Tsu-i Tsun

AnonymousBC 1046-BC 771

National Palace Museum

National Palace Museum
Taipei, Taiwan

With four sides bearing flanges, the body of this vessel is decorated with animal-mask and k'uei-dragon patterns. The eyebrows, ears, and lower lip of the two animal masks on the belly protrude, as each ear is decorated with a bird pattern. This wide-rimmed tube-shaped tsun vessel is of a type that was popular in the early Western Zhou period. Divided into three segments--a flaring rim, extended belly, and a high ring foot, and near the base is folded rim and the four panels of the body are divided by openwork flanges. The outer wall of the rim is decorated with a sharp leaf-shaped pattern of simplified standing inverted k'uei dragons, below which are curled-tail k'uei-dragon designs. Both sides of the body are decorated with large animal-mask decoration, the eyes, horns, ears, and fangs at the side of the mouths of which protrude from the surface of the vessel. Rich in imagery, the nose standing out takes the place of a flange and also gives the animal mask a sense of volumetric force. Below the body are two rings that divide the high foot base, and below is a decoration of curving horned animal-mask patterns. Overall, this tsun vessel is solemn and noble in appearance as well as quite opulent and majestic. Similar to this vessel in shape is the Ho tsun from the reign of King Cheng and the Ch'i tsun from that of King Zhao. Along with the Shang tsun from the early Western Zhou period, they are all magnificent, being among the top extant bronze tsun vessels of the period. The inscription of six characters in two lines records a certain person (whose name was not included) who had this precious sacrificial vessel cast for his grandfather named Fu-i.


  • Title: Tsu-i Tsun
  • Creator: Anonymous
  • Date Created: BC 1046-BC 771
  • Physical Dimensions: Height: 34.5 cm, rim diameter: 25.6 cm, base diameter: 16.9 cm, body circumference: 54.4 cm, depth of belly: 25.6 cm
  • Type: Bronzes
  • Rights: National Palace Museum
  • Dynasty: Early Western Zhou dynasty

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