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Traces of time: The rich prehistoric legacy of Inner Mongolia

The Bronze Age: Ordos-style Bronze Wares

Updated: Dec 29, 2021 govt.chinadaily.com.cn Print
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The Ordos-style bronze wares refer to the bronze, gold and silver wares that are decorated with animal motifs and mostly discovered in central and southern Inner Mongolia, northern Shanxi, Shaanxi and Hebei provinces of China as well as Minusinsk in Russia. They were the earliest and most widely found bronze wares in the Ordos area, hence their name.

Mainly produced from the 7th to 3rd centuries BC, they carry strong characteristics of nomadic people who lived in the grasslands. The ones unearthed from tombs in central and southern Inner Mongolia can be classified into three different cultural backgrounds - the Xirong branch of the ancient Qiang people, Chidi–Loufan culture and the Baidi—Xiongnu people.

Ordos bronze meteor hammer, Warring States Period (475-221 BC), from the collection of Ordos Bronze Museum [Photo/ordosqtqbwg.org.cn]

The Ordos-style Bronze Wares were mainly utility tools, including weapons, utensils, accessories and harnesses. Most of them were made by double-mould -casting methods in fine and neat shapes with clear motifs, indicating a high level of craftsmanship at the time. Some ornamental plates and accessories carved in animal shapes were completed by using lost-wax casting, which represented the highest level of metallurgy at that time. Meanwhile, techniques such as tinning, inlaying, mould pressing and welding were also widely used in these processes.

Ordos-style gold ornamental plate with tiger and beast motifs, Warring States Period(475-221 BC), from the collection of Ordos Bronze Museum [Photo/ordosqtqbwg.org.cn]
Ordos-style bronze ornamental plate with carved motif of man fighting a bear [Photo/ www.nmg.gov.cn]
Ordos-style bronze carriage rod ornament in the shape of a donkey [Photo/www.nmg.gov.cn]
Ordos-style bronze squating deer, Warring States Period (475-221 BC), from the collection of Ordos Bronze Museum [Photo/ordosqtqbwg.org.cn]
Ordos-style bronze dagger [Photo/ www.nmg.gov.cn]

 

 

 

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