Vessel

1200 BC-1100 BC (made)
Vessel thumbnail 1
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
China, Room 44, The T.T. Tsui Gallery
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This figure of an owl represents a type of ritual bronze vessel called zun, used for storing wine in tombs in order that the dead could continue offering sacrifices to the gods and ancestors. Bronze was one of the most important of the many materials used for grave goods. Good burials showed gratitude to the spirits of the universe and established the reputation of the dead ones in the afterworld.


object details
Category
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Wine Vessel (Zun)
  • Lid
Materials and Techniques
Bronze, cast
Brief Description
Bronze vessel (zun), 1200-1100 BC, Shang dynasty, Chinese.
Physical Description
Bronze container in the form of an owl, with a removeable head. The short-eared owl stands on its four-toed feet without support. The plumage details are partly seal pattern, partly thunder-scroll diaper, with a monster mask on the breast and an ox-headed serpent outlining the border of each wing.
Dimensions
  • Height: 21cm
Style
Gallery Label
Wine vessel Shang dynasty 1250-1050 BC This wine vessel is shaped like an owl. Cast bronze Museum no. M.5-1935(2007)
Credit line
Purchased with Art Fund support, the Vallentin Bequest, Sir Percival David and the Universities China Committee
Summary
This figure of an owl represents a type of ritual bronze vessel called zun, used for storing wine in tombs in order that the dead could continue offering sacrifices to the gods and ancestors. Bronze was one of the most important of the many materials used for grave goods. Good burials showed gratitude to the spirits of the universe and established the reputation of the dead ones in the afterworld.
Bibliographic Reference
Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, 1935-6, London : Royal Academy of Arts, 1935236
Collection
Accession Number
M.5:1, 2-1935

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record createdFebruary 9, 2003
Record URL