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 Phoenix-shaped he 

    Western Zhou Dynasty (1046B.C.-771 B.C.)

 There was a kind of hand-washing rite for aristocrats in Shang and Zhou Dynasties. When people washed their hands in ceremonies, a bronze he would be used to pour the water from the top down, and then the water would drop into the pan plate. He and pan would constitute a full set of necessary utensils to carry out the hand-washing rite.

This bronze he made in late Western Zhou Dynasty, is a kind of rarely seen flat-shaped he. With the whole height of 44.5 centimeters, it is the largest ancient bronze he so far. What’s more, its complicated workmanship makes it of high historic and artistic value. Its decorations are extremely complex and splendid with a large phoenix lying on the top lid, two wings lifting upward. On the top of the phoenix there is another little bird with a crooked beak, which is seized by a head-turned and tail-curled tiger. The forelegs and the hind legs of this tiger cross with each other, forming a circuit. A pin through the circuit skifully connects the lid and the handle below together, making it move up and down very flexibly. Such design is of great ingenuity.

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