"Gu" vessel - ROM2005_3703_1


"Gu" vessel

Medium:Wheel-thrown earthenware
Geography: Reportedly from Anyang, Henan province, China
Date: 13th-1st half of 11th century BC
Period: Shang Dynasty
13.4 x 9.9 cm
Object number: 960.238.12
Credit Line: The Dr. James M. Menzies Collection
Not on view
DescriptionSmall pottery gu (like this one) and jue vessels were typical funerary goods and were found by the thousands in burial sites at Anyang. Just as the more exotic bronze gu and jue vessels were used as offerings in the tombs of the elite, these small, simplified earthenware versions were customarily placed as a pair in the graves of commoners. The small gu and jue are usually associated with other pottery utensils in burials, and have strong, distinguishing visual features. These provide reliable evidence for dating commoners' burials, which would otherwise be difficult to date because they lack distinctive bronze vessels. The Anyang phase of the Shang dynasty is divided into four periods, based on the typological study of earthenware gu and jue.
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