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Water Ewer (He)

A work made of bronze with copper inlay.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of bronze with copper inlay.


Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (480–221 B.C.), 4th century B.C.



About this artwork

Whereas this type of water ewer is found together with wine vessels in tombs of the Shang period, it typically appears with a shallow water basin (pan) in Zhou tombs. This change in burial context suggests a change in function—from a vessel used to dilute wine to one used to pour ablutions. In this imaginative, finely cast example, various creatures assume different parts: bird-men (or men with birdlike headdresses) form the legs; a bird’s head acts as the spout; and on the lid, a small monkey grasps a chain linked to a feline animal whose broadly arched back forms the handle.


On View, Gallery 132


Arts of Asia


Water Ewer (He)


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.

Artist's working dates 399 BCE–300 BCE


Bronze with copper inlay


25.4 × 21 cm (10 1/8 × 8 1/4 in.); Diam.: 21 cm (8 1/4 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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