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Patterns of Chinese Brone

The Taotie 饕餮 pattern came up already in the Erlitou culture when jade objects like daggers, axes, disks and scepters were decorated with fabulous animals with fierce teeth and claws, sharp horns, tails and legs. The name taotie is not original but was given in Song times when scholars made first researches of Chinese art. It is said the taotie monsters were very voracious, and therefore the Chinese caracters for "Taotie" contain the character for "eat". During Zhou times, the fierce looking animals became dragons with button-like staring eyes. Until the Han dynasty, the former compact monsters transformed into slim and friendly dragons. Sometimes the intertwined bodies of the Taotie remind of the lion patterns of Nordic art (see an example of Jellinge art) or the Maya glyphic art (see the face of the raingod Chac).

Clan insignia (zuhui 族徽) are among the first inscriptions of bronze vessels. Except simple symbols for a family or clan, we find names of persons, like the name of the owner of the vessel or that of the person that casted the vessel, other inscriptions declare the name of the person sacrifying the goods inside the vessel of the name of the venerated person.

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