Bronze with gold, silver and copper inlayexpand_more
Bequest of Alfred F. Pillsburyexpand_more 50.46.112
This wine vessel is one of the most splendid examples of Eastern Zhou bronze art and technique. It is decorated with a geometric, brocade-like pattern of gold, silver, and copper inlay—actually, extremely stylized depictions of dragons and birds. As religious beliefs changed, ritual bronzes became more secular in use and decoration during the Eastern Zhou period. The fearsome taotie (composite animal) masks and symbolic animal motifs of the Shang and Western Zhou periods were increasingly replaced with abstract surface ornament such as “hook and comma” patterns, granulation or, as in this case, metallic inlay. It was done as much to delight the eye as to inspire religious reverence. The vessel is reportedly from Jincun near present-day Luoyang, Henan province, and is part of a magnificent group of burial objects from the royal lineage of the Eastern Zhou.
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