How to Identify 19th Century Chinese Fu Deity Bronze


You may have stumbled upon an old 19th century Chinese fu deity bronze, but don’t know what it is. The first thing to do is to look at the material of the statue. Some are made of metal, while others are made of brass. If you’re unsure, read this article to find out how to tell the difference. In addition, we’ll look at the metal of the Taotie masks.

Qiao Gui bronzes

If you’re wondering how to identify 19th century Chinese fu deity Bronzes, you’ve come to the right place. These ancient bronzes were used by the ancient Chinese for worshipping the goddess Fu Hao. These bronzes are engraved with her posthumous title and name. In addition, they were interred in tombs.

Inscriptions were an important part of ancient Chinese bronze ritual vessels. They could indicate the maker or the purpose of a bronze vessel. Inscriptions on late Shang-dynasty vessels tend to be short and simple, whereas those from the early Western Zhou dynasty are more elaborate and complex. These markings are the key to dating the pieces. Sometimes, collectors added markings after the piece was made.

The most common motif found on Shang bronzes is a taotie mask. The taotie mask was common throughout the Shang and Zhengzhou periods. Another distinctive motif is a guang design with a rounded body and overhead handle, extending into the body of the vessel. Another common shape of a fu deity bronze is an owl-shaped vessel, which is used in Shang rituals.

The Ming and Qing-dynasty bronzes look very similar to their predecessors, but should be viewed as fine artworks in their own right. They pay homage to the ancient Chinese masterpieces. So, if you’re looking for a Chinese bronze, it’s worth spending some time learning about this unique style.

Taotie masks

Chinese bronze fangdings have a common pattern. Most of these pieces depict a round-eyed animal head with sharp teeth and horns. But there are also rich variations. Early on, one ceramic mold was used to produce one bronze work, but today the pattern can be found in several variations. For example, some pieces have ox horns, while others feature sheep horns or tiger’s ears.

The name Fu Hao appears on these vessels, but this does not necessarily indicate that the bronze is dedicated to that particular royal spirit. In some cases, the name was merely a posthumous title given to a queen. These bronzes are likely commissioned by Fu Hao, as she often addressed sacrifices to her maternal ancestor.

To identify a bronze fu deity, start by looking at its design. Its shape is derived from two objects. A fu is a triangular-shaped dish, and a dou is a sacrificial vessel. The two objects are often highly decorated.

A fu deity bronze is often accompanied by a ding (a crock), a small bronze jar, or a large bowl. The ding may be a tall, broad, circular vessel, or a combination of the two. The ding was originally used as a cauldron for cooking and storing meat.


Fu Hao was a powerful woman who was buried with human sacrifices and thousands of other valuable objects. Her tomb was near Xiaotun in Anyang. It is said to contain more than one thousand burial objects, including a bronze vessel and tortoise shells. She was the wife of King Wuding and commanded an army during her lifetime. Her sacrifices were dedicated to her husband’s ancestor.

This bronze fangding comes from the tomb of Fu Hao, late Shang dynasty (circa 1200 B.C.E.). Its handle is adorned with a sculptural animal head. Its taotie mask is a common motif in Shang bronze decoration from the middle Shang phase to the Zhengzhou period. Other innovative vessel types include an owl-shaped zun wine vessel and an animal-shaped guang vessel that was used to pour alcoholic spirits in Shang rituals.

Chinese fu deity bronze vessels have an extensive history and are often marked with inscriptions. These can reveal the maker or the purpose of the piece. Early examples usually have fewer inscriptions, while later examples have more complex inscriptions. Inscriptions are important because they help date the piece. However, there are also times when the markings were added by a collector after the piece was produced.

Some pieces have a high price tag. A 19th century Chinese fu deity bronze can sell for $125, while a 19th century Chinese bronze figure can fetch as much as $184,235. It is important to note that the price of a Chinese bronze figure depends on various factors.


If you have a 19th century Chinese fu deity bronze in your possession, the first step is to determine its function. Fu deities, or tiao-te, were worshipped in the tombs of deceased emperors and were known for their powerful and protective powers. These deities could also ward off evil spirits and help with sacrifices. The bronze vessels of the fu were often made from the original clay mold.

The most common tao-tie pattern features a round-eyed animal head with horns or sharp teeth. The eyes are the most important part of the image. There are a range of variations to these designs. In the early days of bronze casting, one ceramic mold could only cast a single bronze work, so each one will be distinctive. Some have sheep horns, while others have ox horns and tiger’s ears.

To identify a 19th century Chinese fu deity bronze, you should look for inscriptions and other signs of damage on the object. Most examples of these pieces have an extensive provenance. The most valuable examples were commissioned by powerful figures and come from important collections. Some even bear clan marks. These pieces are important surviving symbols of the Chinese royal class and elite.

Another way to identify a 19th century fu deity bronze is by identifying the vessel. This is called the ding (ding), and it usually resembles a metamorphic animal shape. The ding can be a tall vase, or it can be a small bronze cup with an overhead handle. The spout can be either a ding or a dui. The latter is rare and may have a lid.

Color of glaze

The color of glaze on 19th century Chinese fu deities can vary. The earliest examples were green or blue, but later periods showed variations in hue. Some of these bronzes were painted in various shades of red, yellow, and black. The 19th century saw a variety of technological advances in the production of ceramics, including the introduction of flambe glaze.

Chinese fu deities often depict animals. This bronze is made to depict a horse, a bird, or a deer. These bronzes are highly detailed, and the color of the glaze varies depending on the style. Interestingly, some pieces are made using the Raku method, which produces dark veining in the pottery.

Some fu deities were enshrined in tombs and were worshipped as royal spirits. However, vessels containing the name of a royal spirit were not necessarily intended for that purpose. For example, some people would make sacrifices to a royal spirit called Fu Hao. These vessels would have been used on the day known as “Gui” or “Fu Hao’s day.”

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