A documentation of Bronze Age ritual vessels from the Shang Dynasty of China within the collection of the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York
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The purpose of this thesis is to catalog the collection of Shang Dynasty bronze ritual vessels within the collection of the Buffalo Museum of Science. Consisting of a li-ding, a gu, a jue, and a hu, each vessel is treated separately, being given its own biographical chapter. Each chapter gives detailed descriptions, analysis of form and design, possible interpretations of inscriptions (where applicable), discusses its purpose and use, and concludes with what the observations may tell us about Shang society as a whole. Concluding remarks are given linking the vessels to each other and then to the museum itself. Finally, an explanation is given as to why this collection, consisting of only four vessels, should be considered at all by scholars in the field. Since they belong neither to the very highest rank in Shang society, nor to the very lowest, but to members of the intermediate classes, they help complete the story of Shang civilization by giving voice to those who silently and loyally made the bureaucracy run.