‘Min’ Fanglei and Selected Bronze Vessels Unearth from Hunan


Date:2015-11-19 ~ 2016-01-31
Venue:No.3 Exhibition Hall

       Hunan province is located in the middle reaches of the Yangtze River in Southern China. According to archaeological finds, the bronze culture from Central Plains came into Hunan during early and middle period of the Shang dynasty. In late Shang, Hunan became one of the major areas to the south of the Yangtze River where bronzes were produced.
   The bronze wares unearthed from Hunan dated Shang and Zhou periods were of different cultures. Among them some pieces are identical to those from Central Plains in the form, decoration and inscription, while the others appear to be quite different, which not only combine the characteristics of the bronze from Central Plains to result in new features, but also stay connected with those from other areas in the basin of Yangtze River. Most pieces were found from hoards. The excavation sites were mainly located at mountaintops, hillsides, rivers and lakes as well as their banks. A single vessel was found in most cases, but sometimes jade and smaller bronze wares were found inside the vessel, which is thought to result from a unique sacrificial ritual popular in Hunan area then. Most of bronze wares unearthed from Hunan were wine vessels cast in shape of animals and in large size. The eleven pieces on display are selected from over 300 pieces dated Shang and Zhou dynasties found in Hunan, which basically contain all characteristics mentioned above. Thus, the significance and meaning of this exhibition lie not only in academic researches, but in getting to understand the bronze culture in Hunan area.
   Hunan bronze wares have been renowned for their unique shapes, splendid designs and exquisite casting. ‘Min’ fanglei, the highlight of the exhibition, is regarded as an unparalleled treasure. Its experience of passing through many hands and places calls for deeper thought. Other well-known objects, such as ‘Da he’ fangding and the zun vessels in shape of elephant and pig, are also highly valuable in bronze art.
   We sincerely hope that visitors would enjoy these wonderful works of art from Hunan province.