In Wu Hung's discussion of traditional Chinese concepts of
monumentality, he utilizes the ancient legend of the Nine Bronze Tripods
to illustrate how the traditions (including ancestral temple and ritual
vessels, capital city and palaces, and tomb and funerary paraphernalia) of
early Chinese cultures can be better understood after identifying their
monumentality. According to the myth, in 605 B.C., a Chu lord lead a
campaign near the Zhou capital at Luoyang where he was greeted by the
minister Wangsun Man. After the lord inquired about the size and weight
of the Nine Tripods, Wagsun Man answered with a passage stating the
three distinct intentions of the tripods which forms the basis of ritual art
Foremost, the Nine Tripods were made to honor important political
events, notably the establishment of the Xia after which an organized
power became evident. The Tripods also justified this event since they
were constructed from bronze sent by the Xia allies and bore inscriptions
of their things, confirming their entrance into the centralized political
power. This allowed people to discern "divine" from "evil", the former
being the Xia alliance while the latter represented the Xia enemies whose
things were missing from the Tripods.
Subsequently, the Nine Tripods became a symbol of Power – whomever
was in possession of the Tripods held political power as well. With the

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