Square Ting with Deer Motif

Square Ting with Deer Motif

National Treasure

National Treasure Intro

The Square Ting with Deer Motif is a Shang dynasty bronze ceremonial vessel. It was excavated from Royal Tomb no. 1004, which was the king of the Shang dynasty’s tomb, at the Ruins of Yin (Yinxu) in Anyang, Henan, in 1935 by the IHP. Deer is the decorative theme of this ting cauldron: on all four sides and covering the four feet of the cauldron there are casted deer heads, and in the bottom of the cauldron there is a casted deer-shaped inscription. The inscription is in the shape of a vivid and realistic deer, with the distinctive feature of forked antlers, which is where the emblem of the IHP is taken.

This Square Ting with Deer Emblem is 60.9 cm high, weighs 60.4 kg, and was found in the same tomb as the similarly shaped Square Ting with Ox Motif, both of which are rare four-legged rectangular cauldrons from the Shang dynasty. It was designated as a “national treasure” by the Ministry of Culture Taiwan (R.O.C.) in 2009.

National Treasure Appreciation

The ting cauldron is rectangular, with a deep belly and a flat base, the edges of the cauldron extend outwards, and it has four legs and two handles.

There are kui dragons on the handles of the cauldron.

A stone rubbing of the motif on the handles of the ting (cauldron).

The body has ridges on all four corners and in the middle.

The four sides of the belly are decorated with deer heads as its main motif, with the antlers forked upwards.

The left and right sides of the deer heads are embellished with birds of prey; and the top and bottom are decorated with kui dragons.The gaps feature clouds and thunder patterns.

The feet of the cauldron are hollow and
cylindrical, with deer heads and geometric motifs.

A stone rubbing of the motif on the feet of the ting (cauldron).

The deer-shaped inscription

An inscription in the form of a deer is cast in the bottom of the ting cauldron.

This is the deer inscription where the emblem of the IHP is taken.

Bronze rubbing of the deer-shaped inscription.


    1. Archaeodata
    2. Li Yung-ti, ed. Catalogue of Excavated Artifacts from Yinxu. Taipei: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, 2009.
    3. Chen Yung-Fa, ed. Selected Digital Collections of Academia Sinica. Taipei: Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, 2012.


The year 1928 saw the establishment of the Institute of History and Philology (IHP) in Guangzhou, China. In the winter of 1948, the IHP relocated to Taiwan, and in 1954, settled in its current location in Nangang. The IHP is a multidisciplinary research institute with research areas covering history, archaeology, anthropology, and philology. The IHP’s achievements are highly valued in both domestic and international academic circles.

The IHP has a collection of more than 140,000 artifacts. These include more than 120,000 archaeological artifacts excavated and collected when the Institute was in China; more than 10,000 Han dynasty wooden slips from Edsen-gol; and more than 1,000 Chinese ethnographic artifacts. In addition, there is also the archives of the Grand Secretariat that has approximately 310,000 archival documents from the Ming and Qing dynasties.

In 1986, the Museum of the Institute of History and Philology was completed to showcase the collection of the IHP. One of the missions of the Museum is to transcend how traditional exhibition formats display their artifacts or fine works, as well as attaching importance to related research efforts and results. The content of the Museum’s exhibitions includes artifacts excavated from tombs of the Shang and Zhou dynasties as well as the Warring States period, Han dynasty wooden slips from Edsen-gol, rare texts, materials contained in the archives of the Grand Secretariat, artifacts from ethnic groups of Southwest China, ink rubbings, and Taiwanese archaeological data and findings. Through the presentation of these artifacts and various educational activities, the IHP shares its latest findings with the broader public.

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