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Chinese Bronzes of the Shang and Zhou Periods
Han Dynasty Bronzes
Early Chinese Ceramics
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Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
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Wine Vessel: You
North China; Western Zhou period (1050-770 B.C.E.), about late 11th century B.C.E.
H. 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm)including handle; W. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm)across flanges
Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection of Asian Art
The tall proportions of this you hark back to earlier Shang versions, but the heavy, hooked flanges and mannered rendering of the masks betray its early Western Zhou date. The masks on the belly of the vessel and the lid are particularly compelling, combining both frontal and profile elements. The central face comprises a wide forehead, bovine snout and horns, and an upper jaw. A clawlike element extending below each eye may represent a fang. Extending from either side of the central face is a large C-shaped figure which forms the body and legs of a kneeling buffalo. Both the interest in bovine figures and the hooked flanges are characteristic of early Western Zhou casting and may have been inspired by bronzes cast in the southwestern region of Sichuan. On the shoulder, the bovine horns are replaced by felinelike ears, while instead of the profile buffalos, whimsical dragon motifs standing on their noses flank the mask. An inscription cast on the interior of the vessel and lid includes a square symbol known as a yaxing, which may have denoted a military rank.
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