Bronze Bird-Shaped Zun

Accession No. R001074
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Bronze
Findspot Tomb No. 1885 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H. 13.8 cm; Diam. of rim 6.7 cm


Zun is a type of wine vessel with a wide rim. This bird-shaped zun is missing its lid, which would have been shaped like a bird head. The whole vessel is portraying a bird body, with two legs and a hollow tail forming a tripod. The talons are curved like hooks. There are two loop handles below the rim. The whole body of the vessel is encircled with decorations; the decoration on either side of the artifact is mirror-symmetrical and is divided into two by serrated flanges on the chest and back of the bird. The chest of the bird is decorated with an up-side-down animal-mask motif, while the two wings were decorated with coiled serpent motifs. The space in between the body parts is filled with various styles of dragon motif, while the edges and corners are filled with delicate yunleiwen “cloud and thunder” patterns. Finally, the lower body has been decorated with a tiger-formed inscription with a branch horn on its head. This vessel was cast with the piece mold technique.