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World of Rites and Music

China is unique in its employment of bronzes as ritual vessels.
A civilization of rites and music was a major component of Xia-Shang-Zhou civilization. Rites and music supported and completed the other, structuring a fully ordered social-political-cultural system. In matters as large as administering the state, or as small as cultivation of the individual, the system of rites and music directed and standardized various aspects of social life.
These vessels for rites and music were used in sacrifices, banquets, court appointments, marriage and capping ceremonies and funerals. Differences in the material, shape, decoration, color, inscription and combination displayed different personal ranks and value orientations.
With changing times, connections between bronzes and the ritual order gradually loosened. Following the Han, ritual bronzes slowly fade out from history, though the spirit of the order of rites and music becomes the wealth of the Chinese people.



Unit 1 Bronze Vessels and Music Instruments
As a product of the new technology of the Bronze Age, bronzes were rapidly absorbed into the ritual vessel tradition, and hence became the center of a ritual art. More than for banquets and entrainment, bronze vessels and music instruments took the role to establish the proper social order. They werethe focus of the ritual rules and arts.
Unit 2 Chariot and Bronze Weapons
“The grand affairs of state are sacrifice and war.” Whether in the advance of history or in the world of rituals, warfare is a major theme. Combating by chariots was a major category of military activities in the West Zhou dynasty. Whether in maintaining the authority of a system or social stability, or elsewise in punishing lapses in protocol and implementing punitive measures, chariot and bronze weapons played an indispensable role.
Unit 3 Bronzes in Daily Life
As recorded in The Analects, “if you don’t study rituals, you won’t have anything to establish yourself with.” This shows how the system of rituals had already penetrated to the activities of daily life and every juncture in the turning of life’s wheel. It is the knowledge system to build up an established personality recognized by the Confucianism.
Unit 4 Far-reaching Connections
A civilization of bronzes centered on the system of rites and music didn’t develop in isolation, but was itself the liberation of spirit and the resulting all-reaching interactions, fusion and collisions.
Unit 5 Magnificent Achievements of Zhao
As early as inthe Western Zhou dynasty, the Zhaolineage had been highly active on the Jin political stage. In thelate Spring and Autumn period, with the Jin royal family in decline, the Zhao family gradually became one of the powerful ministerial forces in control of the state. As new and old political forces sparred fiercely, Zhao Jianzi went north and locked horns with the Rong-Di barbarians at Dalu, opening up Jinyang as a fief to serve as his political and military base. As was written, “Zhao Xiangzibuilt his hegemony at Jinyang”, which later became the capital of the new State of Zhao.
Until 6 Essences of Three Jin
The time of Zhao Jianzi and his son, Xiangzi saw the decline of the royal house, an era when “administration was seized by major families”, but was also a time featuring the rapid dropping-off of old noble houses, and the rise of the new nobles of Han, Zhao and Wei. The Fan, Zhonghang and Zhi families collapsed in succession, while Han, Zhao and Wei established a tripartite power arrangement. In the 23rd year of King Weilie of Zhou (403 B.C.), the Jin Great Officers Wei Si, Zhao Jiand Han Qian were enfeoffed as feudal lords, and these three households divided the Jin. In Chinese history, this event became the benchmark between the Spring and Autumn and the Warring States periods. Jin culture was not extinct, but carried on with the culture of the Three Jin, and shone bright.