Jian of Fu Chai, King of the State of Wu


Basin, Late Spring and Autumn Period
Height: 45cm
Mouth diameter: 73cm
Base diameter: 41.1cm
Weight: 54kg

Jian is a basin for containing water or ice. A big Jian can even be used to take a bath. In ancient times, there is no mirror. People pour water into the Jian and see one's reflection on the water surface. So, Jian also means mirror.

This Jian has a broad opening, a slightly constricted neck, an appreciably tapering belly and a flat bottom. The two looped handles have rings and are adorned with small animals crouching on the forehead of big animals. Diagonally, there are two pointed-horned dragons clambering along the wall and biting the rim. The rim and the belly are densely clothed with interlaced dragon designs, which are very popular in the Spring and Autumn Period and the Warring States Period. A 13-character inscription in three lines makes it known that Fu Chai, King of the State of Wu, had this big water vessel cast for him to use in his court.