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Square Hu, Bronze Wine Vessel, with Entwined Dragon Design

Tags: bronzes | Spring and Autumn Period | vessel | wine

This square bronze wine vessel with entwined dragon design was unearthed in Xinzheng, Henan in 1923. It was one of a pair. The other one is now in the Palace Museum in Beijing. It was unearthed from the tomb of the Lord of Zheng, in the mid to late Spring and Autumn period. This pair and the pair of square bronze vessels with the lotus and crane motif are typical of the beautiful square vessels of the Spring and Autumn period.The square bronze wine vessel with an entwined dragon design was also called “square wine vessel with beast's ears and tiger feet” or “square wine vessel with snake net covering dragon and tiger.” It is a container for wine. The rim of the lid is thick and wide, and it is decorated with a hollow carving of Yangmao style dragons. The outer wall of the lid is based on the stripes with double 八 shaped dragon design. The top also has a beady design that sticks out and is decorated with a triangle dashed line. The top of the neck is based on the design of a snake with double hooks. The top and bottom are decorated on both sides with a C-shaped snake design and a three-dimensional, dragon-shaped round-ear decoration with heads looking back and tongues sticking out. The belly looks like garlic and the spine has the shape of a cross. On the bottom, it has a rectangular foot, and a pair of dragon decorations shaped like a tiger adorns the base. This type of square vessel was cast by the lost wax casting process that was developed in the middle and late Spring and Autumn periods, making it, regardless of style, decoration and craftsmanship, of epoch-making significance in the history of bronze development. 

National Museum of History