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Bronzes

San P'an
Late Western Chou period (1046-771 BC)
Height: 20.6 cm, depth of belly: 9.8 cm, diameter: 54.6 cm, diameter of base: 41.4 cm, weight: 21.312 kg

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The body of this bronze vessel is decorated with the k’uei dragon motif, with three animal heads in the center. The ring foot is decorated with the animal mask motif. The inscription records an agreement arrived at following a dispute between two states, Ts’e and San. For the damage that Ts’e wreaked on San, it was ordered to cede two districts of rice fields in compensation. The text of the inscription is divided into two sections, with a record of how the land was to be divided up, followed by a list of the envoys from both Ts’e and San who acted as witnesses to the process. The last part recorded the oath of alliance the two sides made, and how an agreement regarding this was drawn up. Three leaders from the first region that had been ceded to San, and two officials from the second, made the oath of alliance and promised to respect it. A map of the ceded territory was taken from the Ts’e ruler, and the scribe present made up documents making the agreement official.

Text: Yu Kuo-ching
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