National Museum of China – Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎

Considered one of the three most important 鼎 ding in Chinese archaeology, Da Yu ding 大盂鼎 was kept in China together with Da Ke ding 大克鼎 in Shanghai Museum until it was transferred to the National Museum of China. The other ding that is considered the Three Treasures of China is Mao Gong ding 毛公鼎 in National Palace Museum in Taiwan.

Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC)

Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎

Da Yu ding, also known as the “Twenty-Three Sacrificial to Yu ding” 廿三祀盂鼎, is a ritual cooking utensil from Western Zhou dynasty. It has a height of 101.9 cm, a diameter of 77.8 cm, and a weight of 153.5 kg. The inscription on the inner wall is 19 lines and 291 words, which records the revelation of King Kang of Zhou at Zongzhou to Yu.

The Da Yu Ding was unearthed in Li Village, Yin County, Shaanxi Province in 1849. It was given to renowned collector Pan Zu Yin 潘祖蔭 by General Zuo Zongtang 左宗棠 of the General Tso Chicken fame. Pan was a scholar of Jin script and figured out that the ding was dedicated to Nobleman Yu 盂 and it the Da Yu ding.

His brother, Pan Zu Nian, took the ding to Suzhou, and when the Sino-Japanese War happened, his descendant buried it in the yard of the Suzhou house, together with the Da Ke ding. It was donated to the Shanghai Museum in 1952 together with Da Ke ding and transferred to the Chinese History Museum (now the National Museum of China) in 1959. It is the first batch of cultural relics forbidden to go abroad for exhibition in China.

In addition to the huge shape, dignified and majestic shape, the work presents a majestic and magnificent pattern, which has attracted the attention of the world.

Although the Dayuding inscription belongs to the early Western Zhou Dynasty inscriptions, the calligraphy style is rigorous, and the knots and chapters are very simple and flat. The pen is both square and round, rigorous and dignified, majestic and beautiful. To the degree of exquisiteness, it is a masterpiece of the inscriptions of the early Western Zhou Dynasty.

Inscription in Da Yu ding in Jin script

隹九月,王才宗周,令盂。王若曰:“盂!丕顯文王受天有大令,在武王嗣文乍邦,闢氒慝,匍有亖方,畯正氒民。在雩御事,[虘又] 酒無敢酖,有祡蒸祀,無敢 [酉夔],故天異臨子,法保先王,匍有四方。我聞殷述命,隹殷邊矦、田,雩殷正百辟,率肆于酒,故喪師。已!女妹辰有大服,余隹即朕小學。女勿[象匕] 余乃辟一人,令我隹即型稟于文王正德,若文王令二三正。今余隹令女盂,召榮敬雍德經,敏朝夕入諫,享奔走,畏天威。”

王曰:“須!令女盂型乃嗣祖南公。”王曰:“盂!廼召夾死司戎,敏[言束]罰訟,夙夕召我一人烝四方,雩我其遹省先王受民受疆土,易女鬯一卣,冂、衣、巿、舃、車馬,易乃祖南公旂,用狩。易女邦司四伯,人鬲自馭至于庶人六百又五十又九夫;易夷司王臣十又三伯,人鬲千又五十夫,■■遷自氒土。” 王曰:“盂!若敬乃正,勿廢朕令!”盂用對王休,用乍祖南公寶鼎,隹王廿又三祀。

The first speech is a historical overview in which he provides a moral rationale for the fall of the Shang dynasty (c. 1600–1046 BC) and the rise of the Western Zhou. Here, the King said that drinking wine in excess has made the Shang dynasty lose the Mandate of Heaven, grace, and the army, while the Kings of Zhou do not drink excessively even ceremonially. The King further commands Yu (盂) to support the King and to work official service throughout days. The second speech is a short charge to Yu to emulate his late grandfather, Nang Gong. The third speech is the appointment of the king’s minister with army power and a detailed inventory given by the King. The last section of the inscription is Yu himself recording that he made this tripod for his deceased grandfather Nang Gong in response to the king’s kindness. It was the king’s 23rd year. The inclusion of 1726 slaves in the listed inventory is an important historical resource for studying slavery.

National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆

The National Museum of China 中国国家博物馆 flanks the eastern side of Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. The museum’s mission is to educate about the arts and history of China. It is directed by the Ministry of Culture of the People’s Republic of China. It is one of the largest museums in the world.

National Museum of China
No. 16 East Chang’an Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing 100006 (East side of Tian’anmen Square)

Closed on Mondays

Date Visited : Jun 2019

2 comments on “National Museum of China – Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎

  1. Pingback: Shanghai Museum – Da Ke Ding 大克鼎 – live2makan

  2. Pingback: National Palace Museum – Maogong Ding 毛公鼎 – live2makan

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