The zun is a type of ancient Chinese bronze or ceramic wine vessel with a round or square vase-like form, and sometimes in the shape of an animal, dating from the Shang Dynasty. Used in religious ceremonies to hold wine, the zun has a wide lip to facilitate pouring. Vessels have been found in the shape of a dragon, an ox, a goose, and more. One notable zun is the He zun.
The zun is a vessel used as a ritual container to hold wine in ancient Chinese. It is a tall wine cup, with no handles or legs. The mouth of the vessel is normally seen as broader than the rest of the body. As a ritual container, its function is to provide the offering of wine to the deceased through ceremonial practices. Depending on the type of zun vessel, for example the Xi zun, not only was it used to store wine but also used to keep the wine warm. This is the only bronze piece discovered known to combine the two functions.
The zun can be seen in a variety of different vessel forms from a limited amount of decoration to detailed. Some are square, some cylindrical while others are modeled after animals. Some of the animals they are modeled after are anelephant, ox, sheep, horse, rhinoceros and a bird. The basic shape used throughout many is cylindrical and the shape itself is repeated but with modifications. Some Zuns are tall and slender while others may be short and round. The decoration used on the vessels varies not only in content but the relief height. The height of the relief may give off the impression of texture or it may emphasize the form of the vessel by being smooth and round like the vessel. The taller vessel forms may have flanges on the sides that start at the upper lip and follow down to the foot of the vessel.
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