Home > Resources > e-Learning
A Marvelous Journey Through Bronzes!

1 The Marvelous Journey of Bronze – Course Summary

1 The Wisdom of the Ancients: The Discovery of Bronze Sets a Milestone in the Development of Science and Civilization
2 The Treasure Hunt: The Search for Bronze Materials
2-1 Countless Forms
2-2 Strength and Durability
2-3 Brilliant Exteriors
2-4 Graceful Sound
3 The Bronze Age in Four Major Ancient Civilizations
3-1 Bronzes of the Nile River
3-2 Mesopotamian Bronzes
3-3 Bronze in Ancient India
3-4 Ancient Chinese Bronzes
4 Let's Begin the Marvelous Journey of Bronze! An Introduction to the National Palace Museum's Bronze Course
4-1 Introductory Tour
4-2 In-Depth Tour
4-3 Exploratory Tour

2 Treasures of Outstanding Craftsmanship: Bronze Vessel Types and Functions

1 Going Back in Time: Funerary Items of the Ancient Aristocracy
2 Clashing Cups:Bronze Vessel Functions
2-1 Bronze Vessel Names that Identify Shape
2-2 The Various Functions of Bronzes
2-2-1 Water Vessels
2-2-2 Wine Vessels
2-2-3 Food Vessels
2-3 Sonorous Bronzes
2-4 A Keen Intellect and a Keen Blade: Bronze Weapons
3 The Symbolism of Bronzes: The Nine Ting of the Hsia, and Bronzes as a Mark of Wealth
3-1 From the Nine Cauldrons of the Hsia Dynasty to Dredging the Ninth Cauldron from the River Ssu: Bronzes as Symbols of the Crown
3-2Bronzes and the System of Rites
3-2-1 The Erh-li-t'ou Culture Period
3-2-2 The Shang Dynasty
3-2-3 The Western Chou Dynasty
3-2-4 The Eastern Chou Dynasty: The Spring and Autumn and Warring States Periods

3 The Pursuit of Beauty – Forms and Patterns Found in Ancient Bronze Decor

1 The Pursuit of Beauty
2 Symbols of Status – The Stylistic Originality of Bronze Forms
2-1 Form and Function
2-2 Diverse Beauty
3 Beasts in Bronze – The Mystery of Ancient Decor
3-1 The Origins and Significance of Decorative Motifs
3-1-1 The Mysterious Animal Mask
3-1-2 The Auspicious Phoenix
3-1-3 The Revered Dragon
3-2 The Stylistic Development of Decorative Designs

4 The Story of Writings in Bronze- Unlocking the Secrets of Bronze Inscriptions

1 Reading Between the Lines: Bronze Inscriptions and Periodization
2 History Within Every Character: The Importance of Bronze Inscriptions
2-1 The Origins of Chinese Writing
2-2 A Valuable Historical Resource
2-3 Bronzes Inscriptions as Clues to Dating and the Differentiation of the Genuine from Imitations
3 A Dialogue with the Ancestors: The Content of Bronze Inscriptions
3-1 From Clan Insignia to Recording Historical Events
3-2 Inscriptions Become Increasingly Long
3-3 Composing a Bronze Inscription
4 Special Characteristics of the Writing Script Used In Bronze Inscriptions
4-1 Elegance and Ostentation
4-2 Lines with Round, Gentle Curves

5 Ancient Status Symbols: The Exquisitely Crafted Bronzes of the Shang

1 In Search of the Original Owner of the Bronze
2 A Noblewoman Buried with Bronze
2-1 The Grand Tombs of the Shang Aristocracy
2-2 The Secrets Revealed by Burial Bronzes
2-2-1 Status Based on Number of Bronzes
2-2-2 Status Based on the Degree of Workmanship in the Bronze Decoration
2-3 Status Based on Bronze Inscriptions
3 The Bronze Treasures of The NPM : Cast By Ancient Aristocrats
3-1 A Rare Treasure: The Shang Dynasty P’an Plate with Dragon Decor
3-2 The Bronze Yu with Animal Decor : A Rare Treasure From the Shang Dynasty
3-3 The Shang Dynasty Bronze Hu
3-4 The Shang Dynasty Bronze Ku

6 Enduring Emblems : The Family Crests of the Ya-ch'ou Clan

1 The Family Crest - A Mark of Noble Lineage
2 Who Had Family Crests?
2-1 The Purpose of Casting a Family Crest
2-2 The Artistic Format of the Family Crest
3 The History and Taste of the Ya-ch'ou Clan
3-1 The Hegemonic Ya-ch'ou Clan
3-2 The Artistic Taste of the Ya-ch'ou Clan
3-2-1 A Unique Square Shape
3-2-2 Protruding Double-Hooked Flanges
3-2-3 Animal Decorations Cast in High Relief
3-2-4 A Brief Reflection on Regional Styles

7 History Cast in Bronze: The Inscriptions of the Mao-kung Ting, the San P'an, and the Tsung Chou Chung

1 Treasures with Important Historical Implications
2 The Mao-kung Ting
2-1 How the Mao-kung Ting's Inscription Brought It Fame
2-2 The Bronze Inscription Reveals King Hsuan's Hopes for his Kingdom
2-2-1 King Hsuan of the Chou Commands the Duke of Mao to Look After Political Affairs
2-2-2 The King Bestows Valuable Gifts on the Duke of Mao
2-2-3 The Duke of Mao Has a Bronze Ting Cast To Show His Gratitude Towards the King
2-3 The Mao-kung Ting Inscription As Calligraphic Model
2-4 Defects Demonstrate a Decline in Workmanship
3-1 Probably the Fairest Political Contract in History
3-2 Nobles Struggle for Power
3-2-1 Vassal States Contest the "Well-Field" Land Allocation System
3-2-2 From Ruler to Observer
3-3 The Rhythmic Quality of Bronze Inscriptions
4-1 The Military Victory of King Li of the Chou
4-2 Establishing Royal Ownership
4-3 Lilting Tones Instilling Awe In All

8 More Than Just a Pretty Picture: the Evolution and Significance of Bronze Decoration

1 What Ancient Bronze Decorations Can Tell Us About the Religious Beliefs of the Shang and Chou Dynasties
2 The Animal Mask Motif: A Shamanistic Medium of Communication with Heaven
2-1 The Shang, Worshippers of the Animal Mask
2-2 The Animal Mask During the Western Chou
3 The Phoenix Motif: One of Heaven's Messengers
3-1 The Shang Dynasty Black Bird, A Messenger from Heaven
3-2 The Bird Motif Becomes a Phoenix as it Wings its Way into the Western Chou
4 The Dragon Pattern: Another Messenger from Above
4-1 The Origins of the Dragon
4-2 The Dragon in the Western Chou
5 Geometric Patterns: Purely Decorative Styles
5-1 Shang Dynasty Geometric Designs as Complements Accompanying a Central Motif
5-2 Geometric Patterns in the Chou Dynasty
6 The Use of Human Figures as Decorative Devices

9 Music from the Ancients: The Story of the Bronze Bell

1 Percussive Instruments Sound the Beginning of Music in China
2 Chimes Capable of Producing Beautiful Harmonies
2-1 The Appearance of Oblate "Double Tile" Chime Bells
2-2 The Science Behind the Casting of the Pien-chung Chime Bell
2-2-1 One Bell, Two Notes
2-2-2 Solving the Problem of Harmonic Interference
2-2-3 Ability to Finetune for Perfect Pitch
3 How the Chime Bells were Arranged and Played
3-1 The Arrangment of the Chime Bells
3-2 Marquis Tseng-hou-i's ensemble
4 The Tzu-fan He-chung
4-1 The Shape and Decoration of the Tzu-fan He-Chung
4-2 Tzu-Fan Helps Duke Wen of Chin to Become Overlord

10 The Advanced Bronze Casting Techniques of the Ancients

1 The Treasure Buried Below Copper Grass
2 Ancient Alchemy: Ancient Chinese Mining and Smelting Methods
2-1 The Ancients' Inexhaustible Treasure
2-2 Advanced Equipment Used in Ancient Mines
2-3 Born of Flames: The Smelting Process
3 The Importance of Different Alloys in Chinese Bronzes
3-1 The Secrets of Alloy Formulae
3-2 Alloy Formulae in an Ancient Text
4 An Advanced Bronze Industry
4-1 The Piece-Mold Process
4-1-1 The Whole Casting Technique
4-1-2 The Separate Casting Technique
4-2 The Disappearing Model Trick: The Lost Wax Process
5 Ancient Bronze Decorative Techniques
5-1 Inlay
5-2 Gold and Silver Inlay
5-3 Gilding

11 The Conservation and Restoration of Bronzes

1 Damaged and Diseased Bronze Vessels
2 The Causes and Symptoms Of Damage and Disease in Bronzes
2-1 Physical Damage
2-2 Chemical Corrosion: Rust and Bronze Disease
3 A Visit to the Doctor's
3-1 General Examination
3-2 Equipment
4 Treatment
4-1 The Principles Behind Restoration and Conservation
4-2 Dealing with Physical Damage
4-3 Treating Chemical Damage
5 Maintaining Good Health

12 The Collection and Study of Ancient Bronzes

1 The Collection and Study of Ancient Bronzes
2 Traditional Approaches to the Study of Ancient Bronzes in China
2-1 The Beginnings of Scholarly Inquiry: The Sung Dynasty
2-1-1 Learning About the Ancients through their Bronzes
2-1-2 A Milestone in the Study of Ancient Bronzes: The K'ao Ku T'u
2-1-3 Sung Dynasty Imitation Bronzes Made for the Court
2-2 The Imitation and Study of Antiquities during the Ming and Ch'ing Dynasties
2-2-1 Interest in and Imitation of Antiquities during the Late Ming
2-2-2 The Study of Epigraphy during the Ch'ing Dynasty
3 The Introduction of Modern Western Archaeological and Art Historical Techniques
3-1 The Major Force Behind the Recent Study of Ancient Bronzes: Modern Archaeology
3-1-1 Archaeological Stratigraphy
3-1-2 Typology
3-2 Historical Methods