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China's Shang Culture



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A Heavenly Ride
Photograph by O. Louis Mazzatenta

Excavating Shang tombs near Anyang in 1971, archaeologists uncovered a horse's skull studded with the bronze decorations left behind as the leather bridle deteriorated. Other Shang tombs were filled with weapons, drinking vessels, chariots, ivories, jades, and a mother lode of other items. Why did the Shang engage in such lavish burial rituals? Were all those items intended for use in the afterlife? Did dispensing with so many valuables create a material absence that helped the living remember the dead? Or was "taking it with you" a final ostentatious display by the wealthy? Scientists are still looking for answers.

Photo Fast Facts

Camera: Nikon F5
Film Type: Fujichrome Provia 100
Lens: 105mm macro f/2.8
Speed and F-Stop: 1/60 @ f/8

Weather Conditions: Indoors
Time of Day: Unrecorded
Lighting Techniques: I used Comet 1200 watt second strobes with soft boxes.



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