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February 7, 2010

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Old bronze drink vessel features animal faces

YUE Fu You is a special wine vessel and visitors can easily spot it from hundreds of thousands of exhibits displayed in the Shanghai Museum by its distinctive shape, design, color and the strange name.

The Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century-11th century BC) wine vessel was made of bronze.

However, after thousands of years buried underground, the vessel was covered by green patina.

When it was excavated in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), craftsmen covered it with wax to prevent it from further oxidation.

Therefore, the vessel looks smooth and shiny as if it has been continually polished through the ages.

"You" is a special kind of wine vessel designed to only contain wines made from millet and vanilla juice.

The "You" was named "Yue Fu" because two Chinese ancient characters "yue" and "fu" were inscribed inside the lid of the vessel, which experts believe were marks that identified the owner.

The vessel is 33.3 centimeters high and weighs 6.75 kilograms.

The distinctive design of the vessel is rarely seen as it has a delicate handle that features carvings of ancient dragon patterns.

An animal face with exaggerated eyes and a pair of horns is carved at both ends of the handle.

The face is rather distinctive to reinforce the imposing theme of the vessel.

The depictions of the animal faces are detailed and realistic, indicating that the style was typical of craftware made in the late Shang Dynasty when the culture and craftsmanship of bronze making was flourishing.

In 1954, China issued a series of commemorative stamps of important bronze vessels.

Yue Fu You was chosen as one of the eight most treasured to be thus featured.


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