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date: 20 October 2019

Houma [Hou-ma]locked

  • Robert W. Bagley



City in southern Shanxi Province, China. The Eastern Zhou (771–256 bc) state of Jin had its capital at Houma (anc. Xintian) from 585 bc until the dissolution of the state in 453 bc. Archaeological work has been carried out at the site since the 1950s, and a number of major finds have been reported.

Of great historical interest are deposits of jade tablets that bear brush-written inscriptions recording oaths of allegiance pledged by vassals to their lords (see China, People’s Republic of §IX 1.). More pertinent to art history is the excavation of a vast foundry site that yielded some 30,000 fragments of clay moulds, models, and other foundry debris. This debris is important partly because it throws light on casting processes and partly because it exactly documents the objects and designs that the foundry produced. The Houma foundry used a highly sophisticated pattern-block mouldmaking technique (...

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