Ritual tripod cauldron, Ding
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- Han Dynasty, 206 BC - 220 AD
- 16.2 cm
- 23.5 cm
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This heavy ritual bronze vessel with a bulbous body is raised on three waisted legs and has a pair of upswept handles. The domed cover has three ring handles.
The bronze ding, a cooking utensil in past times, was used like a cauldron for boiling fish and meat. At first, around 5,000 to 6,000 years ago, the ding was made of fired clay, usually with three legs. When China entered the bronze age, the earthenware ding was gradually replaced by the bronze one. In time, it assumed the role of an important sacrificial vessel and it became one of the most important shapes used in Chinese ritual bronzes.