Olin’s 1,500 pound ceremonial Chinese ding was forced to move from the courtyard to the south side of the Knight Center due to construction work on Knight Hall and Bauer Hall.
The ding – a gift from members of the Executive MBA Shanghai Class #2 – was installed in the Knight Center courtyard in 2005. The EMBA-Shanghai alumni donated the Ding as a symbol of the strong ties they have to Washington University.
The joint Washington University and Fudan University in Shanghai Executive MBA program was established 10 years ago and was one of the first western-style business school programs to partner with a Chinese university.
Olin’s ding is a reproduction of the Da Ke Ding, now in the Shanghai Museum, which was cast during the reign of King Xiao, a 10th-century BC ruler. It is 5 feet tall, 4 feet in diameter, and weighs 1,5000 pounds. This modern replica was created at the Chinese Art Institute of Shanghai Jiao Tong University.
A Ding is part of a set of ceremonial bronze vessels, which historically came in a variety shapes and frequently carried food and wine. The ruling class used the ritual bronzes during ancestor worship rituals, placing the vessels in burial tombs. Beginning in the Shang dynasty, which lasted from the 16th to the 11th century, BC, large Dings were used as gifts from one aristocrat to another. These large Dings symbolized authority and the right to rule. The number of Dings an aristocrat owned indicated his status: the Emperor had nine Dings, dukes and barons had seven and scholarly gentlemen, three.