Pitch-pot

Hexagonal vessel (with two of the sides wider than the other four, thus providing a front/back-and-sides orientation), tapering slightly towards the top opening, with a pronounced angular bulge around the vessel about one-third from the bottom, and four tall, hexagonal, open-end projections at the top. The entire vessel sits on a high double hexagonal base. Poorly cast in one piece.

Surface: green patina with heavy incrustations of lighter green and orange-colored earth.

Decoration: Each of the six panels on the tubular section of the vessel is decorated with a miniature arrow-holder in relief, with the front one holding the greatest number of arrows. Four of these panels bear a two-character inscription above the arrow-holder; they read: ???, “huang-hu” [Chn], “kuan-erh” [Chn], and ? erh [Chn]. Two rows of stylized lotus petals ornament the juncture of the tube and the large projection. On the latter, each of the six panels is decorated with a creature in relief: a “ch’i-lin” and a phoenix on the front and back, two lioins and two stags on the sides. The four projections around the mouth of the vessel have a “lei-wan” background on their panels, and a human figure in relief on the front panel of the front and back projections. Incised floral design on the remaining surfaces. The base simulates a balustrade by means of the shape of its openwork panels.

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Historical period(s)
Ming dynasty, 1368-1644
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
H x W: 55.4 x 24.1 cm (21 13/16 x 9 1/2 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
F1911.67
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Vessel
Type

Pot

Keywords
China, inscription, lotus, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644)
Provenance

To 1911
Pong, Beijing, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Pong in 1911 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]

Notes:

[1] See Original Bronze List, S.I. 222, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Pong (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919

Description

Hexagonal vessel (with two of the sides wider than the other four, thus providing a front/back-and-sides orientation), tapering slightly towards the top opening, with a pronounced angular bulge around the vessel about one-third from the bottom, and four tall, hexagonal, open-end projections at the top. The entire vessel sits on a high double hexagonal base. Poorly cast in one piece.

Surface: green patina with heavy incrustations of lighter green and orange-colored earth.

Decoration: Each of the six panels on the tubular section of the vessel is decorated with a miniature arrow-holder in relief, with the front one holding the greatest number of arrows. Four of these panels bear a two-character inscription above the arrow-holder; they read: ???, "huang-hu" [Chn], "kuan-erh" [Chn], and ? erh [Chn]. Two rows of stylized lotus petals ornament the juncture of the tube and the large projection. On the latter, each of the six panels is decorated with a creature in relief: a "ch'i-lin" and a phoenix on the front and back, two lioins and two stags on the sides. The four projections around the mouth of the vessel have a "lei-wan" background on their panels, and a human figure in relief on the front panel of the front and back projections. Incised floral design on the remaining surfaces. The base simulates a balustrade by means of the shape of its openwork panels.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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