China is unique in its employment of bronzes as ritual vessels.
A civilization of rites and music was a major component of Xia-Shang-Zhou civilization. Rites and music supported and completed the other, structuring a fully ordered social-political-cultural system. In matters as large as administering the state, or as small as cultivation of the individual, the system of rites and music directed and standardized various aspects of social life.
These vessels for rites and music were used in sacrifices, banquets, court appointments, marriage and capping ceremonies and funerals. Differences in the material, shape, decoration, color, inscription and combination displayed different personal ranks and value orientations.
With changing times, connections between bronzes and the ritual order gradually loosened. Following the Han, ritual bronzes slowly fade out from history, though the spirit of the order of rites and music becomes the wealth of the Chinese people.