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Wine containers

Updated: Mar 22, 2019 Print

Goblet (jue): The goblet (jue) is a tripod drinking vessel with a round body, a spout, a tail, and a handle at the side. A pair of short capped pillars stands at the joining part of the mouth rim and the spout.

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Goblet (jue), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of the National Museum of China [Photo/chnmuseum.cn]


Beaker (gu): A beaker (gu) is a drinking vessel with a flared mouth and base. It resembles today's stemmed cup.

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Beaker (gu), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of the Palace Museum [Photo/dmp.org.cn]


Goblet (jia): A goblet (jia) is a wine warmer, similar to the jue goblet but without spout or tail, and usually larger in size.

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Goblet (jia), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of Art Institute of Chicago [Photo/artic.edu]


Pitcher (sigong): A pitcher (sigong) is a single-handled wine container or warmer with a lid in rhinoceros shape.

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Pitcher (sigong), early Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), collection of Nanjing Museum [Photo/njmuseum.com]


Container (zun): A zun container is a wine vessel round or square-sectioned. Major variations of the vessel are those designed in animal shapes - a bird, elephant, goat, tiger, or cow.

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Container (zun), mid Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), collection of the Palace Museum [Photo/dpm.org.cn]

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Bird-shaped container (zun), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century - 11th century BC), collection of Art Institute of Chicago [Photo/artic.edu]


Bucket (you): A you bucket is a wine container with a loop handle and a lid. The belly can be round or rectangular. Some of the buckets are designed in the shape of an owl or other animals.

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Bucket (you), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of National Museum of China [Photo/chnmuseum.cn]


Square container (yi): The wine vessel features a square-sectioned body and a pyramid lid resembling the roof of a building.


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Square container (yi), Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), collection of Art Institute of Chicago [Photo/artic.edu]


Jar (hu): Square or round, the vessel was used to serve wine or water. Most of the bronze jars manufactured after the Spring and Autumn Period (770-475 BC) are lavishly decorated with birds and other animal motifs.

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Jar (hu), Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), collection of the Shaanxi History Museum [Photo/sxhm.com]


Ewer (he): A wine container or blender with three or four legs. An ewer (he) is characterized by a sagging belly, a spout, and a handle.

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Ewer (he), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of the Palace Museum[Photo/dpm.org.cn]


Container (lei): A lei container has a big belly which allows it to hold a fairly large volume of wine or water. Standing on a ring foot, it features one or two pairs of ring-shaped knobs at the vessel's shoulder. A lei container can also be square-sectioned, in which case it is usually capped with a pyramid-shaped lid.

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Container (lei), mid Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC), collection of the Palace Museum [Photo/dpm.org.cn]


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Square container (fang lei), late Shang Dynasty (c.16th century-11th century BC), collection of the Palace Museum [Photo/dpm.org.cn]


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