The Romans used lead a lot. Water pipes might be the most famous, but there were lead plates and lead vessels to prepare food or drink too.

Apparently lead was an inevitable byproduct of silver refining, because the silver mines had galena ore (lead-silver ore). So it became common due to its cheapness and didn't corrode easily.

So what I want to know now is, did Ancient China also use lead in the same ways and to the same degree? Did they have lead water pipes? Lead vessels?

The time period I'm interested in is 500 BCE to 500 CE, which is roughly the time of the Western Roman Era (Republic + Empire).

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    Well, it's not "lead vessels" per se, but it's well documented that Shang dynasty bronze vessels were made with non-trivial amounts of lead. Here's a paper from NCBI. – Semaphore Apr 12 '18 at 19:53
  • Isn't the almost on purpose use of defrutum, prepared in lead vessels leading to lead(II) acetate formation a much bigger source than pipes which will gain a protective layer of calcite and similar substances? / Unclear: is the focus on use of lead or the poisoning by lead, the accidental poison or the deliberate ingestion? – LangLangC Apr 12 '18 at 21:00
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    @LangLangC My focus is on any lead in the food/water industry. Doesn't matter to me whether it's accidental or intentional. I mentioned lead pipes and lead vessels as examples. Not sure if that confuses anything for you or other readers. – DrZ214 Apr 12 '18 at 21:12
  • "Ancient China" is pre-Qin, so your time period covers a significant chunk of imperial China too. – congusbongus Apr 13 '18 at 2:28

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