The Fu Hao Owl-shaped Vessel
The Fu Hao Owl-shaped Vessel (妇好鸮尊), the much-anticipated treasure scheduled to be exhibited at the ongoing “Plentiful Central Plain: Henan Resplendent Antiquity,” has finally arrived at Nanshan Museum this week.
The exhibition, featuring plentiful cultural relics from Henan Province, the birthplace of Chinese civilization, opened in April. On loan from Henan Museum, the 200-plus exhibited items include prehistoric relics, bronze vessels, gold, jade, pottery and porcelain wares of various dynasties, recounting that Henan has over 3,000 years of recorded history and used to be China’s political, economical and cultural center for centuries.
Since Henan is home to a large number of heritage sites, Henan Museum in Zhengzhou now has a collection of more than 170,000 treasures. Among its top nine treasures, five have been selected for the Shenzhen exhibition. They are the Bone Flute (贾湖骨笛), Wu Zetian Gold Ingot (武则天金简), Ru Ware Kiln Egg-Blue Goose Neck Vase (汝窑天蓝釉刻花鹅颈瓶), Rectangular Bronze Cooking Vessel With Animal and Raised Nail Patterns (兽面乳钉纹铜方鼎 or 杜岭方鼎) and Fu Hao Owl-shaped Vessel (妇好鸮尊). The Ru Ware Kiln Egg-Blue Goose Neck Vase now has been returned to Henan Museum.
Wu Zetian Gold Ingot
The Fu Hao Owl-shaped Vessels were excavated as a pair in 1976, with one currently being housed in the National Museum of China. Unearthed from the tomb of Fu Hao in northern Henan, the bronze wine vessels bear the design of an owl with rich and delicate patterns.
In ancient China, the owl was believed to hold mythical powers, and many bronzes were clearly inspired by the solemn owl motif. But from a modern aesthetic point of view, this symmetrical owl vessel with its two legs and a tail forming a triangle to support it looks cute. It is no wonder Henan Museum’s owl vessel-themed toys and souvenirs are well received by visitors today.
The exhibition, running until next year, has detailed Chinese and English descriptions introducing the items and history. Meanwhile, bronzeware unearthed from Suizhou and its neighboring areas in Hubei Province are also on display at Nanshan Museum until Oct. 7. And frescos, statues and pottery items from Paestum Archaeological Park in Italy are also on display until Oct. 13. Entry is free.
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., closed Mondays，entry is free.
Venue: Nanshan Museum, Nanshan District (南山区南山博物馆)
Metro: Line 1 to Taoyuan Station (桃园站), Exit B