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Covered Food Container

A work made of bronze.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze.


Western Zhou dynasty ( 1046–771 BC ), mid–10th century BC



About this artwork

Birds with long, trailing plumage encircle the lid and basin of this vessel. Their flowing lines reflect the skillful hand of the potter who carved the design in clay for casting in bronze. At some time in the past, this extensively damaged vessel was repaired and cleaned, thereby exposing its present, uncorroded surface.

Cast in the basin and lid are identical inscriptions: “In the eleventh month, first quarter, [on the day] jiashen, the King was in Hua. The King gave Ming deer. [Ming] therefore made [this] precious vessel. May Ming always [use this] gui to entertain many friends.” The unusual inscription describes a secular event, indicating a new use for ritual bronzes. Such commemorative inscriptions, which gradually replaced shorter ancestor dedications, are important documents of Western Zhou history.


On View, Gallery 131


Arts of Asia


Covered Food Container


China (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

999 BCE–900 BCE




24.1 × 21.6 cm (8 1/2 × 8 1/2 in.); Diam.: 21.6 cm (8 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Lucy Maud Buckingham Collection

Reference Number


IIIF Manifest  The International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF) represents a set of open standards that enables rich access to digital media from libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions around the world.

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Extended information about this artwork

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