The art/architecture that we find in Bronze Age China and the Indus Valley was produced during the same period as the cultures that we’ve studied up to this point in time. What religious, political, or cultural differences can we interpret from the art that they produced? Select a specific example from each culture (Chinese and Indus Valley) and compare this to what we’ve seen in the Bronze Age cultures or Mesopotamia, Egypt, or the Aegean. What is the purpose, underlying meaning, or intent and how does this compare with what we see elsewhere?

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The religious, political, and cultural meanings of art at this time were often tightly bound up together. The Bronze Age in China, beginning about...

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Please note: The post contains numerous questions. The eNotes Homework Help policy allows for one question per post. This answer primarily addresses the first question.

The religious, political, and cultural meanings of art at this time were often tightly bound up together. The Bronze Age in China, beginning about 2,000 BCE, corresponds to the Shang and Zhou dynasties. Social stability and urbanization were significant developments, with the considerable use of rituals to encourage social cohesion and support the ruler's authority. In the Shang dynasty, which lasted from about. 1600 BCE to 1046 BCE, urbanization occurred along the Yellow River. Culture included great advances in literature, and political stability was ensured by military prowess. The Zhou era, which lasted almost eight centuries, was relatively stable for about half that period, but later became more feudal and less centralized.

Much of the bronze produced in both dynasties era was for objects with ritual uses rather than for weapons. Artistic products, often made through piece-mold casting, included vessels with animal decoration—notably, the “taotie,” an animal form with prominent eyes and sometimes fangs, whose body appears in profile around the mask-like face. In addition to bronze, the production of jade objects continued, often destined for sacrifices and burials.

The Indus River Valley civilization included two large urban centers, Mohenjo-daro and Harappa. The layout and architecture suggest that rituals were a prominent feature of social life. The buildings were constructed primarily of mud brick, while any wood that might have been employed in them has not survived. Terra cotta and precious metals were primary materials used in art, including sculptures, gold figurines, and many seals. The last were made in numerous animal forms, including crocodiles, elephants, and rhinoceros—but rarely humans. Although the people had a writing system, documented in part through inscriptions in the seals and other objects, it has not yet been deciphered.

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