The inscription of the king of Chu “Hao Xi Yao” is the earliest “art character” in China

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The above picture shows the prince Wu Ding, which was unearthed in No. 2 Tomb of Xiasi, Xichuan County, Henan Province in 1979. It is 67cm high, 66cm wide and weighs 100.2kg



The following figure shows the inscription of Prince Wu Ding.

Prince Wu was the fifth son of King Zhuang of Chu in the spring and Autumn period, also known as son Geng. His father was one of the five hegemons of the spring and Autumn period. He himself also made great achievements in war. He had successively served as the commander of the Chu state and the Lingyin (prime Minister) of the Chu state. When the Wu state invaded the Chu state, he led the Chu army to defeat the Wu division. The prince Wu tripod was cast by a person appointed by Prince Wu. It was unearthed in No. 2 Tomb of Xiasi temple in Xichuan, Henan Province in 1979. When it was discovered, it was a set of seven tripods of the same shape and size. Unfortunately, it was seriously damaged when it was unearthed. After four years of repair, only five tripods reappeared their beauty. At present, they are stored separately in the National Museum of China, Henan Museum, Henan Institute of cultural relics and Archaeology and Xichuan County Museum.

The prince Wu Ding in the collection of the National Museum of China is the largest of them. It comes out with the ding to feed on a copper dagger. The vessel is a covered round tripod with square lips, waist, short abdomen, flat bottom, slanting ears, animal hooves and feet. The ring button is flat with a cover. The two ends of the cover button are cast with animal heads, and the buttons are decorated with two weeks of stealing patterns. The ears of the tripod are rectangular with 45 ° upward and outward from the mouth edge, decorated with embossed flat patterns. The edge of the tripod mouth is fully decorated with semi relief Kui dragon patterns, stolen song patterns and cloud patterns. The neck is slightly constricted, and a circle of fine shallow relief coiling Cobra stripe is decorated along the lower part of the mouth. The middle waist is contracted. There is a semicircular waist hoop decorated with embossed flat patterns. The abdomen is bulging at the lower part. The upper part is decorated with a hanging scale pattern, and the lower part is decorated with a double line stealing curve pattern for one week. There are six embossed Kui dragon patterns outside the tripod mouth and around the body. The animal mouth clenches the tripod edge, grabs the waist hoop, and clings to the device. The two corners of the head are cast into two Kui dragon coils, and the waist and tail are decorated with Taotie patterns. The Kui dragon holds its head high, extends its neck, and raises its tail. It is looking into the tripod, as if it is coveting the food in the tripod. The tripod is thick. The upper part is cast into a beast like shape, and the middle part has a beast like leaf edge as the nose.

The prince Wu tripod is dignified and dignified. However, its retracted waist and abdomen and its outward ears are very different from the Zhongyuan tripod, which has a general drum belly and ears. It has a strong sense of motion and tension. It combines calmness and flexibility harmoniously, and has a typical Chu style. The fine and colorful patterns and complicated standing carvings seemed to pursue luxury and interest, with the tendency of red tape, which was the new trend of Chu ware at that time. In particular, the six monsters attached to the belly of the ware were cast by the wax loss method and then welded to the tripod body. Their complex structure, exquisite workmanship, ingenious conception and strange style reflected the unique artistic personality and romantic temperament of Chu people. The shape of the flat bottomed waist just confirms the quirk of the king of Chu’s “good thin waist”, and this shape feature has also become a unique symbol of the bronze ware of the state of Chu.

There are 14 lines and 84 characters on the device, and 4 characters on the cover, describing the use of Prince Wu as a device and praising his merits and virtues. The words in the full text are fluent and rhyming, which is a rare long beautiful article on the bronze ware of Chu state, and has important historical value. The most unique thing is that the inscriptions are written in bird insect seal script. The characters are long, the strokes are gentle and winding, and there are many decorative lines such as bird head and fish tail. They look unique and have the reputation of the earliest “art character” in China. Later, the seal script of the Qin Dynasty had a certain impact.

2 thoughts on “The inscription of the king of Chu “Hao Xi Yao” is the earliest “art character” in China

  1. Spot on with this write-up, I absolutely think this website needs a great deal more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

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