Ceremonial Wine Vessel on Wheels
On View: Great Hall, 1st Floor
This phoenix bears a removable vessel on its back that is in the form of an ancient ritual bronze called a zun. Fanciful taotie (monster masks), also found on ancient bronzes, adorn both the vessel and the bird’s chest. In Chinese art, the image of a bird on wheels dates back to bronze examples in the Han dynasty (206 B.C.E.–220 C.E.), though the precise meaning or purpose of this ancient form remains unknown.
Cloisonné enamel on copper alloy
early 18th century
21 5/8 x 9 1/16 x 14 3/8 in. (55 x 23 x 36.5 cm) (show scale)
Gift of Samuel P. Avery, Jr.
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Ceremonial Wine Vessel on Wheels, early 18th century. Cloisonné enamel on copper alloy, 21 5/8 x 9 1/16 x 14 3/8 in. (55 x 23 x 36.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Samuel P. Avery, Jr., 09.513a-b. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 09.513a-b_PS1.jpg)
overall, 09.513a-b_PS1.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2006
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Phoenix-bearing, zun-shaped wine vessel on wheels, in cloisonné enamel. The flaring wine vessel stands on the bird's back. The vessel has a low, spreading foot, a broad depressed ovoid body and a tall, trumpet-shaped mouth. The bird's feet rest on the axel between two six-spoked wheels. The bird's tail curves downward and ends in a flat surface that serves as a base for the object. A tall dentate ridge runs from the top of the bird's head to the end of the tail, interrupted only by the vessel. All visible surfaces of the object are decorated in gilded copper with cloisonné enamels. The bird's feathers are represented in rows of various colors, while its head is covered with red dots on a turquoise ground. The vessel is decorated with taotie masks and stylized dragons, as well as fanciful cicada patterns.
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