- Gallery Text
Like their Shang predecessors, the Zhou produced sets of bronze ritual vessels for use in state rites and burial in tombs. In style, form, and function, the earliest bronze vessels from the Western Zhou period were virtually indistinguishable from those made by the Shang, for the Zhou sought to legitimize their ascension over their defeated rivals by closely replicating the tangible symbols of Shang power. Before long, however, traditional Shang decorative motifs such as the taotie animal mask began to evolve, and new forms emerged, such as the confronting dragons on the inscribed gui food vessel (far right) or the elephants on the covered you wine vessel (near left) displayed here. Inscriptions on these objects expanded, from single clan marks to longer memorializing inscriptions, signaling a shift in the function of bronze vessels from purely sacred objects belonging to powerful Shang clan members, to status symbols commemorating the accomplishments of Zhou kings and nobles.
- Identification and Creation
- Object Number
- Openwork Plaque with Coiled Dragon (probably the front of a scabbard)
- Weapons and Ammunition
- Work Type
- 11th-8th century BCE
- Creation Place: East Asia, China
- Zhou dynasty, Western Zhou period, c. 1050-771 BCE
- Persistent Link
Level 1, Room 1600, Early Chinese Art, Arts of Ancient China from the Bronze Age to the Golden Age
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- Physical Descriptions
- Bronze with turquoise inlay
- H. 18.6 x W. 10.3 x D. 2.9 cm (7 5/16 x 4 1/16 x 1 1/8 in.)
- Grenville L. Winthrop, New York (by 1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
- Acquisition and Rights
- Credit Line
- Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
- Accession Year
- Object Number
- Asian and Mediterranean Art
- THIS WORK MAY NOT BE LENT BY THE TERMS OF ITS ACQUISITION TO THE HARVARD ART MUSEUMS.
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- Exhibition History
S427: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 10/20/1985 - 04/30/2008
Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 06/01/2013
32Q: 1600 Early China II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/16/2014 - 01/01/2050
- Subjects and Contexts
Google Art Project
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