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Standard Measure (Dou)


Xin Dynasty (9–23 CE)

Not on view

Wang Mang (ca. 45 B.C.– A.D. 23), a usurper of the Han throne, established the short-lived Xin dynasty in A.D. 9. The present vessel is one of the few surviving examples illustrating his standardization of measurements. Most striking are the reliefs of five auspicious crops on its sides, identified by inscriptions. The patterns are too fine to have been cast or engraved and are thought to have been painted with lacquer or made by way of chemical treatment. These sacred omens were widely used in Han visual art and reflect the ideology of the period.

#206. Measurement (dou) from Wang Mang's reign

Standard Measure (Dou), Bronze, China

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