Priceless Past ancient bronze pottery figures

Ancient Chinese Socketed Bronze Spade or Axe

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Ancient World: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1023946
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Cumming, Georgia, 30040 USA

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This is a bronze, socketed axe or spade from ancient China. Pieces such as this one are generally attributed to the Shang Dynasty (1700 BC—1100 BC). The piece is shaped like a wedge when viewed from the side, which would make in an ideal cutting tool. The heavy, flat blade with rounded edges extends from the socket laterally. The blade is slightly wider near distal edge than at the “shoulders”. The socket is rectangular in shape. The hollow portion of the socket end roughly concurrent with the shoulders of the blade. On the exterior, the shape of the socket can be seen extending nearly the entire length of the piece. It acts as reinforcement along the centerline then blends in gently with the blade near the distal edge. On each side of the blade is a symbol in the shape of a wedge (similar in shape to the tool as viewed from the side). However, on the side shown in the picture on the left, the point of the inscribed wedge is oriented toward the socket while on the other side it is oriented toward the tip. There is a conspicuous mould line that divides the piece in half, which is typical of tools from this period that were cast in bivalve moulds. The mould line runs concurrent with the blade edges and thus disappears where the blade begins. There is a perforation in the socket on either side likely used as an attachment point for the shaft. The total weight of this piece is 477 grams. The total length is 13.8 cm.