Square Yue with Inlaid Cross Pattern


Weapon, Xia Dynasty
Length: 35.6cm
Blade width: 33.2cm
Weight: 5,160g

This Yue has a very delicate inlaid decoration. It is named after the two sets of turquoise-inlaid cross patterns encircling the round aperture at its center. There are still several circles of inlaid turquoises surrounding the cross patterns.

Yue has a long stock and an arc blade, and it is a weapon for chopping and killing as well as an instrument of torture. Many pictographic characters from the inscriptions on bronzewares reveal Yue's function of beheading. Nevertheless, there are some Yues, just like this one, that are square with a flat blade, which are more likely ritual vessels with no practical use. This kind of Yue is usually unearthed from graves and is symbolic of the owner's political authority or military power.