Material Properties, Sensory Experience, and Production Techniques in Early Chinese Bronze Casting
This is an abstract from the "Craft and Technology: Knowledge of the Ancient Chinese Artisans" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
The extraordinary bronze ritual vessels of Shang- and Zhou-period China were produced by casting in multi-part ceramic molds. Laboratory analysis of casting-mold fragments has found that these molds were made from an unusual ceramic material—a paste that was quartz-rich, clay-poor, highly porous, and therefore quite unlike pottery clays in terms of its composition. A program of replication experiments has allowed this casting-mold paste to be reproduced and assessed in the laboratory. This paste possesses specialized engineering properties that would have significantly improved the reliability of the casting process. However, the handling characteristics and tactile qualities of this paste are also very different from those of familiar pottery clays. This presentation describes the qualitative, sensory characteristics of casting-mold paste and explores the ways in which those qualities likely shaped foundry workers’ interactions with this material as well as their choices regarding production techniques.
Cite this Record
Material Properties, Sensory Experience, and Production Techniques in Early Chinese Bronze Casting. Matthew Chastain, Jianli Chen, Xingshan Lei. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450836)
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min long: 70.4; min lat: 17.141 ; max long: 146.514; max lat: 53.956 ;
Abstract Id(s): 25269