into modern day are ritual vessels and some statues. They were included in, burials throughout the period.

Much of these were unearthed during the building of the vast railway network, earlier in the 20th century. It is significant that these bronzes show a highly accomplished level of craftsmanship which expressed itself in a sophisticated design. In contrast, the early Bronze Age in European nations opened up with simple weapons like axes and spearheads.

Only much later did they begin to reflect Western art. The majority of Chinese bronzes, such as ritual vessels, were likely cast from assembled clay piece-moulds and after casting finished off.

The ‘cire-perdue’ (lost-wax) method was also known to the Chinese. While bronzes in Western countries are using compositions of one/tenth tin and nine tenth copper, in China this varied greatly. As lead was likely cheaper than tin it was often used, particularly for ceremonial and burial objects.

Published analyses suggest that during the Shang and Zhou period the tin content, when lead is absent, varies between 14 and 20 per cent. When only copper and lead are used lead may rise to over 30 per cent in the composition. Lead, unlike tin, does not dissolve in the alloy with the copper. It crystallizes and stays in suspension in the copper. Casts with large lead content are more suitable for finishing of fine details.


Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.