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Name:Gilt bronze container(fang)

Time:【Western Han Dynasty】

Size:58.8 cm

Source:Excavated at Shizishan in 1994-5 Xuzhou Museum, Jiangsu Provience


This container was excavated from the first chamber to the west in the tomb at Shizishan. Lying on its side, it was found next to the entrance area to the chamber. An almost identical fang was found close by, which is often the case in Han burials. The vessel, square in cross-section, sits on a tall, splayed foot. On 2 faces of the body is an animal face with a ring in its snout. The lid could be taken off and made to stand using the 4 bird appendages as feet to serve sa an additional vessel. Apart from the animal faces and birds, the vessel is otherwise undercorated but entirely covered with mercury-amalgam gilding, which has come off in places, allowing the bronze beneath to patinate.

Fang are vessels for alchole, as revealws by the omscriptions on bamboo slips from tomb No.1 at Mawangdui, which refers to a lidded fang containing alcohol made from rice. Four lacquered wooden fang excavated from this tomb still had alcohol dregs in them. Fang first appeared in the Spring and Autumn period and became more popular in Warring States and Western Han times. We know from an inscription on a fang from tomb No.1 at Mancheng that this type of vessel was actually referred to as such during the Han period. In additon to bronze and lacquer, fang were also produced in ceramics, as seen in the example from Shizishan that was found in the main tomb chamber.