In different historical periods, due to the increasing development of social economy, the making techniques, materials, shapes and designs of drinking vessels responded to the development and took on various shapes and designs hard for one's eyes to follow. The vessels can be divided into different types according to the different materials. Followings are three main types.
were used during the Shang and Zhou periods in ancestral rituals. Ancestors, it was believed, could intercede on behalf of the living, provided they were honored and respected. The bronze vessels were kept in ancestral halls and used during a variety of feasts and banquets. Most bronze vessels were used for food or to heat or cool a millet-based wine. Others served as water basins or jugs. Wine vessels dominated during the Shang, but ritual changes in the middle of the Western Zhou period resulted in a shift toward food vessels.
Early bronze vessels, including the Jue, Gu, and Ding, were based on Neolithic pottery prototypes. But as bronze technology improved, vessels took on shapes and decorative schemes that were unique to the medium.
Surface decoration could be made by carving into the mold (for raised relief) or into the model (for recessed designs). The narrow bands that characterized early bronze designs gave way to more expansive decorations, which by the late Shang period covered the whole vessel. A common Shang motif is the taotie. Other zoomorphic designs consisted of various animal parts flowing into one another. By the end of the Western Zhou period, this imagery had begun to turn into purely abstract patterns, the meaning of which will probably never be known. They may have been symbolic of the spirits of the ancestors, protective devices, clan or lineage motifs, or perhaps they were associated with mythical beasts or supernatural entities.
Lacquer wine vessel
began to be used in vogue in Qing and Hang Dynasty. It was very common that there is an “ear” on the interface of vessel. This ear was used for handling when people were going to drink.
Porcelain wine vessel appeared in East Han Dynasty with a good function. Since porcelain production reached its peak in Song Dynasty, porcelain vessel owns a good shape and hand-making during that period. With the colourful painting, Ming porcelain wine vessel was famous for its Qinghua, Doucai and Jihong.