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Simuwu Ding
Learn Chinese - History and Culture

Simuwu DingDing (dǐng 鼎) was a cooking vessel probably used to boil or cook food ancient China. It can be traced back to the Neolithic Age in the primitive society. As early as 7000 ago, there are dings made of clay. During the Shang (shāng 商) and Zhou (zhōu 周) dynasties, bronze casting technology reached a high level in China. Therefore, people used bronze to cast ding. And the ding was no longer the cooking utensils in common people’s life but an object for important ceremonies to offer sacrifices. It was a symbol of imperial power.

Simuwu Ding (sī mǔ wù dǐng 司母戊鼎) is the most famous square-shaped ding. It was found on March 19, 1939, in Anyang (ān yáng 安阳) of Henan (hé nán 河南) Province. It is the largest existing bronze ware in the world. And it is housed in the Chinese Historical Museum (zhōng guó lì shǐ bó wù guǎn 中国历史博物馆) in Beijing.

Simuwu DingSimuwu Ding was cast by Emperor of the Shang Dynasty as a ritual object for a ceremony to offer sacrifices to his mother. And it was so called because there are three characters “司母戊 (sī mǔ wù)” on the inside of the sidewall. According to archeologists, “司 (sī)" means sacrificial ceremony and “母戊 (mǔ wù)” is the name of the emperor’s mother.

Simuwu Ding is 133cm high, 110cm long and 78cm wide, weighing 875 kilograms. It is solid in build, magnificent in appearance and was made with fine craftsmanship. There are various motifs on its body, exquisite and clear, symbolic of the power of nature. Simuwu Ding represents the highest level of bronze cast technology in the Shang and Zhou dynasties.

Simuwu Ding      鼎为中国古代炊食器。中国鼎文化的起源可以一直追溯到原始社会新石器时代,早在7000多年前就出现了陶制的鼎。到了商周时代,中国的青铜铸造技术达到了很高的水平,人们用青铜浇铸制鼎。鼎的功能从炊食器发展成祭祀天帝和祖先的“神器”,并被笼罩上一层神秘而威严的色彩。


      司母戊鼎形制雄伟,气势宏大,纹势华丽。高133厘米、口长110厘米、口宽78厘米、重875千克。鼎身呈长方形,口沿很厚,轮廓方直,显现出不可动摇的气势。除鼎身四面中央是无纹饰的长方形素面外,其余各处皆有纹饰。在细密的云雷纹之上,各部分主纹饰各具形态。鼎身四面在方形素面周围以饕餮作为主要纹饰,四面交接处,则饰以扉棱,扉棱之上为牛首,下为饕餮。鼎耳外廓有两只猛虎,虎口相对,中含人头。耳侧以鱼纹为饰。四只鼎足的纹饰也匠心独具,在三道弦纹之上各施以兽面。司母戊鼎的提手文饰同样精美。两只龙虎张开巨口,含着一个人头,后世演变成“二龙戏珠”的吉祥图案。一般认为,这种艺术表现的是大自然和神的威慑力。 司母戊鼎集中代表了商周青铜铸造技术的最高成就。

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