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Bronze Cauldron Li of Shijin

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Period: mid Western Zhou dynasty (1027-771 BCE)
Medium: bronze
Dimensions: height: 50.8 cm, diameter: 47cm, weight: 48.8 kg

This is a ceremonial cauldron for passing down from generation to generation. The surface has been polished and waxed so that it is dark and shining and looks extremely exquisite. The cauldron with a wide opening, folded rim and contracted neck is equipped with two handles and decorated with panels of designs and stands on hoof-shaped legs. On the outside of the cauldron are three kinds of designs: Six large kui-dragons with their heads turned to the side are cast in relief on the body against a background of rectangular spirals. There are two kui-dragons on a ground of spiral patterns on the neck, and a double-ring design on both the inside and outside of the handles.   
  Carved on the inside of the cauldron is an inscription of five lines and twenty-nine characters, which says: "On the auspicious day of gengyin early in the ninth month, Shijin had the cauldron made in memory of his deceased father and mother. It is to be treasured by their sons and grandsons for generations to come."   
  The magnificently shaped cauldron is an important object for holding memorial ceremonies. The large dragon designs that convey motion in quietude give the vessel a dignified and solemn appearance. Since the cauldron is the largest and most beautiful of the known li cauldrons, its value as a national treasure has increased.

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