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Lei vessel

Lei vessel

for liquids
Late 11th – early 10th century B.C., Western Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 B.C.)
H : 49.7 cm L : 34.6 cm W : 26.4 cm
M.C. 440

This vessel, intended to hold fermented beverages, belonged to a very small group of lei, discovered in sites as far as Beido (or Baidong), in the autonomous Mongolian district of the left wing of the Harqin banner, Liaoning, and Zhuwajie, in the Peng district of Sichuan.

These pieces all possess the same characteristics. Four taotie masks are placed sideways on the lower part of the belly, not along an axis in relation to the handles, as they are usually placed in pieces from the Shang Era. Four characteristic creatures, with curved trunks, sometimes identified as elephants, decorate the upper part. The lid takes the shape of a mythical saurian coiled around itself.

In the past, the authenticity of the Cernuschi Museum’s lei was questioned, due to an apocryphal inscription located on the neck’s interior edge. In light of recent excavations, all specialists today consider it to be an ancient and particularly rare piece.

Auteur de la notice : Gilles Béguin
Collection : Western Zhou Dynasty (1050-771 B.C.)
Mode d'acquisition : Bequest of Henri Cernuschi, 1896.
  • Vase Lei

Vase Lei
© Musée Cernuschi