Book Report



Thehistoric interest and has been associated with the modern arttechniques in various ways. The simplest idea can sometimes be veryunclear. The relationship between technique and beauty is delicateand must accompany each other in any artistic work. The Shang castersis an area that provides a clear understanding of the use of flangesin bronze casting dating back to ancient Egypt (Thorp,2006).The article by Bagley presents a special understanding of the ancientart in relation to modern art.

Theflanges were introduced before the Anyang period and provided acaster with a unique way to announce the organization of his designthus emphasizing on the connection between decoration and shape.According to Bagley, the current arguments regarding flanges do notagree that they were introduced basically for this reason. Rather itargues that flanges was a way of the Shang caster to control moldmarks or the scars that appear on a casting in case bronze spillsover into space between incorrectly fitted mold sections (Bagley,1990). In addition, flanges were used to hide discontinuities on theaxes where the mold was separated. Shang casters therefore areexpected to construe a virtue out of a mistake, emphasizing the moldmarks and changing them into vertical accents.

Insome instances, the flanges have not been used to conceal or hideflaws, but have been used by the casters as a way of emphasizingboundaries. Basically, the motive behind the establishment of flangeswas not necessarily for concealment, but for purposes of advertisinga casters work (Bagley, 1990). Flanges also provide scenery where thecaster is able to separate molds in a manner that emphasizes shape,contrast and decoration of a piece of art.

Thereis a very great relationship between shape, decoration, and techniquein the works of Shang. The design that is used in Shang bronzeworking is evidently influenced by the ancient works of theEgyptians. Traditionally, Egyptian casters were not allowed torepresent humans or human aspects on their bronze artwork. This inturn provided them with an opportunity to diverge their design toother direction. The decorations of Shang bronze works are uniquelyinclined to ancient castings. The Neolithic pottery is one suchexample of how design, decorations and shape are interconnected. InNeolithic pottery of the pottery ding, its flat legs are radiallypositioned and by way of embellishing them remained a facet of theflat legged ding shape in history (Bagley, 1990). The link betweenshape, decoration and design is always on the mind of a caster. Shangcasters apply a unique design, use flanges in decorating their mouldsand ensuring that the shapes are molded in a manner that reflect whatthey represent. In the tripod, an embellishment could be introducedto emphasize design. Essentially, there is no separating the threeaspects in the art of bronze casting as exhibited by Bagley.

Inconclusion, a Shang caster, just like other artists do not work inlimitation of the techniques he uses. It is a matter of incorporatingideas in the design, shape it in a decorative manner to bring out thebest out of a caster’s work (Thorp,2006).Ultimately, the works of art today reflect the techniques that wereintroduced in the ancient world.


Bagley,R. (1990). Shang ritual bronzes: Casting Technique and vessel design.Archivesof Asian Art, 436-20.

Thorp,R. L. (2006). Chinain the early Bronze Age: Shang civilization.University of Pennsylvania Press.

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