The dating of chinese bronze mirrors

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They are, like their Shang predecessors in all media, often irregular in shape and size, and the structures and details often vary from one piece of writing to the next, and even within the same piece.Although most are not pictographs in function, the early Western Zhou bronze inscriptions have been described as more pictographic in flavor than those of subsequent periods.These are known as Bird Script (niǎoshū 鳥書) and Worm Script (chóngshū 蟲書), and collectively as Bird-worm scripts, (niǎochóngshū 鳥蟲書; see Bronze sword of King Gōujiàn to right); however, these were primarily decorative forms for inscriptions on bronzes and other items, and not scripts in daily use.

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In the Eastern Zhou, the various states initially continued using the same forms as in the late Western Zhou.Western Zhou dynasty characters (as exemplified by bronze inscriptions of that time) basically continue from the Shang writing system; that is, early W.Zhou forms resemble Shang bronze forms (both such as clan names, and typical writing), without any clear or sudden distinction.One of the most famous sets of bronzes ever discovered dates to the early Warring States: a large set of biānzhōng bells from the tomb of Marquis Yĭ of the state of Zēng, unearthed in 1978.The total length of the inscriptions on this set was almost 2,800 characters.

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