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Vessel in archaic 'gu' form



Unknown Artist

  • Details

    Other Title
    Vessel in archaic 'gu' form with wooden stand
    Place where the work was made
    Song dynasty 960 - 1279 → China
    Media categories
    Metalwork , Woodwork
    Materials used
    bronze with gold and silver inlays; wooden [stand]
    25.5 x 14.8 cm :

    a - vessel, 23.1 cm

    b - stand - wooden, 3.3 cm

    Signature & date

    Not signed. Not dated.

    Asian Collection Benefactors' Fund 1997
    Not on display
    Accession number

    Reproduction requests

  • About

    This bronze vessel demonstrates the persistence of a taste for antique bronzes that was sustained throughout Chinese history by the literati. It takes the shape of the 'gu', an ancient form of ritual wine goblet of the Shang and Zhou dynasties that was re-interpreted and copied during the Song to Ming dynasties. The flaring upper part is decorated by four blades which contain motifs of schematic 'taotie' masks, dragons and geometric patterns. The blades may well represent the cicada, a symbol of rebirth associated frequently with burial objects. In each of the upper four quarters are dragons with open jaws and curved horns. Below, the zoomorphic motifs in the four sections can be viewed as two groups and form two 'taotie' masks. Over the whole body of the vessel the animal motifs are rendered in inlaid gold and silver sheet metal and wires, against a backdrop of 'leiwen', or thunder pattern.

    ‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.76
    © 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

  • Places

    Where the work was made


  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition

  • Bibliography

    Referenced in 1 publication