VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Bronze Vessel
SMV 53-1-1
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

This outstanding piece of unique craftsmanship of the highest quality ranks among the best bronze pieces known all over the world and was therefore shown in a great number of German and international publications on Chinese art. The decoration in shallow relief on the finely cast ground of spiraling pattern (Chin.: leiwen) is divided into three zones: Beneath, elongated triangular blades with large taotie-masks with large curled horns and a loop with the head of a buffalo with large pointed horns in higher relief. In the middle part, a central taotie-mask made up of a pair of kui dragons, each dragon shown in profile with a large curled horn and tail, bulging round eye and curled snout, the heads confronted on notched vertical flanges; at each edge of the vessel two birds confronted on the vertical flanges. On the vessel’s shoulder an animal head in higher relief flanked by two kui dragon bodies in profile. On two sides there are loops with twisted loose ring handles. The neck of this vessel is decorated with highly stylized kui dragons and the lid with large taotie-masks with large curled horns. The interior of the vessel shows the character of the name of a clan. The vessel’s surface shows an attractive green patination all over.

History of the Object
This bronze was part of the collection of Dr. Otto A. Burchardt, New York. It was shown in a number of publications on Chinese Art.

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Type
Archaeological 
Materials
Bronze 
Measurements
Width 31,5 cm. Height 50,5 cm.  
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
China 
Geography
China 
Time period
BCE 11th century ~ BCE 11th century 
Creation date
BC; 11th Century B.C. (Late Shang-Dynasty) 
Function
Vessel for wine, type fanglei; 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. Sacrificial wine was stored in this ritual bronze vessel. 
Acquisition
This bronze was acquired by the museum in 1953. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
State Property, Germany 
Museum
Five Continents Museum, Munich 
Credit line
State Museum of Ethnology, Munich, Germany 

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