Bronze Urn or Hu with lid and handle, with wooden stand: 23cm high
hu (Chinese: 壺; pinyin: hú) is a type of wine vessel that has a pear-shaped cross-section. Its body swells and flares into a narrow neck, creating S-shaped profile. While it is similar to you vessel, hu usually has a longer body and neck. The shape of hu probably derives from its ceramic prototype prior to the Shang dynasty (1600-1045 BC). They usually have handles on the top or rings attached to each side of neck. Many extant hu lack lids while those excavated in such tombs as Fu Hao’s indicate that this type of vessel might be originally made with lids. Although it is more often to see hu having a circular body, there also appears hu in square and flat rectangular forms, called fang hu and bian hu in Chinese. In addition, hu often came to be found in a pair or in a set together with other types of vessels. As wine had played an important part in the Shang ritual, the hu vessel might be placed in the grave of an ancestor as part of ritual in order to ensure a good relationship with ancestor’s spirit.
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