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1-10 Chinese Art - Volume I
1. Bronze ritual vessel (ho) - Shang dynasty - 13th-11th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (ho), of cylindrical form, slightly recessed at neck and foot, loop-handle mounted with a bovine mask and with straight spout, and fitted with a domed cover. The body is plain and the neck, foot and cover are decorated with bands of k'uei dragon motives on a squared spiral (lei-wen) ground. The spout is decorated with barbed spirals and 'rising blades'. The neck is fitted with two tubular handles, and a ring-handle probably for a chain which was attached to the cover. Inscribed (height 19,6 cm).

2. Bronze ritual anthropomorphic vessel (ho) - Shang dynasty - 13th-11th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (ho) of squat globular form with short straight spout, with two tubular fittings at the sides ornamented with t'ao-t'ieh motives, and a cover in the form of a horned human face. Decorated round the body with a coiled serpent, of which the cover forms the head; k'uei dragons with gaping mouths on each side of the spout, and two massive clawed legs reach forward towards the spout from the two tubular handles. The ears of the human head jut out and are perforated, so that a cord may be passed through them and through the tubular handles for carrying. From An-yang (diameter 20,7 cm; height 18,5 cm).

3. Bronze ritual anthropomorphic vessel (ho) - identical item as on the picture no. 2
4. Bronze ritual vessel (hsien) - Shang dynasty - 11th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (hsien), the lower part of li-ting form, and the upper part of deep bowl form with wide flared mouth, and with two ear handles rising from the rim. Inside there is a grille between the two parts. The lower part is decorated with bovine masks in relief over each leg, and on the upper part a narrow band of birds interrupted by small animal masks in relief, runs round below the rim (height 36,6 cm).

5. Bronze ritual vessel (hu) - Shang dynasty - 12th-11th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (hu),with ovoid body, deep foot and wide neck to which are attached two small tubular side-handles. The main decoration is a wide band of t'ao-t'ieh masks, separated by vertical flanges, with a narrower band of 'dissolved' t'ao-t'ieh above, on top of this a narrow band of k'uei dragons. A band of 'trunked' k'uei dragons at the rim and at the foot. Two ram's heads in high relief on the neck and animal masks on the tubular handles (height 40,6 cm).

6. Bronze ritual vessel (hu) - Shang dynasty - 11th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (hu), oval in section, pear-shaped with two tubular side-handles and a deep foot, decorated with a broad band of t'ao-t'ieh motives in inverted form, with large U-shaped horns, and enclosing a cicada. K'uei dragons on the narrow sides of the vessel and a narrow band of barbed spirals round the foot (height 35,6 cm).

7. Bronze ritual vessel (hu) - Chou dynasty - 10th-9th century B.C.

Bronze ritual vessel (hu), and cover, of rounded rectangular section on a deep spreading foot, the body divided into four main panels which extend round the corners and are separated by undecorated bands. On the neck are mask-mounted side handles with pendant rings. In the four panels on each side are bird motives, with a narrow band of bird motives above, topped by a border of formalised ornament in small triangular frames. The cover, with a high circular projection in the centre, that forms a foot when the cover is reversed, is ornamented with birds in four panels (height 58,4 cm).