A pair of Lotus-crane Square Bronze Pots attracted large crowds of people this week in Henan Museum, Zhengzhou, central China's Henan Province when they were reunited, Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The pair are 3,000 years-old.
One pot, considered the most precious treasure of the Henan Museum, "met" its twin which is of a similar square bronze design and formerly kept in the Palace Museum in Beijing. This is the first time the two relics have been brought together for about 50 years.
The pots are the type used in rituals during ancient China's Spring and Autumn Period (770-476 BC). Each of them is crowned by a crane standing on a lotus and the two share the same shape, size and flower patterns that typify the style of such wares in ancient times.
The pots were unearthed in Xinzheng, Henan Province in 1923 when people were excavating the tomb of a King of State of Zheng during the Spring and Autumn Period. Later one pot measuring 124 cm tall was put in Henan Museum and the other, 125.7 cm in height, has been kept by the Palace Museum in Beijing.
The pots were used as wine containers in ancient China especially on ceremonial and social occasions. The twin pot in the Henan Museum is regarded as the most beautiful and most valuable article among the 130,000 cultural relics on display.
Experts from the museum told Xinhua that the twin pots were famous all over the world for their ingenious design and masterly manufacture. Each has a long neck, a hanging belly and a cover decorated by two layers of lotus petals with a crane standing in the middle and fluttering as if to soar away.
On both sides of the neck are two dragon-shaped ears. The belly is decorated with many interlaced dragon patterns. Beneath the circular feet are two four-footed animals with mouths open and tongues out serving as supporting poles.
With the vivid designs of the standing cranes and four-footed animals, the two pots are different from the traditionally serious and solemn style of bronzes made in the Shang (1600-1066 BC) and Zhou dynasties (1066-221 BC).
Additionally bronze lotuses and cranes have never been found in the Shang and Zhou dynasties and the use of bronze represents the new style of alloy smelting techniques in the Spring and Autumn Period.
The pots and other bronzes unearthed in Xinzheng are all typical of the mid Spring and Autumn Period integrating the art features of the West Zhou Dynasty (1066-771 BC) and of the Warring States Period (475-221 BC).
These cultural relics also show the characteristics of bronze in the State of Zheng which is a combination of the artistic skills of central and south China.
Eighty-three years after the twins were unearthed, thousands of Chinese and foreign visitors continue to marvel at their beauty and grace. They may well be 3,000-years-old but they still have huge appeal. .
Li Hong, a researcher of Henan Museum, said the exhibition of the Lotus-crane Square Bronze Pots is probably the smallest ever -- just two in the whole museum.