An image of Square 'ding' cauldron with mythical creatures

Unknown Artist

Square 'ding' cauldron with mythical creatures

Other titles:
Rectangular cauldron 'fang ding'
Location
Not on display
Further information

Above the main motif of 'taotie' masks on this ritual object is a register of twelve animals, each with one foot, a hooked beak and upwardly curled tail. This mythical creature is traditionally referred to as a 'Kui dragon', a name adopted by connoisseurs of the Song dynasty (960-1279 AD). Some scholars, have suggested abandoning this usage according to Confucius's description of the Kui as a virtuous and worthy master of music. Dragons were believed to have the ability of assisting shamans to connect heaven and earth during ritual ceremonies in ancient China.

Asian Art Department, AGNSW, January 2012

Place of origin
China
Period
China: Shang dynasty circa 1600–1100 BCE
Year
circa 12th century
Media
Metalwork
Medium
bronze
Dimensions
21.0 x 17.3 x 14.0 cm
Signature & date
Not signed. Not dated.
Credit
Bequest of Kenneth Myer 1993
Accession number
573.1993