Compton Verney’s Chinese galleries contain one of the top three Chinese collections in Europe.
The collection centres on the magnificent bronze ritual vessels which, from as early as 1500 BC, the ancient Chinese buried with their dead. As in Ancient Egypt, the Chinese of the time believed that the dead required food and wine to sustain them in the afterlife, and resolved that this sustenance should be served in vessels appropriate to their status and wealth. Some of the mose extraordinary bronzes ever cast were made by the Chinese for this purpose.
The vessels here were produced over a period of over 1500 years under many different Chinese rulers, and date from the early Shang Dynasty (about 1700 to 1050 BC) to the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220). The collection also includes pottery pieces, such as a set of twelve painted pottery equestrian figures made for placing in a tomb to guard the deceased.