Fangjia are among the rarest vessels from the Shang Dynasty and only a few other examples can be seen around the world in museums and private collections. This elaborately cast fangjia is richly decorated with an owl motif on three of the four sides; a bird considered to be an omen of good fortune by the ancient Chinese. This vessel may once have been owned by royalty or a particularly high-ranking official and is likely to have been used at banquets in temples, when sacrifices of food and wine were offered to the ancestors.
Wine Vessel and cover, fangjia Late Shang Dynasty (about 1550-1050 BC) © Compton Verney
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