[ Wu-chin ]
County in the southern part of Jiangsu Province, China, where in 1957 a group of 13 bronze vessels was excavated at Yancheng. They were recovered from a moat of the ancient capital of the state of Yue, which occupied the area of modern Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces in the Spring and Autumn period (722–481 bc) of the Zhou dynasty. The presence of iron tools among the bronzes indicates a date after the 6th century bc.
The vessels (Beijing, Hist. Mus.) are remarkably well preserved and virtually uncorroded, but some are executed in a rather unrefined and careless manner, for example with seams left unpolished. The decorative designs and, occasionally, the shapes of the vessels are typical of southern provincial bronze-casting. The decoration is clearly influenced by the techniques of stamping and impressing frequently employed on pottery vessels. Irregular matting designs characteristic of these bronzes were obtained by using pattern blocks made from a master mould. Typically, the vessels have a broad band of impressed ornamentation around the belly, leaving the remaining surface unadorned. One has a neck in the shape of an ox with large eyes and pointed vertical horns. The surface of the head is decorated with the small, square spirals known as ...