A SET OF FIVE BRONZE TRIPOD INSCRIBED VESSELS, DING
China, Han dynasty
The group consisting of five containers with similar shape and decoration, different in size, each with a hemispherical body supported by three legs and equipped with two handles placed on the edge of the mouth, a band with a geometric motif on the upper part of the body of each, all the pieces with an inscription inside the wall.
23,4 cm the highest
Provenance : Fabrizio Savi collection, acquired from Anthony J. Allen, Auckland, New Zealand, between 1995 and 2000.
According to a well known legend, the mythical King Yu of the Xia dynasty, who lived in the 21th century B.C., achieved remarkable results in the administration of his kingdom, above all managing to put under control the course of many rivers that, with their frequent floods, subtracted vast amounts of land good for agriculture. He then decided to divide his country into nine provinces, and for each of them he ordered that a great ding be realized. These nine bronzes together became since then the symbol of the heavenly authority of the Chinese emperor and of the continuity of his dynasty.
The use of associating a certain number of ding with the social rank of an aristocrat was theorized more precisely during the Spring and Autumn Period (722-481 B.C.) to allow the proper unfolding of funerary rituals. Nine ding were reserved only for the sovereign, seven ding for a prince and five ding, the number that characterizes the set presented here, to a high official. Each container was used to cook a different type of meat or fish.
* Scientific analyzes carried out on 9/12/2000 by the Orenda. Authentication and Analysis of Artifacts and Antiquities, Santa Fe, confirm the proposed dating.