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Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi/ Photo: Thierry Ollivier

Ceremonial Vase with Interlacing Motifs

ca. 475 BCE-221 BCE

This four-sided jar with a curved body is one of the ritual vessels used for libations in ceremonies and banquets held in palaces and temples. Two rings held by fantastic animal masks are positioned on opposite faces and the surface is abundantly covered with a decoration of gilded metal, a tracery of hooked lozenges enclosing a repertoire of fantastic animals in simplified forms derived from the magical beasts of earlier times. They are drawn in an alloy inlaid into the thickness of the walls, a technique developed under the influence of the art of the steppes, which makes it possible to adorn these prestige items with metals of different and contrasting colours. In China banqueting was a political, military, religious and social rite practised on frequent occasions by the powerful. As much a social event as an opportunity for entertainments and spectacles, it was sometimes preceded by triumphs organised to celebrate military victories. Its activities might include dances, singing, sacrifices and archery competitions. As in earlier periods, the banquet was a custom addressed to the ancestors.

Artwork Details

Title : Ceremonial Vase with Interlacing Motifs
Geography : China
Date : ca. 475 BCE-221 BCE
Medium : bronze inlaid with silver
Classification : cult (or magic) specimen
Dimensions : 48.5 x 25 x 24.6 cm
Inventory number : LAD 2010.005
Contact for images : [email protected]
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