Late Shang dynasty to early Western Zhou period BC1300-771

Ya-ch'ou Square Kuei

Late Shang dynasty to early Western Zhou period BC1300-771

Ya-ch'ou Square Kuei

Height: 18.5 cm, depth of belly: 11.72 cm

Many bronzes cast by the Ya-ch'ou clan have been unearthed around Su-pu-tun Village in Yidu, Shandong, and scholars believe that they were the Pao-ku family found in the ancient text, "Zuo Zhuan." This family, which prospered in the late Shang dynasty, was wiped out at the hands of King Cheng of Early Western Zhou. Around forty percent of extant inscribed bronzes known to have been cast by the Ya-ch'ou clan are square in shape, and include the "tsun", "i", "lei" and "fou", "hu", and "chia" wine vessels, and the square "ting" cauldron, found in the tomb of the Shang consort Fu Hao. These vessels together make up a set of ritual vessels in the late Shang period. This particular example belongs to the late Shang period, and is called the "Ya-ch'ou Square Kuei". Its name was derived from the fact that the inscription consists of the two Chinese characters "ya" and "ch'ou." In addition to the bird, "k'uei" dragon and animal mask motifs, it has six vertical flanges, in three sections, dividing up the surfaces. A unique feature is the handles, carved avian creatures, look up and stretch their necks out into the open mouths of an animal mask.

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