Chinese bronzeware was regarded as the vessels of kings and thrived in the Xia, Shang and Zhou Dynasties, signifying the mystery, solemnity and majesty of the imperial court, royal power and order. Our ancestors melted and tempered alloys based on their innovative imagination; and they cast articles with molds and decorated them with eccentric and complicated patterns. Since these wares contain their pious faith, the inscriptions on them are all about the imperial court and state affairs. Particularly in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, bronzeware carried the function of differentiating between relations and social status among people and laying down social institutions and laws. Even in the Iron Age, bronzeware and the patriarchal clan system and the culture of rites and music it represented were still a sign of willpower and authority, becoming a cultural gene in the blood of the Chinese nation. This is what essentially distinguishes Chinese bronze from Western bronze and the reason that Chinese people continued to study and develop bronze making technology based on ancient practices, as well as to learn from the past and explore new ideas.
The 280 pieces (sets) of rare bronzeware presented at this exhibition include not only numerous treasures from the National Museum of China, but also bronze rarities from Hunan Museum and Sanxingdui Museum in Guanghan, Sichuan Province. They are the carriers of ancient material culture and spiritual culture. From them we can get a glimpse of the refined grace of bronzeware in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties and of its preservation and the changes it underwent during the period ranging from the Han Dynasty to the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Bronzeware has been passed down through the generations like an immortal king. In the long history of China, bronzeware evolved from being heavy and thick to light and handy and it entered the life of the common people from the imperial court, awakening the memory of ritual and music culture in the Chinese nation. The exhibition provides an opportunity to greet the true nature of Chinese traditional culture once more.