Collection online


  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Bronze vesel, 'you'. 'Taotie' face and inscription. Made of gold and silver inlaid bronze.

  • School/style

  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 18thC
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 23.2 centimetres (to handle)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Language

  • Curator's comments

    Rawson 1992:
    This vessel is a copy of a 'you' of the middle Western Zhou. However, although the vessel is intended to be a faithful copy and may even have been made to deceive, the use on inlay is anachronistic, as gold and silver were not employed on vessels of the Western Zhou period.Michaelson 2006:
    This example is an archaistic one, made during the Qing dynasty (1644-1911) as a copy of the ancient shape. Such copies were made to show respect for past traditions and were inspired by catalogues of antiques printed either by the imperial court or rich antique collectors. Gold and silver inlay was not used on bronze until the Eastern Zhou period (771-221 BC), so the use of inlay here is anachronistic. The Chinese felt that by copying old and revered antiques they were expressing a reverence for the past, particularly that of the Zhou dynasty, during which Confucius lived, and they talked of an idyllic period of golden rule at the beginning of that dynasty. The 'taotie' mask on the vessel can be seen as a quirky pastiche of the original monster mask decoration


  • Bibliography

    • Cowell, et al. 2003 bibliographic details
    • Rawson 1992 figure 48 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Subjects

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department


  • Registration number


COMPASS Title: Bronze you inlaid with gold and silver


COMPASS Title: Bronze you inlaid with gold and silver

Image description



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Object reference number: RRC16409

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