|This bird shaped zun is 9 inches tall (23 cm) and weighs 7.5 pounds (3.4 kilograms. It was used to hold and pour wine. It is made of bronze and decorated with a swirling vine pattern. This is a spiritual bird with three feet called a San Zu Niao 三足鸟. It is a traditional form that represents the worship of the crow by primitive cultures. As the story goes, back at the beginning of time (the Xia Dynasty) there were ten suns that set the world ablaze. The chief of the clan, Hou Yi, was a powerful archer and shot down nine of the suns and saved the world. This feat was commemorated by drawing pictures of the sun with a three-legged crow within it. It is believed that the worship of the crow had ceased, but the story passed into folklore and this vessel recalls it. It dates to the Zhou Dynasty.
This container was found in 1975 at a dig in Rujiazhuang Village, Baojishi, Shaanxi.
Last update: March 2010
© Marilyn Shea, 2010