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Bronze

Bronze plays an eminently important role in the production of works of art in China.

Thus, from the archaic periods of the Shang dynasties (16th century BC - around 1050 BC) and Zhou (circa 1050 BC - 221 BC), Chinese craftsmen mastered the most advanced casting techniques, creating ritual bronzes with luxurious and complex decorations.

These ancient Chinese ceremonial bronze vessels in li, hu, jue, touhu, zun, gui, fangding shapes of pre-imperial dynasties Shang and Zhou are the main source of inspiration for the Ming and Qing bronzes that pay tribute to their shapes. A tribute is also paid to them through the use of archaic decorative patterns such as the taotie mask, kui dragons, fantastic animals or leiwen motifs found on these bronze vases, jugs and censers. The Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911) developed black, light-brown patinas decorated with gold splash effects or bronzes inlaid with silver and silver threads.

Religious bronzes also represent an important part of Chinese artistic production. The statues and statues of Buddhas, lamas, Bodhisattvas in chiseled and gilded bronze or lacquered bronze, as well as precious ritual objects (Tibetan, Sino-Tibetan, Nepali and Chinese) guide the religious fervor of the Buddhist, Daoism and Tibetan Tantric Buddhism followers. The numerous bronzes in the image of Buddhas, guardians and bodhisattvas, such as Manjusri, Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin), Tara ... bear witness to the central role occupied by these religions in China and throughout the Himalayas (Nepal, Tibet).

Japanese bronzes stand out for their veracity and naturalism, both in shapes and decoration and in the choice of patina. The Japanese artists of the Edo era (1600 - 1868) and Meiji era (1868 - 1912) will excel in animal bronzes.

The refinement and technical excellence are illustrated through the sawasa objects which Europeans will be particularly fond of. The Japanese craftsmen will develop many bronze ornamentation techniques including the famous gold and copper shakudo alloy that decorates and protects the most precious objects.