Western Zhou (1046-771 BC)
Height 26.5 cm, Mouth Diameter 21. 5 cm
Excavated in a brick kiln in the suburbs of Nanyang, Henan Province, 1981
The vessel features a lid, with a round handle on its apex. The vessel body has a rim, a drum body, and a pair of beast-shaped handles with downward-hanging lobes. It has a slightly rounded base, and an outwardly flared ring foot. Its lower portion features three tiger-head-shaded feet. The entire vessel is decorated with linear, undulating, and drooping-scale patterns. The vessel and lid feature corresponding inscriptions, with 44 characters of inscribed text detailing ancestral sacrifices made by Zhong Cheng Fu, prime minister of the state of Shen. Textual sources disagree over the location of the ancient Chinese state of Shen. The geographical records of the Han Shu place the state of Shen Bo in Junwan County in Nanyang (modern day Nanyang), while the Tong Dian places the Shen state in Tang dynasty Shenzhou (modern day Xinyang region).
With the excavation of the ‘Zhong Cheng Fu’ gui in Nanyang, we can finally resolve this long-standing dispute.