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Tripod Vessel (Ding)

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Tripod vessels were some of the earliest ritual vessels cast in bronze, their legs giving the vessel stability when its contents were heated over embers. The ding vessel was used for offerings of stewed meat, and was considered one of the most important ritual vessels.The legendary sage-king Yu the Great had nine bronze dings cast, symbolizing the nine ancient states of China. These dings became symbols of legitimacy for later rulers. By the time this piece was created, dings were made in odd-numbered sets that indicated rank-nine for kings and seven for lords-with the number decreasing for the lower ranks of the nobility.

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