Chinese / Wine Vessel: You / Western Zhou period, c. late 11th century BCEChinese
Wine Vessel: You
Western Zhou period, c. late 11th century BCE

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Creator Nationality: Asian; Far East Asian; Chinese
Creator Name-CRT: Chinese
Title: Wine Vessel: You
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 0
Creation End Date: 0
Creation Date: Western Zhou period, c. late 11th century BCE
Creation Place: North China
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Vessels
Materials and Techniques: bronze
Dimensions: H. 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm) including handle; W. 8 3/4 in. (22.2 cm) across flanges
AMICA Contributor: Asia Society
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1979.100a-b
Credit Line: Asia Society: The Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection
Context: The description of the Shang (c. 1700-c. 1050 BCE) and Zhou (c. 1050-221 BCE) periods in Chinese history as a Great Bronze Age stems from both the astonishing variety of shapes and motifs found in their ritual vessels and the sheer technical complexity involved in producing them. The Zhou, one of a number of peoples who inhabited parts of northwest China, defeated the Shang and established a capital in Xi'an, Shaanxi Province. This early part of the dynasty is known as the Western Zhou (c. 1050-771 BCE).

Bronze vessels were items of luxury and power throughout the entire Zhou period, and changes in the types and decoration of these vessels illustrate the many cultural and political shifts that characterize this long and complicated era of Chinese history. This bronze you vessel was used for storing and serving wine. A three-character inscription was cast into the cover and interior; the first two characters are encased by a symbol known as a yaxing. Fu ding has been suggested as a possible reading of the first two characters; the third remains undeciphered. Traditional taotie (mythic creature) motifs, set against a background of thunderclouds (leiwen), decorate the cover and two registers on the body. The vessel's shape and the band of circles enclosing the main register derive from Shang-period prototypes. The addition of realistic horns to the taotie motif on the lid and lower register transforms this motif into an image resembling an animal, perhaps a buffalo.

An interest in depicting real animals is a recurring feature in the art of the Western Zhou. The elaboration of the flanges along the edges of this vessel into distinct yet abstract forms typifies the slightly baroque quality of decoration that is also associated with the Western Zhou period. The combination of Shang-inspired decoration and Western Zhou innovations help to date this vessel to the earlier part of the period.

Related Document Description: Asia Society. Handbook of the Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd Collection. New York: Asia Society, [1981], p. 49.
Related Document Description: Karlgren, Bernhard. 'Some Characteristics of the Yin Art.' Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities 34 (1962), p. 27.
Related Document Description: Lee, Sherman E. Asian Art: Selections from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. John D. Rockefeller 3rd. New York: Asia Society, 1970, pp. 48, 49, 71.
Related Document Description: Mizuno, Sei'ichi. In-Shu seidoki to tama (Bronzes and Jades of Ancient China). Tokyo: Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 1959, pp. 47-48, 69.
Related Document Description: Washburn, Gordon Bailey. 'The John D. Rockefeller III Oriental Collections.' ARTnews 69 (September 1970), p. 39.
AMICA ID: ASIA.1979.100a-b
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, Asia Society

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