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Simuwu Ding

Simuwu Ding

In ancient China, ding was a symbol of imperial power. Therefore ding is often used in phrases and expressions in the Chinese language to imply authority. For instance, wending, literally "enquiring about ding", means plotting to usurp political power; yiyan jiuding, literally "One word of promise is equal to nine dings', means a decisive comment.

Simuwu ding was a very precious cutural relic, found in 1937 in An'yang of Henan province. It was produced in late Shang Dynasty more than 3,000 years age. This square-shaped ding is the largest existing bronze ware in the world. It is now housed in Chinese Historical Museum in Beijing.

Ding was a cooking vessel probably used to boil or cook food in the privitive society. At that time, dings were made of clay. During Shang and Zhou (11th century - 771 BC) dynasties, bronze cast technology reached a very high level in China. Therefore, people used bronze to cast ding. However, dings were no longer cooking utensil in ordinary people's life but an object for important ceremonies to offer sacrifices. It was a symbol of imperial power.

Simuwu ding was cast by Emperor Wending of Shang Dynasty as a ritual object for a ceremony to offer sacrifices to his mother. The three characters simuwu form an inscription on the inside of the sidewall. According to archeologists, si means sacrificial ceremony and muwu is the name of the emperor's mother. Later on, Simuwu became the name of this huge ding.

Simuwu Ding is 1.33 m high, 1.10 m long and 0.78 m wide, weighing 832.84 kg. At that time, it needed 1,000 kg of metal and two to three hundred workers to produce it. This ding is solid in build, magnificent in appearance and was made with fine craftsmanship. The four pillar legs are thick and strongerful. The motifs on its body are exquisite and clear, symbolic of harvest and auspiciousness. Simuwu Ding represents the highest level of bronze cast technology in Shang and Zhou Dynasties.

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