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Zun vessel

Zun vessel

for fermented beverages
Anyang Era (approximately 1300 – 1050 B.C.)
Bronze
H : 27.7 cm Diameter : 24.7 cm
M.C. 2005-3

Metal crockery is one of the most prestigious creations in Chinese art. Various types of these containers, decorated with a wide variety of ornamentation, were produced from the 16th century B.C. up until the 3rd century A.D. In the Shang Era, some metal crockery was used as ceremonial crockery during ceremonial banquets, when people paid homage to clan ancestors. Crockery was divided between containers for solid food and vessels for liquids, especially beverages, which were presumably flavoured.

This bronze vase from the mid-12th century B.C. belonged to the latter category. Before beverages were heated, they were stored in bronze bottles, then presented in containers similar to this one. Aside from its obvious aesthetic quality, good state of preservation, subtle finish and varied decoration, this Zun represents an iconographic rarity. Instead of fierce and protective masks, which usually cover the belly of a vessel, here a half-human, half-bird face appears, rendering this piece one of the apices of ancient Chinese art.

Auteur de la notice : Gilles Béguin
Collection : Shang Dynasty (about 1550-1050 B.C.)
Mode d'acquisition : Donation of TOTAL company, 2005


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