Ancient Chinese Weapons

17.3.2006 - 4.10.2006

Upper Gallery

The flourishing of bronze technology in China is linked to two main themes: ritual vessels and weapons. Starting around 2,000 BC, bronze technology developed rapidly. From the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770-256 BC), bronze and iron were both used to make tools and weapons, but by the end of the Western Han dynasty (201 BC - AD 8), bronze had almost disappeared from the battlefield and was only used for ritual vessels, small tools and decorative items.

Unlike the Han Chinese, many ancient national minorities did not value ritual vessels so much; however, they manufactured numerous bronze weapons and tools, which reflected their individual tactics, religious beliefs and artistic tastes. For many ancient minorities, bronze tools and weapons are the only links left to understand their ways of life.

The study of bronze weapons allows many special insights into the military tactics, art and cultural beliefs of pre-Han China, as well as the development of the Chinese writing system. This exhibition allow visitors to witness the drama and beauty of China's ancient bronze age from a fresh point of view.