The aesthetic charm of China bronze sculpture more lies in its profound meaning. The social status and role of bronze statue in the Shang and Zhou matter a lot and get access to the social production on the whole as well as all areas of life, playing an indispensable role. As we are familiar with the sentence that “the great affairs of a state rest with military wars and sacrifices”, China bronze sculptures are both sacrificial vessels and essential weapons in the war. What’s more, in the slavery society, China bronze sculptures are also the emblem of etiquette system, mark of nobility and aristocratic family as well as the symbol of state power. Therefore, China bronze sculptures have accumulated the first civilized society of China and connotations in various fields like politics, economy, culture, art, science, technology, and so on. In some degree, China bronze sculptures have reflected back some essential spiritual appearance of Chinese and demonstrated the heavy footprints of the ancestors have left when bidding farewell to the primitive society towards a civilized community.
The producers of china bronze sculptures have their own aesthetic ideals, artistic pursuit; they not only follow the will of the ruling class blending the religious and political meaning determined by the society as the guiding ideology into the creative idea, but also mix their own aesthetic ideals and the ??artistic pursuit and into the art of creation. Hence, China bronze sculptures possess ample significance as the religious vessels, sacrificial wares and the daily necessities, but as the aesthetic objects and ornamental artworks as well. Anyhow, the meaning in these aspects is also kind of untied. Speaking of aesthetic appreciation, as the formal beauty of chinese bronze sculpture includes the political, religious and other cultural contents, which makes its beauty richer, deeper and thought-provoking.
Bronze Age is the flag of the beginning of slavery society. In terms of ideology, China bronze still kept and inherited the religion and culture of the primitive clans. We know that in the primitive society, witchcraft is very common and widespread. The primitive religious activities like the totem worship, nature worship and ancestor worship pervaded the whole society and penetrated into the bone and soul of every person. Even after entering into the civilized society, this primitive religion retained in a fairly long period and developed in the new environment.
People of Xia were very superstitious and often hold sacrificial memories. The Shang went even farther than that. The Book of Rites records that “Yin respected gods and led the people to serve deity. Usually, the ghost went before the etiquette.” The harsh reality was even more horrible when attached with the religious mystery. The China bronze, produced in such an era, was no wonder imprinted with the mark of the times and got the unique strict, mysterious and horrible color of that time. Let alone that quite a few China bronze sculptures are used as the sacrificial vessels. Only in this sense can we understand why China bronze sculptures of the Shang and Zhou took the man-eating monster taotie as the decorative pattern by and large. The famous British scholar Gombrich agreed with the idea of Emmanuel in his book The Sense of Order that, “The origins and purposes of most decorative patterns can be explained as the function of driving out evil spirits.”