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Bronze Zun and Pan of Zeng Hou Yi

Hubei Provincial Museum

Hubei Provincial Museum

This is a set of wine vessels that is consist of a bronze Pan and a bronze Zun. Zun was used to contain wine and Pan to contain ice. They are individual pieces yet designed to be a perfect match. Since this wine set was not made for practical uses, the functional parts are covered in delicate decorations. On the surface of the Zun, there are four dragons that are made of hollowed-out texture. Decorations as these transforms the daily objects into art.

The complicated texture that forms the decorations on these artifacts is actually tiny sculptures of Hui (a kind of dragon which lives in water). These Hui are made by techniques that are rather advanced at the time. To make these entwining bronze Hui, a wax model was made first. Then the model was covered with fireproof material (such as clay) and via heating, the wax melted and was poured out, thus a mold was made. Then melted copper was put into the mold to make a decorating part that was at last attached to the vessel. On the Zun there are in total 34 parts like this and on the Pan, 38. The set was made was the most advanced skills at the time; therefor it represents the highest quality of bronze artifacts in the Warring States Period.

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  • Title: Bronze Zun and Pan of Zeng Hou Yi
  • Location: Unearthed from Leigudun Tomb (No.1 ), Suizhou, Hubei
  • Medium: Bronze
  • Excavation Date: 1978
  • Dynasty: Around 433 B.C. (the East Zhou Dynasty and the early Warring States Period)
  • Dimensions: Zun Height: 30.1 cm; top diameter: 25cm; bottom diameter: 14.2 cm; weight 9 kg. Pan Height: 23.5 cm; top diameter: 58 cm; weight: 19.2 kg.

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