Tri-sectioned Yu Flask with a Swing Handle: Ku and body

Accession No. R001071
Period Shang Dynasty
Material Bronze
Findspot Tomb No. 1022 Hsi-pei-kang, Yin-xu Site
Geographic Location Hou-Chia-Chuang village, Anyang, Honan province, China


This yu, a wine vessel, was unearthed in Tomb 1022, Hsi-pei-kang. Its shape is not very different from the common round yu, but its neck is an upside down detachable ku, a wine cup. Not only is the bottom of the ku able to be used alone as a cup when it’s detached, but also stops liquid from splashing out when combined with the body. That makes this yu a very ingenious design piece, and a unique one among all the unearthed Shang Dynasty bronze wares. The shape of the handle goes along with the shape of the yu. The ends of the handle that are attached to the body are decorated in the form of rabbit heads. The lid and the handle are linked by a toad-shaped chain. When the ku is detached from the body, the lid is unable to cover the body due to the chain. The ku and yu have the same pattern style: animal-mask as motif with spiral patterns as background. The animal-mask patterns are just outlined with wider lines that makes them not stand out from the background. When the ku is combined to the body, its animal-mask patterns are upside down.

It is not easy to establish the details in between the lid and the body. This model is for reference only.