VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bronze Nao with Elephant Design of Shang Dynasty
hunan15
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

1. At the top of the design, two small elephants with curled trunks stand on the two sides of the bronze Nao. The left, middle and right sides are decorated with six tigers, six fish and eleven nails. The design of the elephants is abstract and mysterious, but looks very vivid and realistic. With its complicated and breathtaking design, this is a masterpiece of bronzes of the Shang Dynasty. 2. Altogether nineteen big bronzes of Nao were unearthed from the same site and each can produce one or two distinctive pitches when struck on different parts. When grouped together, they could be used to perform various ancient musical compositions. Up to now, they are regarded as the earliest musical instruments that can be performed in a group. Therefore, archeologists infer that this bronze Nao may be one of a chime of bells.

History of the Object
Unearthed at Shiguzhai, Laoliangcang, Ningxiang, Hunan Province.

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Type
Archaeological 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
Overall height: 71cm Width: of the mouth: 46.5cm Weight 67.25kg 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Hunan Province,China 
Geography
China 
Time period
BCE 16th century ~ BCE 11th century 
Creation date
BCE; 16th Century BCE - 11th Century BCE; Shang Dynasty 
Function
Nao is a kind of musical instrument used when a sacrifice was performed. When used, the belly of Nao was put above the handle. When the belly was struck, a loud sound could be heard. 
Acquisition
Unearthed at Shiguzhai, Laoliangcang, Ningxiang, Hunan Province in 1959 and later collected by the Hunan Provincial Museum 
Copyright
Hunan Provincial Museum Copyright 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Hunan Provincial Museum 
Museum
Hunan Provincial Museum 
Credit line
http://www.hnmuseum.com/hnmuseum/eng 
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