Shanxi has a long history of using excellent techniques to produce bronze wares of unique style. Relics belonging to various historical periods have been discovered throughout Shanxi province. For instance, Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC) wares have been found in Yuanqu and Pinglu in southern Shanxi, as well as in Xinzhou, Jiexiu and Lingshi in the central areas and in Shilou and Baode in the west of the province. The discoveries feature characteristics of both the center of the country and the local Shanxi. Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC) bronze wares are mostly found in southern Shanxi, with a few being discovered in Wenxi and Hongtong. The recent excavation of the Marquis Jin's family tombs in Tianma and Qucun led to the discovery of a collection of Western Zhou Dynasty bronze wares of great research and aesthetic value. There are also a great number of Eastern Zhou bronze wares discovered in Taiyuan, Hunyuan and Xinjiang, which have proved to be exquisite items of the Marquis Jin's state. Sets of bronze ware-making moulds, of particular academic value, were discovered in Houma. Han Dynasty bronze wares were mostly discovered in Taiyuan and Yanbei. The bronze flagon for wine warming discovered in Youyu is a remarkable Han item combining the styles of the Han people and the northern nomads.
Beast-shaped wine vessel kuang, Shang Dynasty
With a height of 21.5 cm and a length of 24 cm, the vessel was unearthed in Jingjie village in Jiexiu County in 1976. The shape resembles a beast crouching on a round foundation. The beast features a dragon's head, which functions as the vessel's cover. It has two horns, two acute ears and protruding eyes. The bulging edge on the neck extends to the middle of the cover and a beast's face with two high-rising ears is decorated at the end of the cover. Three leaf edges have been designed on the front, right and left parts of the vessel body. The beast features cloud patterns on its two heads and the vessel body's surface has both beast-face and cloud patterns. It has been identified as a Shang Dynasty bronze ware.
Owl-shaped wine bottle you, Shang Dynasty
The you wine bottle was unearthed in 1956 in Erlangpo village in Shilou county. It is 19.7 cm in length, 12 cm in maximum diameter and 8.6 cm in minimum diameter, and resembles two owls standing back to back. The cover of the bottle is shaped as a joining of the two owls' heads, which feature round ears, pointed beaks and curved eyebrows. With a knob on its top, the cover is decorated with cloud patterns. The body of the bottle, which resembles the joined bodies of the two owls, is decorated with curving feather patterns. There are four claws under the body. The bottle, identified as a Shang Dynasty item, features functionality as a container for wine and high aesthetic taste as a ceremonial vessel.