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Fang Hu Vessel
Uncertain date
Material and technique
28 x 16,5 x 16,5 cm
Augusta Monferini
The Fang Hu vessel has a square base and was a ritual vessel used to hold wine during ceremonies.  The small square mouth is set on a long neck flowing into a deep body which widens progressively, following the gentle curve of the shoulders down to the base. Set inside two finely wrought clasps at the height of the shoulders are rings for moving or hanging the vessel, which form an elegant ornament.
The whole vessel is decorated with traditional damascened inlays in malachite, gold and silver. The rosette motif is repeated at regular intervals all over the surface, giving the vessel an extremely precious appearance. The delicacy and refinement of the decoration and the elegant shape of the vessel have led several experts to attribute it to the Sung Dynasty (AD 960-1279), a period of refined taste and emphasis on the free re-interpretation of the forms of the past. In fact, although the technique of damascening was inherited from the past, the technical innovations and use of new geometrical motifs in this piece give the vessel a more sophisticated appearance than earlier Shang and Zhou bronzes.
A similar vessel, except for the decoration, exists in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Fang Hu Vessel
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