Archaic Chinese Bronze Vessel
Western Zhou, circa: 11th century-771
10 in.(25.5cm.), W 6.75 in.(17cm.), D 4.5 in.(11.5cm.)
jue is among the most ancient of Chinese bronzes. From the heyday of the Erlitou
type site (c. 1900-1500 BCE) until sometime in the Western Zhou period (c. 11th
century-771 BCE), about a dozen similar jue has been recovered to date at Erlitou.
Stable and graciously proportioned, this jue has three flared legs emerge
from the base splay outward, it has a dragon head on the strap handle, and the
taotie masks at the waist are in fairly high relief. There is no contrastive ground
accompanying any of the decorative patterns; which is consistent with the style
of Western Zhou period bronze vessels. There is also an inscription on the trough
spout clearly indicated in pictograms : Created for Gong Wang's precious use.
Gong is a clan name of the Zhou, and vessels bearing the Gong clan name and similar
inscription have been unearthed from the Xiaomintun cemetery at Yinxu. Therefore
it is conjectured that this vessel is also comes from Yinxu. The jue was probably
a gift or offering made to Gong Wang at the funeral; it may had been used for
drinking or libations at the grave during the rite, a custom known as early as
the prehistoric Dawenkou and Longshane culture ( Fourth to third millennium BCE
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