The Eastern Chou (770-221 BCE) was a time of great diversity. Prominent thinkers such as Laotzu, Confucius, and Motzu were active in this period, leaving significant influence on mankind with their enlightened works. On the other hand, this was a phase of turmoil. Driven by greed, rulers of states in the Central Plain found their own excuses for contention and ravages of wars. The casualties often reached tens of thousands in one battle. Outside the heartland, there were many other political entities on the East Asia continent which were forgotten in classical history books. Some were forced to participate this competition, while others got caught in crossfires and submerged in the flood of history.
Therefore, our exhibition attempts to open a window to the diversities of the Eastern Chou. The exhibits are findings from tombs of the Cheng and Chin States, comprising collections from two institutions. First, relics from archaeological excavations made by the Institute of History and Philology at Shan-piao-chen in Chi County and Liu-li-ko in Hui County since1935 to 1937, which are tombs of the mid Spring and Autumn to the early Warring States period (ca. 600-400 BCE). The second part belongs to the collection of National Museum of History, gathering artifacts from two other tombs of Liu-li-ko, and the earlier excavation at Li-chia-lou Tomb in Hsin-cheng County conducted by Honan local organizations during the “pre-archaeology phase.”
This exhibition is divided into three sections, starting from the Honan relics in National Museum of History’s collection, which include monumental bronzes of Li-chia-lou and Liu-li-ko. The second and third sections introduce objects from the Institute of History and Philology’s excavations at Liu-li-ko Tomb M60 and Shan-piao-chen Tomb M1; the whole sets of artifacts from each tomb will be on display. Through this exhibition, one may observe the upper class material culture in the Central Plain during the Eastern Chou period, and the transition of artifact styles from the mid Spring and Autumn to the early Warring States. In particular, bronzes of the Chin State, ranging from ambiguity and being lost features of Liu-li-ko relics to confidence and aggression of Shan-piao-chen artifacts manufactured by Hsin-t’ien (capital of the Chin) workshops, reflect the proactive spirit of Chin people in prosperous economy after around one century’s development in Hsin-t'ien since the capital relocation in 575 BCE. We name this art characteristic the “Hsin-t’ien manner.”