VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bronze Vessel
SMV 51-25-2
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This bulgy wine vessel is of an unusual type and is practically unique in the ancient bronze art of China. Its mouth has rolled-out lips, its legs are not the usual round but instead they are tapered and flaring and of triangular section. The long tubular spout emerges at an angle from the shoulder opposite to a loop handle with edged sides issuing from a flattened mask of a bovine animal. Under this handle the pictogram of the owner’s clan name is to be seen. The vessel is polished and without decoration but with three simple “bowstring“ lines in thread relief under its mouth. It is not clear whether this vessel originally had a lid. This vessel is a masterpiece not only because of its rareness among the types of archaic bronzes known from China’s remote past but also because of its perfect craftsmanship. Its perfect aestheticism is caused by its high abstraction with almost no decoration. Its perfect shape, line, and perfectly cast surface may create an impression on the connoisseur.

History of the Object
It was shown in a number of publications on Chinese art.

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Type
Decorative Art 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
Width 12 cm Height 23,5 cm.  
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
BCE 11th century ~ BCE 10th century 
Creation date
BC; 11th/10th Century B.C. (Early Western Zhou-Dynasty) 
Function
Vessel for wine. These vessels were used during sacrificial rituals and feasts for offering wine to the ancestors and deities and were buried with their high ranking owners. 
Acquisition
This bronze vessel was acquired on 27 August 1951 from the Munich dealer in Asian art, Ludwig Bretschneider. It was acquired in exchange for other objects. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State Property, Germany 
Museum
Five Continents Museum, Munich 
Credit line
State Museum of Ethnology, Munich, Germany 

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