He of Fu Chai


Tripod for warming wine
Late Spring and Autumn Period
Height: 27.8cm
Belly diameter: 24.9cm
Weight: 4,320g

A circle of inscriptions on its shoulder, close to the mouth, notes that Fu Chai, King of the State of Wu, cast this He for a woman. This He has a small mouth and a flat lid. An arc handle fixed on the shoulder is designed into the shape of a hollow dragon, the body of which is also composed of countless entangled smaller dragons. Unbelievably, the designs on the small dragons are also meticulously cast, almost hair-like, and can be seen clearly only through a magnifying glass.

Such exquisite and delicate casting can only be achieved by the lost-wax technique. The dragon's back was decorated with a complicated openwork dragon. On one side of the belly, there is a short zigzag spout in the shape of a dragon head. On the other side of the belly, an upright dragon tail. The whole decoration is a fine example reflecting exceptional casting skills at the time.