Travelogues

National Palace Museum – Maogong Ding 毛公鼎

The Mao Gong ding was excavated in Qishan County, Shaanxi province in 1843, during the Qing dynasty, Daoguang Emperor’s reign. Together with the Da Ke Ding 大克鼎 in Shanghai Museum and Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎 in National Museum of China, Maogong Ding 毛公鼎 is considered one of the 3 most important relics from ancient China.

Late Western Zhou period BC857-828

Mao-kung Ting or Mao Gong Ding

Mao Gong Ding, the bronze tripod cauldron, was excavated at the end of the Daoguang period (1821−50) in Qishan County, Shaanxi. Dings were used widely as ritual vessels and became hierarchical symbols during the Zhou dynasty (circa 1046−256 BC). This is the most famous ding, originally belonging to Mao Gong. There are 497 characters on the inside of the vessel, the longest bronze inscription known to this day. 

Height: 53.8 cm, depth of belly: 27.2 cm, diameter: 47 cm, weight: 34.7 kg

This “ting” cauldron has a wide, flared mouth, a linked ring motif decorating the rim, upright handles, and three hoofed feet. The inscription, which can be divided into seven sections, describes how when King Xuan of Zhou came to the throne, he was anxious to see the country thrive, and charged his uncle, the Duke of Mao, with governing the domestic and external affairs of state, big and small, and to do so conscientiously and selflessly.

The inscription goes on to state that the King then presented the Duke with official vestments and gifts, and that this vessel was cast in order to record the honor given to the Duke for his descendants.

Inscription

“The inscription text bears witness to the ‘King Xuan restoration’ in Western Zhou history [i.e. revitalization after the ascension of King Xuan, ending the Gonghe interregnum]. The first part of the text consists of King Xuan’s instructions to the Duke of Mao. The middle portion recounts how the King, upon taking the throne, fondly recalled how the King Wen of Zhou and King Wu of Zhou had enjoyed the Mandate of Heaven and established the kingdom, as well as the King’s vigilance and apprehension over inheriting the Mandate himself. The latter part lists in detail the generous gifts the King had bestowed upon the Duke of Mao. In closing, the Duke of Mao expresses his gratitude to the King, and presents the ding as an expression thereof for future generations.”

西周晚期 西元前857-828

毛公鼎

高53.8公分,腹深27.2公分,口徑47公分,重34.7公斤

毛公鼎以其器腹內壁的銘文而為國之重寶。銘文全長五百字,為迄今所知最長的青銅器銘文。銘文內容見證了西周「宣王中興」的歷史,銘文前段為宣王對毛公的訓誥之辭,文中敘述宣王於即位之初緬懷周文王、武王如何享有天命、開創國家,他即位後對其所繼承的天命也戒慎恐懼。後段詳載宣王贈予毛公的豐厚賞賜。毛公於文末亦表達了對宣王的感謝,並願以此鼎傳之於後世。銘文以古雅精奧的文風表達了宣王對毛公的諄諄告誡、殷切期待,任重道遠之情,今日讀來仍令人為之動容。

毛公鼎器形極其簡樸。半球形的器身立於三蹄足之上,口沿上有兩個寬厚的立耳。全器器身光素,僅於器身口沿下方飾以一周精簡的重環紋及一道凸弦紋。其端正的器形及渾厚的器壁在與銘文樸實的書風以及宣王對毛公重任的呼應下,更顯莊重肅穆。

銘文

銘文內容見證了西周「宣王中興」的歷史,銘文前段為宣王對毛公的訓誥之辭,文中敘述宣王於即位之初緬懷周文王、武王如何享有天命、開創國家,他即位後對其所繼承的天命也戒慎恐懼。後段詳載宣王贈予毛公的豐厚賞賜。毛公於文末亦表達了對宣王的感謝,並願以此鼎傳之於後世。


王若曰父厂音丕顯文武皇天引/厭厥德配我有周膺受大命率褱/不廷方亡不閈于文武耿光唯天爿田(將)/集厥命亦唯先正各厥辟恪堇(謹)大命/肆皇天亡矢(懌)臨保我有周丕共(鞏)先王配命/民又(閔)天疾畏(威)司(嗣)余小子弗彶(及)邦將害吉冊冊四方大/從(縱)不靜烏虖走瞿(愍)余小子圂湛于喜(艱)永共(恐)先/王王曰父厂音今余唯巠(經)先王命命汝我邦/我家內外心于小大政甹(屏)朕立(位)虩許上下若否/雨于四方死毋童(動)余一人在位引(矧)唯乃知余/非庸又聞(昏)汝毋敢妄寧虔夙夕惠我一人/雍我邦小大猷毋折緘告余先王若德用/卬(仰)卲(昭)皇天東田(緟)恪大命康能四國俗(欲)我弗作/先王憂王曰父厂音雨于之庶出入事于外尃(敷)命尃/政蓺小大楚(胥)賦無唯正(政)聞引(矧)其唯王智(知)迺/唯是喪我國厤(曆)自今出入尃(敷)命于外厥非/先告父厂音厂音舍命毋有敢心尃命于外王/曰父厂音今余唯東田(緟)先王命命汝亟一方囗弓(長掌)/我邦我家毋隹頁于政勿雍(壅)建(楗)庶人貯(賈)毋/敢龍廾龍廾(侮)鰥寡善效乃友正毋敢/湎于酒汝毋敢(墜)在乃服恪夙夕敬念王/畏(威)不晹(易)汝毋弗帥用先王作明井(型)俗(欲)汝弗/以乃辟羊喜(艱)王曰父厂音已曰汲(及)茲卿/事寮大史寮于父即尹命女韭井丮止(攝)司(司)公/族雨于參有司小子師氏虎臣雨于(與)朕褻事/以乃族干(扞)吾王身取貝耑易汝矩鬯鬯一卣/廾圭瓚寶朱巿黃玉環玉王余金車屖車爻/朱囗弓(韔)束衣斤熏裏右革尃車昏金/甬昔(錯)衡金止重敕□金簟弼(笰)魚(箙)馬/四匹攸(攸金)勒(革)金鉤金(膺)朱旂二鈴易女茲(賸)/用歲用政(征)毛公厂音對揚天子皇/休用作尊鼎子子孫孫永寶用
毛公鼎 銘文 Inscriptions in Mao Gong Ding

About the National Palace Museum

The National Palace Museum (國立故宮博物院) was originally founded within the walls of the Beijing Forbidden City in 1925, the present-day National Palace Museum moved to Taipei’s Shilin District following the Republic of China government relocation in 1949 with an official opening for the public in 1965.

Over 600,000 of the most precious artefacts within the collection were moved to Taiwan to prevent their desecration during and after the Chinese Civil War. 

Due to the enormous numbers of collection spreads over 4 floors and 2 exhibition halls, the museum’s exhibits continuously rotate, as only a small percentage of the museum’s collection can be displayed at a given time to prevent wear and tear, so there will always be a new series of collection being exhibited on each visit! 

National Palace Museum
No.221, Sec. 2, Zhishan Rd., Shilin Dist., Taipei City 111001, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Tel : 886-2-2881-2021

Date Visited : Oct 2018

2 comments on “National Palace Museum – Maogong Ding 毛公鼎

  1. Pingback: National Museum of China – Da Yu Ding 大盂鼎 – live2makan

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

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