Jin ding cauldron

Early Western Zhou Dynasty
Height: 62 cm, rim diameter: 47 cm
Unearthed from M253 at Liulihe, Fangshan in 1974

This vessel has a mouth slightly curved inward with its rim bent outward, a right-angle edge, upright ears, a bulging belly and three legs. There are three shallow round depressions in the inner bottom that correspond to the three legs. Each of the ears is adorned with a group of confronting kui-dragon patterns on the outside. Beneath the mouth rim there are six groups of beast masks with ridges for noses. Each of the legs is adorned on top with a group of beast masks with three raised lines beneath. The interior surface of the belly is inscribed with twenty-six characters in four lines, saying Duke of Zhao awarded Jin Yi, who had offered food to the duke by the order of Marquis Yan. Majestically shaped and simply decorated, this bronze ritual vessel is rated as the largest and heaviest one among its kind in Beijing region, marking the advanced level of local bronze culture.