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Ming Bronze Vessel

Chinese Ming Bronze Vessel
Elephant Vase
Patterned Belt Design
Ming Dynasty, Xuande Reign, 1426-1425 AD

H 10.25 in.(26cm), W 6.5 in.(16.5cm), D 4.5 in.(11.5cm)
Condition: excellent!

Private Collection

The distinctive form of this bronze vase exemplifies Ming transition in its preference for flowing contours rather than intricate ornamentation. Thus the side handles are ingeniously designed as realistically modeled elephant heads with drooping ears, tusks crossed at the front and the trunks descending in graceful curves to the foot of the vase. The body of the piece bears a smooth, dark patina mottled with deep red oxidation. Hand-chased borders enclose a geometrical pattern that circles the vase and joins the elephant motifs.

Bronze vessels were used in rituals and ceremonies in veneration of the ancestors. The number and size of vessels a person owned reflected their wealth and status. Although not a classic ritual vessel shape, bronzes similar in form to this one are sometimes described as holders for incense sticks or as holders for divination sticks. ! It may also have been used to hold wine.

  
Ming Bronze Vase Ming Bronze Vase
  
  
  
Ming Bronze Vase Ming Bronze Vase
 
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