Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎 (on display at the National Museum of China, Beijing) and Da Ke Ding 大克鼎 are two Western Zhou bronze tripods that are called “Great Treasures of Culture and Ritual” 重器鴻寶. Together with Mao Gong Ding 毛公鼎 (currently in National Palace Museum, Taipei), they are known as the “Three Treasures of China” 海內三寶.
Western Zhou, King Xiao regin (c. 10th BC)
Da Ke ding 大克鼎
The Da Ke ding 大克鼎 is an ancient Chinese bronze circular ding vessel from the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). Unearthed in Famen Town, Fufeng County, Shaanxi in 1890, it is on display in the Shanghai Museum. It was made by Ke, a court official in-charged of the royal kitchen, to record the gifts that King Xiao gave to him as well as the works of his grandfather.
Ke must be an important or trusted official as it was unusual for a cook to received the ding as well as 7 other dings (called 小克鼎, four still in China, three others in museums in Japan) for ritual and worship purposes. Only top officials and royalty were allowed to use 7 dings during that period.
The tripod is round, with three legs and two ears, a common shape during the Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 BC). It is 93.1-centimetre (36.7 in) high and weights 201.5-kilogram (444 lb). Its inside diameter is 74.9-centimetre (29.5 in) with a bore of 75.6-centimetre (29.8 in). Its mouth was engraved with Taotie patterns and its abdomen was engraved with wave patterns, and its ears was engraved with Chinese dragon patterns.
The tripod has 290 Chinese characters in 28 lines inside the tripod. The inscriptions recorded can be divided into two main sections; one recorded how the grandfather of Nobleman Ke (c.~9th century BC) 克’s grandfather was an important civil servant of the Zhou dynasty and he benefited from his grandfather’s greatness and inherited the position of the current court; two, it recorded how the monarch of the Western Zhou dynasty, King Xiao 孝王, awarded slaves and land to the him.
How the Ding Came to the Museum
The ding was bought by renowned collector Pan Zu Yin 潘祖蔭, who also owned the Da Ke Ding.
His brother, Pan Zu Nian, took the dings to Suzhou, and when the Sino-Japanese War happened, his descendant buried it in the yard of the Suzhou house, together with the Da Yu ding. It was donated to the Shanghai Museum in 1952 together with Da Yu ding by the granddaughter-in-law of the Pans, Pan Da Yu 潘達于。 Here she was pictured at her 100th birthday in 2018 when the Museum held a celebration for her.
The Da Yu ding was sequently transferred to the Chinese History Museum (now the National Museum of China) in 1959. They were among the first batch of cultural relics forbidden to go abroad for exhibition in China.
About the Museum
The Shanghai Museum is a museum of ancient Chinese art, situated on the People’s Square in the Huangpu District of Shanghai, China. Rebuilt at its current location in 1996, it is considered one of China’s first world-class modern museums.
Shanghai Museum is famous for its large collection of rare cultural pieces. The museum now houses over 120,000 precious historical relics in twelve categories, including Chinese bronze, ceramics, paintings, furniture, calligraphy, seals, jades, ancient coins, and sculptures.
Shanghai Museum 上海博物馆
201 Renmin Ave, Ren Min Guang Chang, Huangpu, China, 200003
Closed on Mondays
Date Visited : Aug 2018