A fine and rare archaic bronze food vessel and cover (ding)
Spring and Autumn period
Height: 11 in, 27.9 cm
The well-rounded vessel is supported on three cabriole legs, and two rectangular loop handles issue from the sides. The flat cover has straight sides and is surmounted by three flat, stepped projections and a loop handle in the centre. The sides of the vessel are cast with a frieze of dragons in profile. There are three mould marks running between the legs on the base, and one down the centre of each leg. The greyish-brown surface bears malachite and some cuprite and azurite encrustation.
Formerly in the collection of a Japanese museum, and acquired before the 1960s.
For very similar examples, see Lu and Yang, Shang–Zhou Bronzes Unearthed in Southern Anhui, no. 102, pp. 168–9; and Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji, Vol. 9, no. 4, p. 4.
Note also Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, fig. 15.6, p. 275, a covered li; So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, fig. 8.1, p. 112, a covered ding in the collection of the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto; and von Erdberg, Chinese Bronzes from the Collection of Chester Dale and Dolly Carter, no. 34, pp. 52–5, a covered ding in the collection of The Art Museum, Princeton University.