Xiasi, Honan Province


The vassal state of Chu, in central and southern China, grew from the 8th century by subjugating its neighbours. Early in the 7th century the Chu capital moved from Danyang to Ying. Chu forces collided with Jin's, were held in place, but remained powerful through the 5th century, when they decline, recover through the 4,th and then fall to the Qin in the west.

Map - the state of Chu


Chu tomb at Xiasi

A Chu tomb complex was discovered in 1979 in south western Honan province, with nine large tombs, five chariot burials and 16 smaller tombs. The principal tomb belonged to Wang Ziwu.

Among the finds were more than 200 bronze vessels and bells.

Chu tomb at Xiasi


Bronze vessel with tiger feet and dragon handles

The handles of this long-necked bronze vessel take the form of dragons, the feet crouching tigers.

Bronze vessel with tiger  feet and dragon handles


Ding of Wang Ziwu

Skill in bronze-casting is exemplified by this ding

Ding of Wang Ziwu


Bronze Zu chopping board

and a chopping board that uses openwork made from the cire perdue method.

Bronze Zu chopping board


Bronze dragon-headed beast with tiger body tortoise feet and snake tail

Bronze dragon-headed beast


Bronze Yu Fo of Wang Ziwu

Wang Ziwu's 'foot bath' is a type of vessel made for storage that came to be used as a percussion instrument.

Bronze Yu Fo of Wang Ziwu


Chime bells of Wang Ziwu

The Chu love of music in life and death is revealed in Wang Ziwu's tomb by a set of bronze bells

Chime bells of Wang Ziwu


Stone Xiao (vertical bamboo flute)

and a stone xiao, a form of bamboo flute.

Stone Xiao