Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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商 青銅方鼎及俎蓋
Rectangular Cauldron (Fangding) with Lid (Zu)

Period:
Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)
Date:
11th century B.C.
Culture:
China
Medium:
Bronze inlaid with black pigment
Dimensions:
H. 13 in. (33 cm); W. 9 in. (22.9 cm); D. 12 1/2 in. (31.8 cm)
Classification:
Metalwork
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1943
Accession Number:
43.25.2a, b
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 207
The lid of this vessel, when inverted, functions as a serving table. The same character (clan sign) is cast on the inner wall of the vessel and on the upper surface of the table.
Very noteworthy is a Shang dynasty covered tetrapod ritual cauldron (fangding). In contrast to the common, flat-sided form of this vessel type, the Metropolitan example has a bulging belly with a curving profile supported by four slightly spreading legs. An unusual flat cover (zu) with four short protrusions could serve, when removed and inverted, as a footed serving platter or cutting board. The decoration of the vessel is divided into two registers. On the upper register are four pairs of dragons facing each other, and on the lower register four large animal masks with staring eyes, one on each side. Notched flanges project from the corners and from the median lines of the four sides, reinforcing the articulated surface décor. The same character (clan sign) is cast on the inner wall of the vessel and on the upper surface of the table.

[Zhixin Jason Sun, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Orientations, March 2015]
Marking: The same character (as 43.25.1) (clan sign) is cast on the inner wall of the vessel and on the upper surface of the table.
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