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Image of Ritual Wine Vessel (Gu)

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Ritual Wine Vessel (Gu)

Creation date: 12th century BCE
Creation place: China

Other Information

Type: Bronze Gu
Medium and Support: Bronze
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Accession Number: 1948.19
Dimensions: 12 1/4 in. x 6 1/2 in. x 6 1/2 in. (31.12 cm x 16.51 cm x 16.51 cm)
Currently on view


C.T. Loo & Company, Inc., New York, New York (ca. 1941 - March 18, 1948)

San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, California (March 18, 1948 - )

Label Copy

This elegant bronze beaker called a gu was made during the height of Shang bronze production during the 12th century BCE in China. It belonged to a set of vessels used in offerings of food and wine to the ancestors. A gu was usually decorated with the type of imagery seen here: cicada blades in the upper section and animal masks in the center and bottom sections. The animal masks, called taotie, do not depict an actual, animal but bring together parts representing the powers of various species. To locate a taotie mask in the lower section of this beaker, find two round raised eyes separated by a flange.
Last Updated: 4/17/2012


This object was included in the following exhibitions:

Exhibition of Chinese Arts C.T. Loo & Company, Inc. , 11/1/1941 - 4/30/1942

Art of East Asia San Diego Museum of Art , 2/3/2013 - 8/1/2013


This object has the following bibliographic references:

Ms. Yu Sung. Selections from the Chinese Collection San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1999
Page Number: 73, Figure Number: 73

The Fine Arts Gallery of San Diego Catalogue: San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 1960
Page Number: 136, 137, Figure Number: 137

Dr. Caron Smith. San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego Museum of Art. San Diego, California, 2003
Page Number: 30, Figure Number: 30

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