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Bronze Ritual Vessel with Beast Mask(Wine container)
Source: Henan Museum Edit: acf Time: 2023.06.25 17:40:17

Period: Late Shang dynasty(1300-1046 B.C)
Dimensions: H.47.6 cm, Mouth Dia. 29.8 cm
Provenance: Hu Hao’s tomb of Anyang city in 1976

With a contracting mouth, rounded shoulder, bulging belly, high ring foot, the vessel was adorned with symmetric kui dragon designs flanking the beast’s heads on the shoulder. The belly was decorated with beast’s masks which were flanked by inverted kui dragon designs. The cover, belly, and ring foot bear three sets of confronting flanges that divided all the designs of the vessel into three groups. A fungus-shaped knob atop the cover was decorated with cicada motif; the center of the cover was ornamented with whorl design, which were encircled by beast masks.

As a ritual vessel for containing wine, Bu was prevalent during the Shang dynasty, and came to die out in the late Shang dynasty. In total, three pieces of Bu vessel were excavated from Fu Hao’s tomb, including the present object. The elaborate design on the vessel not only displays the high rank and status of Fu Hao, the tomb occupant, but also exemplifies the advancement of bronze metallurgy during Yin-Shang period, and the aesthetics of the time, also implying the ethnic characteristics of valuing wine of Shang people.