ABSTRACT

The making of weapons marks the “birth” stage of their biographies. For late Shang weapons, the two major materials are bronze and jade, which require the investment of rare raw material, labour, and artisanship. Based on existing studies of bronze and jade production and archaeological evidence of workshop remains, I examine relationships forged during the processes of weaponry making and discuss the ways in which the “birth” stage has an impact on the biographies of bronze and jade weapons. Furthermore, I investigate various aspects of the manufacturing processes for bronze weapons by combining evidence from chemical and metallographic analyses, informed use-wear observations, studies of workshop organization, and statistical inquiries into metric data. Results from the metalwork wear analysis are incorporated in my discussion of post-casting processes and subsequent maintenance works, such as re-shaping and polishing.