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An image of 'Li' (tripod) by

Longshan, Shandong Province, China

'Li' (tripod)
Other titles:
Tripod 'li'
Place of origin
LongshanShandong ProvinceChina
Shang dynasty circa 1600 - 1100 BCE → China
circa 14th century BCE-11th century BCE
Media category
Materials used
grey earthenware

13.6 x 13.5 cm (irreg.)

Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Purchased 1983
Accession number
Upper Asian gallery
Further information

The 'li' is a uniquely Chinese cooling vessel which when filled with water and covered with a perforated vessel, was used for steaming. The simple surface decoration is characteristic of such wares: the deep cord-like markings on the body are the imprints left by the cord-lined moulds in which the piece was shaped. The vessel shape is made of three mammary lobes standing on pointed feet.


Willets, W., 'Foundations of Chinese Art' London, Thames and Hudson, 1965. pg.38, fig. 13.

Valenstein, S., 'A Handbook of Chinese Ceramics' New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1975, collection plate no. 3 (pg.14).

Pang, M.A., 'An album of Chinese Art' Melbourne, National Gallery of Victoria, 1983, fig. 14.

Asian Art Dept., AGNSW, 21 September 1983.

Bibliography (1)

Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Early Ceramics', Sydney, 2003, 101 (colour illus.).

Exhibition history (1)

Conversations through the Asian collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 25 Oct 2014–05 Sep 2015