Simuwu Rectangle Ding
The opening of the Simuwu Rectangle Ding is 110 cm long and 78 cm wide.
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In 1939 a bronze ding -- an ancient cooking vessel with two loop handles and three or four legs -- was unearthed in Anyang, Henan Province. The four-legged ding, known as the Simuwu Rectangle Ding, was so big and heavy that it could not be moved after being unearthed (even though Japanese invaders tried on several occasions). To protect the rare cultural relic, local people reburied it and then unearthed it again after the war in 1945. The Simuwu Rectangle Ding is now at the National Museum of Chinese History.
The opening of the Simuwu Rectangle Ding is 110 cm long and 78 cm wide; its sides are six cm thick and the loop handles are 133 cm high. The whole ding weighs 75 kilograms and is the heaviest piece of bronzeware in the world. The casting of this huge bronze vessel consists of over 1,000 kilograms of metal and required 70 to 80 craftsmen to work on it. It is the biggest bronzeware unearthed in China and a treasure of the world's bronzeware collection. Though the ding is big and heavy, its workmanship is exquisite. The relief of Kui (a one-legged mythical animal) was carved on four sides of the ding. The animal figures are portrayed with artistic exaggeration and create a ferocious, mysterious and dignified mood.
Dings were used in the Chinese primitive society as cooking utensils. Initially they were made of clay, but as metallurgy emerged and developed, bronze was used instead at the end of the Shang Dynasty some 3,000 years ago. By that time, dings had become sacrificial vessels symbolizing the owners' power and wealth.
The Simuwu Rectangle Ding reveals a high level of casting technique and artistry. It represents the highest casting achievements of the Shang Dynasty. According to archeologists, the King of the Shang Dynasty had the Simuwu Rectangle Ding made to commemorate his mother.
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