Vessel (zun)

Period: late Shang dynasty (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)

Date: 13th–11th century B.C.

Culture: China

Medium: Earthenware with incised and relief decoration

Dimensions: H. 10 in. (25.4 cm); Diam. 7 3/16 in. (18.3 cm)

Classification: Ceramics

Credit Line: Harris Brisbane Dick Fund, 1950

Accession Number: 50.61.5


This ritual wine vessel, or zun, is a fine example of ancient Chinese artisanship, dating from the latter part of the Shang dynasty. In earlier years, Shang bronzeworkers had imitated pottery shapes and decoration; later the compliment was returned when pottery began to imitate metalwork. This zun reflects the influence of bronze ware: the shape, the small relief flanges, and bosses on the incised decorative bands are an homage to bronzeworks made on a grander scale.