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Rectangular Wine Container (Fangyi) with Beast Mask
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.04.21 08:53:50

Period: Shang dynasty (ca. 1600-1046 B.C.)
Dimensions: H.23.8 cm, Base L. 12.5 cm, W. 10.5 cm, Mouth L. 13.5 cm, W.5.31 cm
Provenance: Unearthed from the No.269 tomb to the east of Qijiazhuang village, Yin Ruin, Anyang, 1984

With a hip roof-formed cover, atop which is a similar knob on the middle of the primary ridge. The vessel has a rectangular mouth, one ridge on each side and each corner, each facing its counterpart on the cover and the foot. The four sides of the cover and the abdominal parts of the vessel were decorated with beast mask patterns, the lip and the foot with kui dragon motifs, the abdominal and the foot were ornamented with cloud and thunder as the background. A character “Yuan” was cast separately on the center of the interior bottom of the vessel and one wider part of the inside of cover. The bronzes with “Yuan” are presumably commissioned by the tomb occupant.

Bronze Fangyi was a wine container and ritual vessel for sacrificial activities, and was popular primarily during the late Shang to early Zhou period.

Located around the Xiaotun village to the northwest Anyang city of Henan province, Yinxu was the capital site of the late Shang dynasty that featured a slave society in the history of China. With a roughly neat layout, Yinxu is centered on the ruins of the palace and royal ancestral shrine of the Shang court at Xiaotun village, radiating along the banks of Huan River. The present site mainly consists of palace and ancestral shrine, mausoleums, capital ruin of Huanbei (north of the Huan River), Hou’gang, residential area (for clans), family grave complex, oracle bone hoards, bronze metallurgical workshops, handicraft workshops, etc. The tombs at the east of the Qijia village is a relatively massive family burial site on the southwest border of the Yinxu.