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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Fang Ding (square food vessel)

Photo: Susan A. Cole

Fang Ding (square food vessel)

early to mid-11th century BCE

The words inside this vessel represent an early moment in the development of Chinese characters. The bottom character means “tent” and refers to the owner’s title: he was in charge of the palace guards. The top character is “Gui,” the name of his ancestor who receives sacrifice. Cast bronze inscriptions like the one—and the divination records that Shang kings had carved into bones—attest to a sophisticated use of written language.
Cast bronze
8 5/8 x 6 3/4 x 5 3/8in. (21.9 x 17.2 x 13.7cm)
Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund
Photo: Susan A. Cole
Now on view at the Asian Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Luminous: The Art of Asia", October 13, 2011 - January 8, 2012

Tokyo, Japan, Suntory Museum of Art, "Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum", July 25 - September 6, 2009; Tour Schedule: Kobe City Museum, September 19 - December 6, 2009; Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, December 23, 2009 - February 28, 2010; MOA Museum of Art, March 13 - May 9, 2010; Fukuoka Art Museum, May 23 - July 19, 2010

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, "Timeless Grandeur: Art from China"
April 25, 2002 - June 12, 2005
Published References"Gift to a City" exhibition catalogue. Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum, 1965, cat. no. 5

Knight, Michael. "Early Chinese Metalwork in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1989, no. 6, pp. 10-12

Kawai, Masatomo, Yasuhiro Nishioka, Yukiko Sirahara, editors, "Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum", 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun, catalogue number 61

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.