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Chinese Art History

             In Wu Hung's discussion of traditional Chinese concepts of.
             monumentality, he utilizes the ancient legend of the Nine Bronze Tripods.
             to illustrate how the traditions (including ancestral temple and ritual.
             vessels, capital city and palaces, and tomb and funerary paraphernalia) of.
             early Chinese cultures can be better understood after identifying their.
             monumentality. According to the myth, in 605 B.C., a Chu lord lead a.
             campaign near the Zhou capital at Luoyang where he was greeted by the.
             minister Wangsun Man. After the lord inquired about the size and weight.
             of the Nine Tripods, Wagsun Man answered with a passage stating the.
             three distinct intentions of the tripods which forms the basis of ritual art.
             Foremost, the Nine Tripods were made to honor important political.
             events, notably the establishment of the Xia after which an organized.
             power became evident. The Tripods also justified this event since they.
             were constructed from bronze sent by the Xia allies and bore inscriptions.
             of their things, confirming their entrance into the centralized political.
             power. This allowed people to discern "divine" from "evil", the former.
             being the Xia alliance while the latter represented the Xia enemies whose.
             things were missing from the Tripods.
             Subsequently, the Nine Tripods became a symbol of Power - whomever.
             was in possession of the Tripods held political power as well. With the.
             changing of hands and locations of the Tripods, the political power.

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