Chinese / Spearhead / Shang period, 13th-11th century BCEChinese
Shang period, 13th-11th century BCE

View Larger Image

View Full Catalog Record Below

This image is one of over 108,000 from the AMICA Library (formerly The Art Museum Image Consortium Library- The AMICO Library™), a growing online collection of high-quality, digital art images from over 20 museums around the world. offers subscriptions to this collection, the finest art image database available on the internet. EVERY image has full curatorial text and can be studied in depth by zooming into the smallest details from within the Image Workspace.
Preview the AMICA Library™ Public Collection in Luna Browser Now

  • Cultures and time periods represented range from contemporary art, to ancient Greek, Roman, and Egyptian works.
  • Types of works include paintings, drawings, watercolors, sculptures, costumes, jewelry, furniture, prints, photographs, textiles, decorative art, books and manuscripts.

Gain access to this incredible resource through either a monthly or a yearly subscription and search the entire collection from your desktop, compare multiple images side by side and zoom into the minute details of the images. Visit for more information on the collection, click on the link below the revolving thumbnail to the right, or email us at .

Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Spearhead
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 0
Creation End Date: 0
Creation Date: Shang period, 13th-11th century BCE
Creation Place: North China
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Spearheads
Classification Term: Bronzes
Materials and Techniques: bronze
Dimensions: H. 6 1/4 in. (15.9 cm); W. 1 1/2 in. (3.8 cm)
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1993.004
Credit Line: Asia Society: Estate of Blanchette Hooker Rockefeller
Context: The description of the Shang and Zhou periods in Chinese history as a Great Bronze Age stems from both the astonishing variety of shapes and motifs found in their ritual vessels and the sheer technical complexity involved in producing them. The use of bronze is one of the hallmarks of the culture that controlled a large part of northern China during the Shang period, c. 1700-c. 1050 BCE. Anyang, the capital city of the late Shang period (c. 1300-1050 BCE), was located in Henan Province in north-central China. The excavation of this site over the last 66 years has revealed large palace buildings, bronze-casting and other workshops, important burials, and numerous spectacular bronze vessels. In addition to ritual vessels, bronze was used to make weapons such as axes, halberds, spearheads, and arrowheads.

The extremely narrow point of this spearhead and the articulation where the shaft joins the head is typical of pieces made during the Shang dynasty. Spearheads dating to later periods are generally broader. The decoration of this spearhead is cast along the top and bottom of the shaft. There are two registers of decoration: at the top of the shaft loose thundercloud motifs (leiwen) are cast in low relief, while at the bottom, granulation provides the background for the decoration. The curving forms cast in high relief against these two backgrounds might be dragons but are too abstract to identify precisely.

AMICA ID: ASIA.1993.004
AMICA Library Year: 1999
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

AMICA PUBLIC RIGHTS: a) Access to the materials is granted for personal and non-commercial use. b) A full educational license for non-commercial use is available from Cartography Associates at c) Licensed users may continue their examination of additional materials provided by Cartography Associates, and d) commercial rights are available from the rights holder.

Home | Subscribe | Preview | Benefits | About | Help | Contact
Copyright © 2007 Cartography Associates.
All rights reserved.