Ritual Vessel [Object of the Day #68]

September 21, 2012

Ritual Vessel
Ritual Vessel 642 B.CE- 221 C.E.

The vessel, pictured above, is a four sided fanghu (fāng hú) or square jar. This vessel is composed of copper alloy, bronze, malachite and pigment. The four sides are inlaid with green malachite in a delicate pattern. The pattern is still visible despite much of the malachite being lost. On either side of the vessel are bronze ring handles held in the mouths of “monster masks”, (taotie). There are also 29 characters engraved just above the base of the vessel. This engraving records the vessel’s capture by Chen Zhang (also known as “Tian Zhang”, “Zhangzi”, and “Kuang Zhang”). It was taken as booty from an attack on the state of Yan during the Zhou dynasty.

Penn Museum Object #C243

See this and other objects like it in Penn Museum’s Online Collection Database.