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During its lifetime the pottery absorbs radiation from its environment and it is this which creates thermoluminescence.
The older the pottery, the more radiation it has absorbed and the brighter the pottery sample glows.
By this time, bronze decor had come under the influence of textile patterns and technique, particularly embroidery, as well as of lacquer decor, suggesting the bronze medium’s decline from primacy.
Bronzes decorated in this manner have been found chiefly in the Huai River valley. Perhaps the oldest class is a small clappered bell called ling (鈴), but the best known is certainly the zhong (鐘), a suspended, clapperless bell.
These mirrors are often thin, and the execution is refined and elegant.
When a small sample of ancient pottery is heated it glows with a faint blue light, known as thermoluminescence or TL.
Zhong were cast in sets of eight or more to form a musical scale, and they were probably played in the company of string and wind instruments.
Gold-inlaid inscriptions on each bell present valuable information regarding early musical terms and performance, while a 65th bell with flat bottom called bo (镈) is dedicated by inscription from the king of Chu to Marquis Yi of Zeng (Zeng Hou Yi, 曾侯乙), the deceased, and bears a date equivalent to 433 BC.We have 3 fully automated, computer operated Riso Minisys TL readers for measuring the TL.Sample discs are mounted on a wheel and the readers are programmed to run heating and irradiation sequences.These often show marks of filing, and it has been suggested that they were devices whereby the bell could be tuned to the requisite pitch by removing small quantities of the metal.The oldest specimen recovered in a closed excavation is one from Pudu Cun, dating from the 9th century BC.By late Zhou times a long inscription might have well over 400 characters.The longest discovered so far is on the Cauldron of Duke Mao (毛公鼎), which has 499 characters.Ancient Chinese mirrors were generally bronze disks polished on the face and decorated on the back, with a central loop handle or pierced boss to hold a tassel.The early ones were small and worn at the girdle; later they became larger and were often set on a stand.By the end of the 9th century BC, moreover, certain Shang shapes such as the From the outset of Zhou rule, vessels increasingly came to serve as vehicles for inscriptions that were cast to record events and report them to ancestral spirits.An outstanding example, excavated near Xi’an in 1976, was dedicated by a Zhou official who apparently had divined the date for the successful assault upon the Shang and later used his reward money to have the bronze vessel cast.