An image of Pouring vessel 'he' in archaistic style

Unknown Artist

Pouring vessel 'he' in archaistic style

Not on display
Further information

In terms of shape, the ‘he’ dates back to the middle Shang dynasty. The popularity of this shape among Song cognoscenti can best be explained by its representation in the ‘Xuanhe bogu tu lu’ (the Xuanhe album of antiquities), a 30-volume catalogue of the Song imperial collection which was completed in the early 1100s and was the most famous and influential of the printed volumes on ancient bronze collections. This bronze in fact more closely resembles the imaginative and stylised depiction in the album than any Shang ‘he’. Its inlaid decoration exemplifies this transmutation: the use of inlays in brozes, an innovation acquired from the nomadic cultures of the Central Asian steppes, does not even appear until the post-Shang period of the Warring States (476-221 BCE).

‘The Asian Collections: Art Gallery of New South Wales’. pg.77
© 2003 Trustees, Art Gallery of New South Wales

Place of origin
China: Ming dynasty 1368–1644
17th century
bronze with silver and gold inlays
22.0 x 24.8 x 18.5 cm
Purchased 1990
Accession number
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