The ding is a very old form of vessel that originates in bronze vessels. They were used for offerings to the gods for the ancestors of the family. These bronze vessels could be placed over a fire to warm the contents, usually blood or meat offerings. Already in early times these vessels became symbols of wealth. The pottery version copies these early bronze examples, and is more a grave good than a useful tool.
My ding is 30,5 cm across, and 23 cm high. It is made from a grey pottery, and has a band of cold painted black decoration. It is Han dynasty, 206-220 AD, where a broad range of these vessel were made. They also appear glazed, and extensively painted. It is likely made in the Western Han dynasty, the ceremonial vessel as a grave gift almost disappeared in the Eastern Han dynasty. In the grave they were accompanied by a range of other gifts like models of buildings, stoves, wells, pig-sties, a.s.o. This points to an era of wealth and economic growth.
The vessel still has it’s original lid; it fits perfect, and has the same watermark as the pot. Showing the water-level in the burial site.
The feet are decorated and could refer to a mythical animal.
In Chinese art there is a range of three-legged vessels as there are the Li, the Jia, the Xian and the Ding. They can be placed in, or over a fire, and always stand level because of the three legs.