Double vessel with mythical beasts (champion vase)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 220

The term “champion vase,” which appears only in Western scholarship, refers to vessels that have two narrow vertical compartments connected by a carved mythical bird. It may be a loose translation of yingxiong bei, or hero’s cup, referring to the eagle (ying) and the bear (xiong) upon which such vessels stand. Based on an archaic bronze vessel type that can be traced back to the second century B.C., champion vases were revived beginning in the sixteenth century and were manufactured in the following centuries in different media, including jade, cloisonné enamel, and rhinoceros horn.

Double vessel with mythical beasts (champion vase), Jade (nephrite), China

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