- Gallery Text
Like their Shang predecessors, the Zhou produced sets of bronze ritual vessels for use in state rites and burial in tombs. In style, form, and function, the earliest bronze vessels from the Western Zhou period were virtually indistinguishable from those made by the Shang, for the Zhou sought to legitimize their ascension over their defeated rivals by closely replicating the tangible symbols of Shang power. Before long, however, traditional Shang decorative motifs such as the taotie animal mask began to evolve, and new forms emerged, such as the confronting dragons on the inscribed gui food vessel (far right) or the elephants on the covered you wine vessel (near left) displayed here. Inscriptions on these objects expanded, from single clan marks to longer memorializing inscriptions, signaling a shift in the function of bronze vessels from purely sacred objects belonging to powerful Shang clan members, to status symbols commemorating the accomplishments of Zhou kings and nobles.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- 'You' Covered Ritual Wine Vessel with Elephant and 'Taotie' Decor and with Ram-Head Bail Handle
- Other Titles
- Alternate Title: Shi Shang you
- Work Type
- late 11th-early 10th century BCE
- Creation Place: East Asia, China
- Zhou dynasty, Western Zhou period, c. 1050-771 BCE
- Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1600, Early Chinese Art, Arts of Ancient China from the Bronze Age to the Golden Age
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- Physical Descriptions
- Cast bronze with greenish patina; with dedicatory inscription by Servitor Chen inscribed on both the vessel floor and lid interior
- H. 26.9 x W. 25.5 x D. 19.3 cm (10 9/16 x 10 1/16 x 7 5/8 in.)
- Inscriptions and Marks
- inscription: matching dedicatory inscriptions integrally cast on both the vessel floor and lid interior; each translates: It was in the year when the King after making offerings at the great Yue ritual in Zongzhou, took residence in Pangjing, in the fifth month, in the third quarter, on the xinyou day; then the King ordered the Shi Shang officials and the archivist Yin to return to Chengzhou to entertain the officials with meat from suckling pigs and to present them with tankards of spiced wine and cowries. For this reason I had this precious vessel made for Father Gui. Recorded by Servitor Chen.
- [Yamanaka & Co., New York, June 29, 1936] sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York (1936-1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
- THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT BY THE TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION TO THE HARVARD ART MUSEUMS.
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- Publication History
Chen Mengjia, Yin Zhou qingtongqi fenlei tulu (A corpus of Chinese bronzes in American Collections), Kyuko Shoin (Tokyo, Japan, 1977), A 630
Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections (Volume IIA), Arthur M. Sackler Foundation and Arthur M. Sackler Museum (Washington, D.C. and Cambridge, MA, 1990), p. 65, fig. 83
- Exhibition History
S427: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/20/1985 - 04/30/2008
Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 06/01/2013
32Q: 1600 Early China II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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