The Ancient Chinese developed excellent metallurgical skills, and their bronze workers were among the best in the world. I was attracted to the artifact because of the inscription that read, “made this precious ritual vessel for Father Kui; may sons and grandsons use it forever” (Museum of Fine Arts). The inscription means that if the vessel belonged to a leader, his position was hereditary and his sons and their subsequent successors would use the vessel forever. The ritual wine vessels like the one listed above were not meant for everyday use. This vessel shows that the Chinese people of the era had already attached religious connotations to alcohol consumption, and it proves that religion had already taken hold. The wine was probably offered to deceased relatives and ancient spirits. Additionally, only leaders and high-ranking officials were allowed to use such vessels, and this exemplifies the existence of an established social hierarchy because it is the leaders who took charge of such social events. The ritual wine vessel also points to the advanced technological capabilities of the Chinese, metal work required heating, molding, and casting. Moreover, the artistic decorations denote a thriving art sector.
The sculpture, “Maitreya, Buddha of the Future” shows that the Chinese had a well developed religious system in which they believed in deities like gods. At the top of the throne are angel-like figures that appear to descend from heaven, and this shows that they believed in the existence of another realm where their gods resided. The intricate carvings also denote an advanced art sector where artisans could use materials like marble to make exquisite pieces for use in social and religious activities.
Evidently, the Shang dynasty adhered to a certain religion and they used artifacts like the ritual wine vessel above to offer libation to their gods. However, the patterns can not be attributed to a certain clan because religious matters were all-encompassing and they transcended clan boundaries. The existence of the vessel also confirms the presence of well-developed facets of the Shang dynasty like the good art for the inscriptions, trade for obtaining the bronze, which was a raw material for the manufacturing process.
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