Casting is an important pillar in the 5000 years of Chinese civilization. At the beginning of casting production, art casting has been born, which is enough to show the beauty of casting technology. Chinese ancient art casting has created many exquisite castings, and the casting technology is superb, unique in the long history, and has long been in the leading position in the world. Today, what we want to share with you is the peak works from different times and different casting techniques in ancient Chinese art casting.
1. Bronze statue of horse head
The pinnacle of wax loss casting
The bronze statue of the horse head was cast in the Qianlong period of the Qing Dynasty. In 1860, the British and French allied forces invaded Beijing, and the Yuanmingyuan was looted and burned. The bronze statue of the horse head and 11 other bronze statues of the animal head were lost overseas. In 2007, it was purchased by Stanley Ho and donated to the country. It is now in the National Museum of China.
The bronze statue of the horse’s head is made of refined red copper, which has a high melting point and poor fluidity, and is easy to fail in the casting process. However, it gives the horse’s head a deep and thick color, and it has not rusted after a hundred years of rain, showing a high technological level. The horse’s mouth, neck, and even its mane are all made at one time. This technique of casting and molding by the lost wax method is even more perfect.
2. Prince Wu Ding
At that time, the manufacturing technology was world-class
The Prince Wu Ding is a bronze ware of the State of Chu during the Spring and Autumn Period. It was unearthed in the Chu tomb of Xiasi in Xichuan County, Henan Province in 1978. It is now in the National Museum of China.
According to the analysis of metallurgical experts, the Ziziwu tripod was made by casting and welding. It adopted new ideas such as mortise and tenon, intermediary and so on. The manufacturing technology was very exquisite and superb. It was a first-class level in the world at that time.
Among them, the upper part of the tripod is embossed with animal face patterns, and the outer wall and ears of the belly of the tripod are carved with dragon-shaped patterns and coiled cobra patterns that were popular at that time. It was separately cast by wax loss method and then welded to the tripod body, showing a high casting level.
3. Four sheep square statue
The pinnacle of traditional pottery model
The four-sheep square statue is a bronze sacrificial vessel and sacrificial object in the late Shang Dynasty. Unearthed in 1938 on the hillside of Yueshanpu Zhuanerlun, Huangcai Town, Ningxiang County, Hunan Province. It is now in the National Museum of China. It is one of the ten national treasures handed down from generation to generation.
The most commendable thing about Siyang Fangzun is its exquisite bronze casting technology, which is called the peak of traditional pottery model. It is honored as the most outstanding work in the history of Chinese bronze casting. According to experts’ research, during the casting process, the horn of the sheep was cast separately, then placed in the joint of the sheep’s head, and then cast in accordance with the model. Because of its superb skills, the whole utensil looked extremely harmonious.
4. Zun Pan of Marquis Yi of Zeng
The peak of bronze craft in the Warring States Period
The Zun Pan of Marquis Yi of Zeng is an early bronze of the Warring States Period. It was unearthed from the tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng at Leigu Dun in Sui County (now Suizhou City), Hubei Province, in 1978. It is now in Hubei Provincial Museum.
Three thousand years ago, the casting techniques of the ancients are still fantastic. This complex bronze was made by casting, welding, inlaying and riveting! There are more than 100 dragons and dragons used in the Zun Pan, which are complicated and intricate, and extremely beautiful. The appearance of this style of bronze vessels overturned our concept of the thick form of traditional bronze ritual vessels, and greatly reflected the exquisite craftsmanship of the Warring States period.
5. Mao Gongding
The bronze with the longest inscription found so far
Mao Gongding, a bronze of the late Western Zhou Dynasty, was unearthed in Qishan, Shaanxi Province (now Qishan County, Baoji City) in the 23rd year of Daoguang, Qing Dynasty (1843), and is now in the Taipei Palace Museum.
Mao Gongding, together with the Great Yu Ding, San’s Pan and Guo Jizi’s White Pan, is known as the “Four National Treasures”. The Maogong tripod has a large mouth, a semicircular deep belly, three feet in the shape of animal hooves, and tall and thick upright ears on the edge of the mouth. The whole shape is solid and dignified. What really makes it famous around the world is the inscription cast on the inner wall, with a total of 32 lines and 499 characters. This is the longest bronze article found so far.
6. Bronze gilded Avalokitesvara statue
Casting technology represents the highest technical level in the Ming Dynasty
The bronze gilded Avalokitesvara statue was given to the famous Qutan Temple in Qinghai by the Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. It is now in Qinghai Provincial Museum.
The bronze gilded Avalokitesvara statue is a national treasure. Whether it is the size, the craftsmanship and the beauty of the body, it can be said that it has reached the peak of the art of ancient gold and copper statues in China, and is the representative work of Yongxuan style gold and copper statues in the Ming Dynasty.
The object is graceful and stands on the lotus seat. The dress lines are smooth and elegant, with a smile on the face, a gentle expression, and gilded all over. Its casting technology represents the highest technical level in the Ming Dynasty.
7. Gilded bronze ox
Reflecting the superb level of the casting technology of Xixia bronze
The gilded bronze ox is a bronze ware of the Western Xia Dynasty. It was unearthed in 1977 in the Western Xia Tomb, known as the “Oriental Pyramid”. It is a national treasure and is now in the Ningxia Museum.
The gilded bronze ox reflects the superb level of the Xixia bronze casting technology and is a treasure of the Xixia art. This bronze ox bends and lies down. It is strong, well-proportioned, lifelike and huge. The bronze ox is hollow and has a golden appearance. Smelting, mold sculpture, casting, polishing, and gilding are required to be integrated in the production, reflecting the superb level of the Xixia bronze casting technology.
Chinese traditional casting technology has created countless art treasures in the long river of historical development. These seemingly cold metal castings have strong continuity and exquisite artistic sense, telling the story of one era after another.