Above the main motif of 'taotie' masks on this ritual object is a register of twelve animals, each with one foot, a hooked beak and upwardly curled tail. This mythical creature is traditionally referred to as a 'Kui dragon', a name adopted by connoisseurs of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD). Some scholars, have suggested abandoning this usage according to Confucius's description of the Kui as a virtuous and worthy master of music. Dragons were believed to have the ability of assisting shamans to connect heaven and earth during ritual ceremonies in ancient China.
Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012
Rectangular cauldron 'fang ding'
Place where the work was made
circa 12th century
21.0 x 17.3 x 14.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Bequest of Kenneth Myer 1993
Not on display
Where the work was made
Shown in 2 exhibitions
Referenced in 2 publications
Jackie Menzies, The Art Gallery of New South Wales collections, 'Asian Art - India, South-East Asia, China, Tibet, Korea, Japan', pg. 173-228, Sydney, 1994, 188 (colour illus.).
Jackie Menzies (Editor), The Asian Collections Art Gallery of New South Wales, 'Bronzes and Jades', Sydney, 2003, 70 (colour illus.).