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X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC

X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC

X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC
Antiques, Artifacts & Fine Collectibles. Chinese Owl-Shaped Bronze Wine Vessel (Zun). Metamorphosis of the Soul to Eternal Life in Heaven.

Honor Ancestors in Heaven (Tien). Owl, Snake, Birds & Ox/Buffalo in High Relief. Bronze Owl Shaped & Covered Wine Heating Vessel (Zun).

11.75 (290 mm) tall x 6.75 (170 mm) long x 4.28 (108 mm) wide. Shang DynastyAnyang Period 1300 B. This bronze, Chinese Owl Zun was cast during the Late Shang Dynasty in ancient China approximately 3,000-years-ago. It would have been suitable as an offering to enable the metamorphosis of the soul of a departed member of the aristocratic and elite class, as the soul journeys into the afterlife in search of immortality in Heaven (in Chinese Tien). This zun , or wine vessel, is cast in the shape of an owl (some museums in the US have also called this figure an osprey) whose head forms a removable lid.

A twisted, scaled snake with a tigers head {see photo # 3} forms the pinion of each wing. The snakes body outlines the curve of the wings, which terminate in a clawed and plumed creature that looks like a bird, but is actually a Kui Dragon. The owl, as both a night bird and a bird of prey, was a symbol of death and ill omen in later Chinese folk tradition.

On the owls breast, is another composite creature made up of a cicadas body with a bovine head capped with large horns {see photo # 4 & 9}. The cicada insect was thought to be immortal and is often used as a symbolic metaphor for eternal life. Although the owl is thought to be unlucky to the living because it foretells death, the owl may have been considered suitable as a motif for vessels intended to feast the dead.

Combining its image with that of the cicada, a natural symbol of death and transformation, may have increased its potency. The Shang Dynasty is the earliest dynasty of traditional Chinese history supported by archaeological evidence. Excavation at the Ruins of Yin (near modern-day Anyang), which has been identified as the last Shang capital, uncovered 11 major royal tombs and the foundations of palaces and ritual sites, containing weapons of war and remains from both animal and human sacrifices.

Tens of thousands of bronze, jade, stone, bone, and ceramic artifacts have been found and are on display in the worlds finest museums. The entire exterior surfaces of this Owl-shaped wine container are profusely crowded with varied motifs that are rendered in both low and high relief, and with sharp and delicate lines that are exceedingly forceful in design. Every square centimeter of the exterior is beautifully designed with symbolic realism that also is combined with ancient Bronze Script characters that represent various attributes of the departed and his ancestors that it was designed to honor. The depiction of the Owl combined with the Dragon and the Ox suggests that this ritual bronze vessel was made as an offering for a strong and brave leader with great power.

This two-piece Owl zun is in Museum Quality, as found condition with a lustrous, bronze verdigris oxidation the exterior and a thick layer of earthen and mineral deposits on the interior of both the body and lid of this vessel. All the figures and shapes are sharply and elegantly cast with extreme clarity in three-dimensionsnot in order to depict anything from the animal world, but for purely expressive and symmetric purposes. All the raised, exterior, surfaces are boldly cast with incised spirals and volutes. Shang bronze vessels like this Owl Zun were cast, as far as we have any evidence, for use in rituals or for offerings to the spirits and ancestors. Many, if not most are uninscribed, although this one has a seal on the bottom.

Lengthy, commemorative inscriptions are not found on Chinese bronze artifacts until the early Zhou Dynasty. During the Shang Dynasty, only the clan or family name and the name of the owner are usually cast into the vessels. {Ref: The Great Bronze Age of China , edited by Wen Fong, 1980, MET}. Located on the underside of the perched Owl is a square seal stamp {see photo # 10} with a single, ideographic character (pictograph) of an bovine ox/buffalo in Chinese Niu.

This graphic identifies the family or clan emblem as the Ox/Buffalo, as well as perhaps the location of the state where the maker of this amazing vessel resided. The horned buffalo/ox, which is also featured in bold relief on the front of the vessel, was an ancient family or clan symbol in the earliest Chinese language. The seal on the bottom of the vessel is heavily encrusted and thus difficult to read or translate any other characters, but it does appear to have the large, graphic image cast in Bronze Script of an ox in the center of the seal. There are no repairs or restorations on this fabulous Warrior Owl Zunit is in museum quality condition for being about 3,000 years old and displays beautifully.

This ancient, ritual Chinese bronze vessel (in Chinese a Zun) is in the shape of a majestic Owl in Chinese. , which is a symbol of a warrior who displays. Boldness and strength in battle! The character Ying can mean any one of several raptors, including: falcons, hawks and Owls. It was designed about 3,000-years-ago by a very skilled artist to hold ritual wine for the nobility of ancient China to honor the gods and departed ancestors.

The stunning bronze vessel is cast as a perched Owl with a removalable head to add and pour the heated, ritual wine. The wings on each side of the Owl are in the shape of a curved Snake Dragon. The Owl has tail feathers turned down and under its body to form an elegant tripod that supports the vessel for heating ritual wine!

Chinese archeologists have designated this type of bird shaped zun as made during the reign of the Chinese kings and warlords during the Shang. Period (1600 BC1050 BC) of ancient Chinese history. Warlords and nobles believed that natural forces could have either beneficial or disastrous effects on their society. So, any representation was seen as a metaphor for the conquest of nature. Circular form decorations on these ritual vessels were formerly called whorls years ago, but they are actually a pictorialization of the Chinese character that means brightness of fire.

When spoken rapidly in Chinese, this graph and the name of the Fire Spirit (Zhurong) sound the same. One each side of the bronze Owl are two, smaller birds that were thought to carry the prayers and the souls of the departed to Heaven (Tien). Throughout the surface decorations, one finds.

Decorations shaped like curved line with scrolls on each endsort of like a giant paperclip. Those symbols are Chinese characters that mean Auspicious Clouds. Look carefully at photo and you can see the them. The clouds were thought to carry messages to the ancestors in Heaven (Tien in Chinese).

Birds, the only creatures able to soar in the sky, were considered messengers to the spirits and ancestors; they were the living link between Heaven and Earth. On the front of the zun, there is a bold ox (also called a Shang Buffalo) with large horns in high relief. Oxen can bear hardships and hard work, but never ask much in return, thus Chinese people always praise them for their lofty and noble character. An important role of cattle was in the capacity of serving as a religious sacrifice. An animal or animals would be ceremoniously slaughtered as a presentation to one or more deities or ancestral spirits.

A portion of the sacrificial remains would be dedicated to these, and the rest generally would be distributed to the human participants of the ceremony, and eaten. Special dwarf breeds specially for this purpose seem to have existed during the Zhou dynasty: one type being the "millet ox". Oxen, cows, beef cattle, buffalo and so on are an important motif in Chinese mythology.

There are many myths about the oxen or ox-like beings, including both celestial and earthly varieties. The myths range from ones which include oxen or composite beings with ox characteristics as major actors to ones which focus on human or divine actors, in which the role of the oxen are more subsidiary. In some cases, Chinese myths focus on oxen-related subjects, such as plowing and agriculture or ox-powered carriage. Another important role for beef cattle is in the religious capacity of sacrificial offerings. Ancient Chinese Ritual Bronze Vessels. Bronze vessels, such as this Owl Zun , were made to honor powerful royal ancestorsin this case, I believe a high-ranking or noble man who was a warrior. As early as the Shang/Western Zhou Dynasty, complex, beautifully decorated vessels for food and wine were placed in the tombs and the surface temples of the deceased to invoke blessings on the living and to protect the dead on their journey to the afterlife. This Zun is composed of mythical Owl with large beaks and eyes. The covered vessel is shaped like a magnificent Owl with a removable head that is the lid. It is believed that mythical creatures like the Owl, Dragon Snake, and Ox would scare away Evil Spirits, who were thought to inhabit both Heaven (Tien) and Earth.

The Owls wings twist and curve into the shape of powerful Snake Dragon, which were again thought to protect the owner and ancestors from Evil Spirits as he/she travel to eternal life in Heaven. Museum quality, with heavy bronze oxidation and earthen deposits. There are no apparent repairs or restorations on this lovely zun and it appears to remain in as found condition when it was reportedly found by a Chinese farmer over 50 years ago. The inside of the vessel is coated with the remains of the wine that was offered as a sacrifice to the gods over 3,000 years ago.

There is also a wonderful patina of mineral deposits, bronze oxidation, and earthen deposits. The inside of the vessel likely also contains an inscription, but they are completely covered by heavy mineral deposits and oxidation. You will not be disappointed! It is a museum quality, ancient Chinese work of art. It is a wonderful piece and would look great displayed next to your other fine ancient Chinese jade and bronze pieces!

Museum of Chinese History, Beijing. The Ancestral Landscape , David N. The Great Bronze Age of China , edited by Wen Fong, MET, 1980. Changhua Annals of the Republic of China (19111949).

Smithsonian Museum, Sackler & Freer Gallery, WDC. The Bronze Age of China edited by Wen Fong, published by the MET in 1980, pg. 162 has a similar Zun. Owl Zun, Shang Dynasty, on display at the Yale University Art Gallery.

Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery New Haven, Conn. Yale University Press, 1970, 1113, no.

Mengjia Chen, A Corpus of Chinese Bronzes in American Collections , 1-2 (Tokyo: Kyu¯ko Shoin, 1977), 127, 96465, ill. Mimi Gardner Gates, The Communion of Scholars: Chinese Art at Yale , exhibit cat. (New York: China House Gallery, 1982), 2629, no. Yale University Art Gallery, 1992, 284, ill.

Matheson, Art for Yale: A History of the Yale University Art Gallery New Haven, Conn. Yale University Art Gallery, 2001, 80, 82, fig. David Ake Sensabaugh, The Scholar as Collector: Chinese Art at Yale, exhibit cat. Yale University Art Gallery, 2004, 1213, 42, no.

Their beauty and investment value are not comparable to this ancient ritual bronze that is about 3,000 years old. Please examine the photos as they are part of the description.

The item "X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC" is in sale since Saturday, March 30, 2019. This item is in the category "Antiques\Asian Antiques\China\Other Chinese Antiques". The seller is "houghton-usa" and is located in Sequim, Washington.

This item can be shipped to United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, France, Australia.
  • Type: Ritual Wine Container (Zun)
  • Region of Origin: China
  • Age: Shang Dynasty
  • Primary Material: Bronze
  • Original/Reproduction: Original
  • Color: Bronze

X-RARE Ancient Chinese Bronze Owl Wine Vessel (Zun) Shang Dynasty c. 1200 BC