An ancient bronze ‘aquarium’ recovered from overseas
By Hu Chao, Pei Dawei, Liu Yu
00:37

Police in north China's Shanxi Province have recovered a 2,600-year-old bronze plate from overseas. The first-level national relic dates back to the Spring and Autumn Period in China. 

A close look at the animal sculptures in the plate. /CGTN Photo

A close look at the animal sculptures in the plate. /CGTN Photo

The bronze plate has a diameter of 40 centimeters and weighs around seven kilograms. Shaped like a shallow basin, the plate includes vivid sculptures of water animals, including turtles, frogs and fish. 

What's more interesting is that each of these animal sculptures are able to spin 360 degrees. The features make the plate look like a small "aquarium" made in bronze.

Shanxi police has cracked down on more than 580 cases of crime involving cultural relics since 2018. /CGTN Photo‍

Shanxi police has cracked down on more than 580 cases of crime involving cultural relics since 2018. /CGTN Photo‍

But experts say the bronzeware was a ritual vessel. According to the ancient inscriptions inside the plate, this treasure was given by monarch Jin Wen Gong to his daughter Meng Ji as a dowry when she was married to the monarch of the state of Chu. Jin Wen Gong wanted his daughter to manage her new family well and help to protect her homeland of Jin.

A paraphrase of the ancient inscriptions on the plate is displayed in the Shanxi Museum. /CGTN Photo

A paraphrase of the ancient inscriptions on the plate is displayed in the Shanxi Museum. /CGTN Photo

The inscriptions have 183 characters in total. They also wrote about the power and prosperity of the state of Jin ruled by Jin Wen Gong, providing valuable historical information for study.

Local police said the bronze ware was stolen in a 2013 tomb braiding and was later sold abroad. It took police six months to recover the treasure. Shanxi is home to a large number of cultural relics in China. Since 2018, local police has cracked down on nearly 100 gangs and recovered more than 10,000 cultural relics.