Square Ting with Ox Motif

Square Ting with Ox Motif

National Treasure

National Treasure Intro

The Square Ting with Ox Motif was also found in tomb no. 1004, the king of the Shang dynasty’s tomb, at the Ruins of Yin (Yinxu) in Anyang, Henan, where the Square Ting with Deer Motif was found.

Ox heads are cast in three dimensions on all four sides of the ting cauldron, and the four feet are likewise covered with oxen. With a length of 64.2 cm, a width of 45.4 cm, a height of 73.3 cm, and a weight of 110 kg, it is the heaviest artifact excavated from the Ruins of Yin by the IHP. Bronze ceremonial vessels were the most important type of “prestige property” in the Shang dynasty, and casting large bronze cauldrons such as this required a large amount of bronze material and excellent bronze casting techniques. Therefore, such a large and finely decorated bronze vessel was extremely rare and valuable in the Shang dynasty. This object was designated as a “national treasure” by the Ministry of Culture of Taiwan (R.O.C.) in 2009.

National Treasure Appreciation

This ting cauldron is rectangular, with four feet and two handles. The edges of the cauldron extend outwards, and the corners of the body and the middle of the body are covered with ridges.

There are kui dragons on the handles of the cauldron.

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

The four sides of the belly are decorated with three-dimensional ox heads, and because of the shape of the horns, we can tell they are water buffalo.
The two sides of the ox heads are embellished with birds of prey, and kui dragon patterns can be found above the heads. The gaps are decorated with cloud and thunder motifs.
The four legs are cylindrical, decorated with ox heads and a triangular pattern.

The ox-shaped inscription

There are four holes inside the vessel, showing that the feet of the ting cauldron are hollow, and there is an ox-shaped inscription cast in the bottom.

The ox-shaped inscription.

Bronze rubbing of the ox-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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