Vase zun 樽
Bronze, Fonte, Fonte au moule
Vaisselle et ustensile de cuisine, Vase, Objet religieux
Don manuel : Total; Société des Amis du musée Cernuschi
Metalware is one of the finest forms of Chinese art. These metal vessels, produced from the 16th century BC until the 3rd century AD, are of various types with diverse forms of ornamentation.
In the Shang period, they served as ceremonial tableware for banquets during which homage was paid to ancestors of the clan. They included containers for solid foods and vessels for liquids, especially beverages that were probably flavoured.
This bronze vase from the mid 12th century BC belongs to this latter category. Before being reheated, the drinks were stored in bronze bottles, then presented in vessels like these. Besides its undeniable aesthetic quality, good state of conservation, subtle glazing and varied decoration, this zun features an iconographic rarity: instead of the fierce protective masks that usually appear on the body, here a part-human, part bird face makes the vesssel one of the finest specimens of ancient Chinese art.