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Similar vessels excavated in Inner Mongolia suggest that this somewhat awkward vase was produced for a member of the Ruzhen, or some other confederation of Mongol people, who ruled parts of northern China from the twelfth to the fourteenth century. The shape of the vessel derives from the hu form, first produced in China during the Bronze Age, and the mask-like imagery on the lower section has similar roots. Both allude to the antiquarianism that was common in China in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The cresting waves at the top of the vase, on the other hand, are a contemporaneous motif commonly found in ceramics and metalwork.

Vase, Bronze, China

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