Early Western Zhou dynasty BC1046-771

Tsu-i Tsun

Early Western Zhou dynasty BC1046-771

Tsu-i Tsun

Height: 34.5 cm, rim diameter: 25.6 cm, base diameter: 16.9 cm, body circumference: 54.4 cm, depth of belly: 25.6 cm

Such wide-mouthed, cylindrical zun wine vessels were popular during the early Western Zhou, and were typically divided into three sections. This vessel has a wide mouth, slightly rotund belly, and a high ring foot, with an angled rim where the base meets the ground. The vessel is decorated with four openwork flanges. The exterior rim is decorated with tapering leaf-shaped simplified upside-down kui patterns, below which kui dragon patterns with curled tails can be seen. The front and back of the belly are adorned with large animal masks, with two eyes, two horns, two ears, and bared fangs protruding from the surface of the vessel to create quite a formidable impression. The erect nose bridges replace the flanges for this section, further enhancing the three-dimensionality and majesty of the animal masks. The belly is divided from the high ring foot by two sets of string patterns, below which animal mask patterns with curved horns can be found. The entire zun wine vessel exudes a sense of solemn majesty and rich grandeur. An inscription consisting of six characters in two columns reads, “Zuo Zu Yi Bao Zun Yi (Treasured Zun Wine Vessel Commissioned for Yi the Grandfather),” constituting a record of how someone (their name is not noted) commissioned this valuable ritual vessel for their Grandfather Yi.

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