Square yu flask with goat head

Accession No. R002066
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Bronze
Findspot Tomb No. 331 Hsiao-t'un, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hsiao-t'un village, Anyang, Honan province, China
Dimension H. 35 cm; L. 11.6 cm; W. 9.5 cm


This artifact is a wine vessel found in the coffins of Tomb No. 331. Alongside a round neck and ring foot, this yu has a squared body which is rare. The vessel has a squared swing handle that is decorated with serrated flanges. In addition, three-dimensional relief decorations are found across the body. The lid, topped with a knob in the shape of a single legged horned bird, is decorated with swirl motifs and three bird patterns. A tiger-shaped link lies on the handle and joins the flask to the lid. From the top of the neck, motifs bands of interlaced patterns, horned animal-mask patterns, triangles and cloud and thunder patterns, can be seen. Different animal head decorations can be seen when viewing different angles of the vessel shoulder: tiger heads are found on the vessel front and back, while bottle-horned dragon heads and animal heads with pointy ears, have been placed on the four corners, and the bottom of the handle, respectively. From the animal heads with pointy ears the swing handle extends upwards, the handle is formed of a bi-headed snake which is decorated with serrated flanges and scale patterns. The four sides of the vessel body are decorated with animal-mask patterns with goat horns, the snouts and horns of which bulge from the vessels surface. On the upper side of the ring foot are four support marks. The whole vessel is encircled with cloud and thunder patterns.