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Square Bronze Kettle with a Lotus and Crane Motif

The finest bronze ware of China -- A Square Bronze Kettle with a Lotus and Crane Motif -- was unearthed in Lijialou Village, Xinzheng County of Henan Province in 1923. The kettle was a burial article in a tomb of the Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770BC-256BC). With its unique artistic characteristics, the kettle reflects the new direction of development in decorative crafts at that time and is regarded as an artistic treasure. The cultural relic is now kept in the Beijing Palace Museum.

The kettle, with a height of 118 cm and a diameter of 30.5 cm in its kettle mouth, is especially unique and fine in its style as well as its exquisite decorations. The surface of the kettle was carved wriggled veins. In each of its four corners decorates a dragon and its bottom is also engraved two powerful huge dragons to support the body.

More wonderfully, the kettle mouth is decorated with blooming lotus petals, and with a crane standing in its middle, which constitutes a beautiful modeling. They demonstrated the delicate, pretty and living artistic conception, and broke away the solemn, stiff style of the previous dynasties, marking a new start of Chinese decoration techniques.

Another kettle of the same kind made in the same period was also discovered and is now in display in the Henan Provincial Museum. The two kettles are regarded as the finest bronze wares of their kind in China.

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