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Book Chapter

Heavy Metals

January 01, 1975


The Copper Age in China seemF to coincide with the half-legendary Hsia Dynasty (2033–1562 B.C.?), though no material evidence for this has yet been found. Some Chinese historians of later time say that copper implements and weapons were in use in the reign of Emperor Yu (2140–2130 B.C.?). In Shu Ching, for instance, it is stated that Yu received “three metals” (gold, silver, and copper) as a tribute [28, ch.2, p.22a]. In Tso Chuan the author says that Yu had nine cauldrons cast [29, Hsuan, 3rd year], whereas the author of Yueh Chueh Shu writes that in Emperor Huang’s time weapons were made of jade, but in Emperor Yu’s time they were made of copper [30, ch.ll, p.24a]. As regards the Bronze Age there is some archaeological evidence that even in the early period of the Shang Dynasty (1562–1066 B.C.?) the technique of bronze casting was on a rather high level. A ceremonial four-legged bronze vessel unearthed near Anyang, Honan, and identified as belonging to the Shang Dynasty, weighs about 700 kg and is rich in ornament [21, P.120]. The excavations near Chengchou, Honan, on the probable site of one of the capitals of Shang, revealed numerous bronze vessels and tools and the remains of a bronzesmith’s workshop [21, p.113]. It is interesting to note that on the information available, the Copper Age and the Bronze Age began in China about ten centuries later than in more advanced counties of the Ancient World, where these ages seemingly began in the

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Mineral Resources of China

A. B. Ikonnikov
A. B. Ikonnikov
Department of Economics, Research School of Pacific Studies, The Australian National Universtiy
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January 01, 1975




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