VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Wine vessel
8.1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This vessel, call a You, was one of a set of vessels used for serving wine at a ceremonial banquet or as part of a sacrifice to the ancestors in burial rituals. The main body of the vessel is decorated on each side with a large three-dimensional animal mask motif with sculpted curved horns in relief. The animal is called a Tao Tie (an imaginary animal which has the body of a goat, the teeth of a tiger, and a huge mouth that eats everything), and although the meaning and symbolism of Tao Tie is something of a puzzle, it is likely that the mask was seen as a protection from evil.

History of the Object
Wine-drinking was a popular custom among the ruling classes and the nobility from the Shang period (1700-1207 BC) onwards, and wine-drinking vessels have been crucial items used in Chinese burial traditions since the early dynasties. The range and quantity of ritual vessels symbolised the dead person’s social status. Wine vessels such as Gu, Gong, Zun, Jue, Jia, and other cooking and serving wares, such as Ding, Gui, Lian, and Yan, were the most commonly seen ritual objects.

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Type
Archaeological 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
H: 22.8cm, D: 17.7cm (mouth), 18.3cm (base) 
Creator name
Unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
BCE 18th century ~ BCE 11th century 
Creation date
BCE; 18th Century BCE - 11th Century BCE; Shang 1700 BCE-1027 BCE 
Function
Ritual vessel 
Acquisition
This object was sold by dealer Frank Partridge (1875-1953) to Sir William Burrell (1861-1958) on 16 July 1938 for £500; by whom it was gifted to the Corporation of the City of Glasgow in 1944. 
Copyright
The image of this object belongs to the Burrell Collection. For any enquiry on access to this image, please contact the Photograph Library at: Photolibrary@glasgowlife.org.uk 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
City of Glasgow 
Museum
The Burrell Collection 
Credit line
©Copyright Culture & Sports Glasgow (Museums) 

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