Tripod grey pottery vessel (Li), Shang dynasty

Description: This grey tripod vessel was made during Shang and Zhou dynasties. The legs are commonly called ‘ruzu’, meaning they are mammiform. It was used as cooking vessel, which may be the reason that the surface of the base contains some darker areas, which are likely to be scorch marks. A large number of such vessels were made, but majority of such vessels are only decorated with rope impressions. This Li is an unusual one that is impressed with three identical circles with cross-hatched patterns inside. There is also a vertical line between the legs, indicating that the surface patterns are made using a mould. The Li shape probably refers to the bronze vessels made during the same period.

Provenance: A British collection

Reference: For a similar jar of this type, see Chinese Ceramics, He Li, 2006, P66

Shang dynasty 1st millennium BCE

22cm high, 21cm diameter