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Title: Bronze Cultures in the Middle Yangtze River Valley (c. 1500-1000 BCE)
Authors: Cao, Yecheng
Advisors: Bagley, Robert W
Contributors: Art and Archaeology Department
Keywords: Erligang
Nao bells
Sui-Zao Corridor
Western Zhou
Yangtze River
Subjects: Art history
Asian studies
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation studies the rise of indigenous mid-Yangtze bronze art and casting tradition in relation to three waves of cultural impact from the Central Plain: Erligang (c. 15th century BCE), Anyang (c. 12th century BCE) and Western Zhou (c. 10th century BCE). Erligang culture expanded into south China and founded frontier settlements along the Yangtze River, most prominently Panlongcheng in the mid-Yangtze and Taijiasi in the lower Yangtze. These Erligang outposts exported bronze metallurgy to the local societies whose established cultural complexity enabled them to swiftly adopt this advanced technology. The retreat of Erligang in the 13th century BCE further allowed local societies to internalize and develop their own bronze traditions. While the mid-Yangtze benefited from contact with Anyang and other bronze centers, unprecedented bronze forms (musical instruments), ornaments (eyes) and functions (jade and tool storage) reflect the vibrant ingenuity of the local foundry. The advent of the Western Zhou force triggered the decline of the Yangtze bronze art. Archaeological evidence indicates that the Zhou court successfully employed a series of political tactics in the north bank of the Yangtze River to stabilize its southern frontier, though some groups were noticeably more defiant. Meanwhile, the once highly active Ningxiang bronze tradition in the lower Xiang River dwindled. The remaining bronze art coarsely imitated Western Zhou bronzes. The primary contribution of this project to the field of early China is that it considers bronze decoration, form, content, casting and location of interment as interconnected components in a network of artistic thinking and political strategizing. Drawing on the latest archaeological material, the dissertation emphasizes the independent growth of the mid-Yangtze bronze tradition in relation to its cultural heritage and other contemporary bronze cultures. This project is among the first to systematically explore the southward expansion of the powerful Western Zhou court from a frontier perspective, and reconstruct an energetic picture of how different forces contested, negotiated and collaborated in the historically quiet middle Yangtze River region. Key Words: Yangtze River, Erligang, Western Zhou, Panlongcheng, Taijiasi, Animal form, Nao bells, Lutaishan, Qichun, Jiangling, Sui-Zao Corridor, Yangzishan, Yejiashan, E state, Zeng State
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog:
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:Art and Archaeology

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