Shang Dynasty, 16th - 11th century BC
Shanxi Museum

This outstanding bronze vessel, a wine container, displays a diamond pattern of nipples below its waist1. Incised cloud-and-thunder patterns occupy both halves of the vessel. Three horned-animal faces are cast on to the upper body.

1Possibly these design elements, which can also be seen on the body of ancient bronze bells, were originally relicts of the casting process that later became incorporated into the design repertoire of Shang and Zhou dynasty bronzes.