The name Su for this type of vessel is confirmed by inscriptions, the difference between a Su and a Kuei being that the former is oblong, the latter round. The lid of this Su, if inverted, will be a vessel in itself. The workmanship, unusually fine for the period, exhibits some of the most typical features of the Middle Chou Style. The foot belt presents the so-called 'wavy line,' here executed in open work; the belly has the 'grooves' (gadrooned bands); and the neck and lid belts display the 'scale band' in flat relief. In the last two areas a small flange appears in the center of the long side, thus following the Yin tradition of dividing a cessel into four panels by handles and flanges - or free animals' heads. the Yin time but ubiquitous in Chou. Inside the ring on the lid is a bottom decor in flat, double-banded relief a beg S-shaped dragon's body ending in a dragon's head at each end. To be noted, in addition to the long tongue, the ear, and the crooked horn, are the eyes in high relief just below the tufts midway on the body. Patina green with patches of blue.

Xu food vessel, one of a pair, early 9th century BCE

Unknown artist, expand_more

Bronzeexpand_more

Bequest of Alfred F. Pillsburyexpand_more  50.46.78.1a,b

G214expand_more

These rare vessels reflect a fundamental change in form and decoration in bronze casting around 900 to 700 BCE. Gone are the animal masks, vibrant animal motifs, and spiral background patterns of Shang and earlier Zhou vessels. In their place is a severe, totally abstract patterning composed of horizontal flutes and “wave” and “shield” bands. The heavy, squat form, as well as the nonsymbolic decoration, epitomizes the so-called Western Zhou style. Identical inscriptions cast into the lids and cauldrons of both vessels read: Boxian has made this sacrificial xu vessel; may one forever treasure and use it.

Details
Title
Xu food vessel, one of a pair
Role
Artist
Accession Number
50.46.78.1a,b
Curator Approved

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The name Su for this type of vessel is confirmed by inscriptions, the difference between a Su and a Kuei being that the former is oblong, the latter round. The lid of this Su, if inverted, will be a vessel in itself. The workmanship, unusually fine for the period, exhibits some of the most typical features of the Middle Chou Style. The foot belt presents the so-called 'wavy line,' here executed in open work; the belly has the 'grooves' (gadrooned bands); and the neck and lid belts display the 'scale band' in flat relief. In the last two areas a small flange appears in the center of the long side, thus following the Yin tradition of dividing a cessel into four panels by handles and flanges - or free animals' heads. the Yin time but ubiquitous in Chou. Inside the ring on the lid is a bottom decor in flat, double-banded relief a beg S-shaped dragon's body ending in a dragon's head at each end. To be noted, in addition to the long tongue, the ear, and the crooked horn, are the eyes in high relief just below the tufts midway on the body. Patina green with patches of blue.