Gui (vessel)

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The "Kang hou gui", early Western Zhou (11th century BC). British Museum, London

A gui (Chinese: ; pinyin: guǐ) is a type of bowl-shaped ancient Chinese ritual bronze vessel used to hold offerings of grain for ancestral tombs.

The 11th century BC example in the British Museum was chosen as object 23 in the A History of the World in 100 Objects. The programme explained how these objects record the history and this means that modern historians can find out about the Zhou Dynasty by reading inscriptions.[1]

The British Museum bowl inscription on the inside of the bowl tells that King Wu's brother, Kang Hou, who was the Duke of Kang and Mei Situ were given territory in Wei. The inscription relates a rebellion by remnants of the Shang, and its defeat by the Zhou, which helps us to date it. Because historians know exactly when this unsuccessful rebellion against the Zhou dynasty took place then the bowl can be dated very accurately.[2]


  1. ^ "Chinese Zhou ritual vessel (gui)" at the British Museum, #23 of A History of the World in 100 Objects, accessed February 2012
  2. ^ "Chinese Zhou ritual vessel" more from the BBC on the same Gui from the British Museum
  • "gui." Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. 06 Feb. 2012.
  • Rawson, Jessica, et al. "China, §VI: Bronzes." In Grove Art Online. Oxford Art Online, (accessed February 7, 2012; subscription required).
  • Sing, Yu; Caron Smith (1999). Ringing Thunder- Tomb Treasures from Ancient China. San Diego: San Diego Museum of Art. ISBN 0-937108-24-3. 

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Preceded by
22: Sphinx of Taharqa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Object 23
Succeeded by
24: Paracas Textile