East Asia, China, Late Shang Dynasty, ca. 12th to 11th century BCE. A gorgeously preserved ritual wine vessel, known as a "you" (Type I), from the Chinese Bronze Age. The vessel has a squat, globular form, with a broad, flared foot and an elongated neck. A heavy handle with a D-shape and zoomorphic terminals rises from the neck, while a fitted lid with flame-like extensions from two sides and a large, knobbed handle sits neatly atop the vessel. In characteristic Late Shang manner, the sides are densely decorated with ornate symbolic motifs including supernatural faces. These symbols relate to the function of the "you", which was to adorn a tomb and give sustenance to the dead in the afterlife. Size: 7.6" W x 14.75" H (19.3 cm x 37.5 cm)
Provenance: ex-private Ventura County, California, USA collection, acquired prior to 2008
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Intact, with rich deposits and patina that do not obscure the form or decorative motifs.