Hu wine vessel of Song

AnonymousBC 1046-BC 771

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan

This artifact is named "Song hu" as it is a hu vessel commissioned by Song, an official of the time. This particular vessel is noted for its solemn and beautiful design. It is wide at the bottom and narrow at the top. The overall shape is rectangular, yet it is curved around the edges. The surface is adorned with interlinking wave patterns and intersecting dragons. Two legendary beasts, each with a ring in its mouth, protrude from both sides of the neck. There is also a lid at the top of the vessel. This kind of large square hu vessel was very popular in late Western Zhou Period. Two identical inscriptions, each 152 words long, are cast inside the rim and on the outside of the lid. They record the process by which the commissioner Song accepted the Zhou king's order to manage the warehouse in the Zhou kingdom's capital, louyang. Song commissioned this bronze piece as a memento after his appointment ceremony was completed. It is meant to pay tribute to the goodwill of the King, and honor Song's deceased parents. On one hand, it expresses his filial piety, which he could not continue to fulfill. On the other hand, it conveys his wishes for his family to enjoy happiness, health and good fortune, and the Zhou King to be blessed with longevity. This bronze vessel was then used as a ritual vessel in the ancestral temple.


  • Title: Hu wine vessel of Song
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date Created: BC 1046-BC 771
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 63cm, Rim diameter: 21.2x16.9 cm, Base diameter: 24.3x31.7cm
  • Type: Bronzes
  • Rights: National Palace Museum
  • Dynasty: Late Western Zhou period

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