Tentatively cast with thin walls, spindly legs, and virtually no decor, this small, ungainly vessel harkens from nearly the beginning of the Chinese Bronze Age. Relics such as this from the Erh-li-kang culture (16th-14th century b.c.) were first discovered in 1952 at Cheng-chou in Honan province. The Erh-li-kang culture flourished during early Shang and predates the movement of the Shang capital to Anyang (Yin-hsu) around 1300 b.c. Archaeological research shows that the chueh was the first ritual wine vessel and was developed during the seventeenth century b.c. Originally based on the style of existing pottery vessels, it rapidly evolved toward an aesthetic based entirely on cast bronze principles, and this vessel demonstrates the primitive technology and awkward proportions of the first ceremonial bronzes.