Exhibition

Ancient Bronzes.

Masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum

02 February 2008 to 12 October 2008

The world-renowned and unique collection of bronze masterpieces from the Shanghai Museum can now be seen in the Groninger Museum. The exhibition has been specially compiled for the Museum and presents ancient objects from the Chinese Bronze Age, from the 18th century BC up to the beginning of the Christian era.

Most items have recently been discovered in burial chambers. In addition to being used for more practical matters, the bells, wine flasks, water jugs and food containers found were also used for religious, ritual and ceremonial purposes. These uniquely decorated objects, with abstract patterns and images of plants, realistically painted animals as well as dragons and phoenixes from mythology, transport the visitor back to the world of Ancient China. An exceptional item is the collecting jar decorated with 7 bulls. This cowry was a storage place for shells that served as currency. In terms of art and technology, the many objects in the Antique Bronzes exhibition illustrate just how advanced the Chinese actually were in the Bronze Age.

  • Cowrie-container with seven yaks, Western Han (206 B.C.-A.C. 8), Courtesy Shanghai Museum