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Ting (tripod cooking vessel) with a design of stylised birds and cicadas


Period China, Shang dynasty, 13th - 11th century B.C.
Materials and techniques bronze
Size H.22.0 MD.17.7


This tripod cooking vessel, known as the ting, was intended to boil meat and prepare crops as offerings to ancestral spirits. The three legs supporting the vessel made it possible to place a fire beneath the vessel and the ting can be carried by placing a pole through the two ears. The upper section of the body is decorated with a band of mysterious bird and six rising blades. The curved lower part is surrounded by sixteen decorative cicadas, the symbol of rebirth and hence eternal life in ancient China.

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