Photo of dui-bronze-vessel-shang-dynasty-bronze-china-museum-galerie-golconda-archeology
Archaic and Imperial China


Object :
Nº 1526
Medium :
Dimensions :
Height: 23 cm (9") – Width: 14.2 cm (5.5”)
Bibliography :
Published in "Collecting Masterpieces" Part One by Beryl Cavallini, page 190 - 191

Description :

Rare ancient bronze with a green crusted patina composed of a bowl divided into two symmetrical parts, each one resting on three legs shaped like animals. The method used was molding in sections with reversed casting. The body is decorated with a Leiwen design particularly elaborated and interesting. Each part has in the center of the legs a more simple, repeated and concentric motif in the form of leaves. Two handles composed of a simple ring are fixed on each half, perpendicular to the vase's body. Good state of preservation, nice green patina due to an extended oxidization.

This type of vase (pronounced dun) was used to prepare cereals during the ritual dedicated to ancestors. It is a codified form, conceived to present the dishes considered to be the most exquisite. True symbols of power, the bronze vases from the Shang period are remarkable for the quality of their technique and their decorations. The second millennium saw bronze metalwork replace the ceramic arts, which had been so notable during the last periods of the Neolithic era, and Ancient China became a truly bronzebased civilisation: the only one amongst ancient civilisations to place this metal in the forefront, according less importance to silver and gold as the resources needed to produce bronze were relatively abundant in China. This rare bronze consists of two symmetrical parts forming a hollow sphere that opens in the middle. Each half rests on three legs in the shape of imaginary animals. The body is decorated with an interlaced geometric motif of thunder called Leiwen, which is particularly rich and interesting. Each part bears a more simplistic repetitive concentric motif of leaf shapes between its legs. A taotié is figured on each clasp, while the central band is ornamented with an elegant and highly stylised animal motif.