China Institute Hosts Talk on Archaic Bronzes at Gianguan Auctions Gallery

  • NEW YORK, New York
  • /
  • March 09, 2015

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Massive archaic Chinese bronze statue of man on horseback. Eastern Han Dynasty.
Archaic Chinese bronze ritual wine vessel.Warring States period.
Archaic Chinese bronze zhong inlaid with silver. Qin Dynasty.

Asia Week lectures kick off on Saturday, March 14th at 2:00 p.m. when China Institute hosts a discussion on the Sai Yang Tang Collection of archaic Chinese bronzes on view at Gianguan Auctions New York. The bi-lingual lecture will be held in Gianguan Auctions’ Art Gallery, 295 Madison Avenue, where visitors will have the opportunity to examine the bronzes as they are discussed. 

Presenter Kwong Lum, Chinese scholar, artist, and collector, will reveal the fascinating history of the bronzes. Among the ancient objects are swords decorated with jade, silver and gold, spears, as well as tools, ritual wine vessels of all sizes and forms, food-storage containers, and a massive 6-foot tall statue of a man on horseback holding a spear.

Several of the works—human figures kneeling and wearing large ear loops—were created as early as the Qija period (2400 BCE—900 BC) that predates the Shang Dynasty (16th—11th centered BC), generally accepted as the first high period of Bronze Age China. The most recent items were produced during the Han Dynasty (206-220 AD).

Most retain their oxidized patina, but some are partially restored, creating a startling contrast in the perception of how these items gleamed 5,000 years ago when they were new and how they appear now. This is most notable in a Warring States (475-221 BC) 2-wheel carriage drawn by four horses. While the umbrella-shaded carriage bears the heavy dark spots of age, the horses have been hand-rubbed to display their original gilt-bronze finish inlaid with silver. Similarly, a Han Dynasty dinosaur is partially restored, exposing silver inlay work. 

The talk will cover subjects such as purpose, symbolism, and the locations at which the objects were discovered. New scholarship on the evolution of civilization during China’s Great Bronze Age will be included.

Affordable only by the wealthiest, bronze was a symbol of prestige, power and spiritual transformation for more than 1,000 years. It fell out of favor as a decorative medium during the Han Dynasty.

The lecture closes the exhibition of the Sai Yang Tang Collection of archaic Chinese bronzes. The talk takes place in the Art Gallery of Gianguan Auctions, 294 Madison Avenue (entrance on E. 41st Street) from 2:00—4:00 p.m. The exhibition and the lecture are free to the general public. For details, please visit

 Mary Ann Lum, Gianguan Auctions Gallery Director 
Gianguan Auctions New York

Gianguan Auctions
295 Madison Avenue
New York, New York

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