Manufacturing techniques of Eastern Zhou bronze ding vessels with short legs: a case study of bronze ding (1949,0711.1) in the British Museum collection
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This paper presents a detailed technical study of a Chinese bronze ding vessel with a bulging body, three short legs and a lid in the British Museum collection (1949,0711.1). It is a representative product made by the pattern-block method of the Houma foundry, the largest foundry site of the Eastern Zhou period (770-221 BC) found to date in present-day Shanxi province. The study confirms archaeologists’ speculation that the legs were separately cast, and reveals that the legs were pre-cast and made of unalloyed copper rather than bronze and joined to the vessel body by the lock-on technique. This study provides scientific evidence of the construction of this type of object, raises questions for further research, and will hopefully promote the study of 30 pieces of similar ding vessels from excavations and in other collections to help determine provenance and workshop practices of this group.