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Chinese Shang Dynasty Bronze Ritual Wine Vessel (Gu)

(13th - 12th Century BC)


A Shang dynasty ritual wine vessel with a plain trumpet neck above a pair of bow-string bands. Highly intricate designs cover the entire mid section and base with each of 8 design areas centered on a raised knob. The geometrical designs have an amazing line pitch of 1 millimeter and lines less than 500 microns, representing masterful bronze casting technology. The bottom banded area is marked with 4 cruciform apertures. The vessel is un-cleaned in the same condition as when discovered with no flaws, cracks, or repairs.




Fine Detail


This wine vessel is unusual in the extra fine detail of the design. The pitch from one line to the next is 0.7 millimeters with line widths as small as 300 microns. The depth of individual features is over one millimeter.














Some other wine cups from the Smithsonian Museum in Washingtion.





A wine cup from a recent Christies Auction.


A similar wine vessel was recently sold by Christies in New York. Note this vessel appears to have been repaired as well as restored and waxed. Many older bronzes now in museums are waxed to show their beautiful patinas but the practice has lost favor and bronzes are now frequently kept in their original condition. See Chrisies Auction, wine vessel.