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Fangjia (ritual wine vessel): Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Ritual bronze vessels had political and religious significance for the Shang people. More importantly, ancestors were ritually worshipped because it was believed their spirit held the power to influence the lives of their descendants. This beautiful vessel would have held wine during the solemn ritual ceremonies that typified aristocratic Shang society. The principal motif of nearly all Shang bronzes, and to which all other decor was subsidiary, was a type of full-face animal mask called the taotie. Though difficult to detect, this sacred image is encountered in the largest panel on each side of this exquisite fangjia, which features an overall graphic decor. The accompanying ornament also depicts stylized animals, as is typical of much Shang art. Distinguished by its square profile, this is among the rarest ritual vessels of the Bronze Age.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: November 21, 2009