Spouted vessel (he) in the form of an elephant with masks (taotie), dragons, and snakes

Ceremonial covered vessel, type huo, in the form of an elephant. Wooden stand. Surface: a light green patina. Decoration: cast in low relief; final in the round.

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Historical period(s)
late Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1100 BCE
H x W x D (overall): 17.2 x 10.7 x 21.4 cm (6 3/4 x 4 3/16 x 8 7/16 in)
China, probably Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Sackler Gallery 23a: Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: he

Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, dragon, elephant, mask, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), wine

To 1936
Yamanaka and Company, Boston. [1]

From 1936
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Yamanaka and Company, Boston. [2]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Yamanaka and Co. 1917-1965


Ceremonial covered vessel, type huo, in the form of an elephant. Wooden stand. Surface: a light green patina. Decoration: cast in low relief; final in the round.

Published References
  • Daily Life in Shang Dynasty China. Cover.
  • Daniel Shapiro. Ancient Chinese Bronzes: A Personal Appreciation. .
  • Chung-kuo tiao su shih t'u lu. Chung-kuo mei shu shih t'u lu ts'ung shu Shanghai. vol. 1: p. 34.
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  • unknown title. no. 7. pl. 1.
  • William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. ill. 213.
  • Benjamin Rowland, Laurence Sickman, H. G. Henderson, Robert Treat Paine, Richard Ettinghausen, Eric Schroeder. The University Prints. Oriental Art Series O 4 vols. Newton, Massachusetts, 1938-1941. Section 2: Early Chinese Art, pl. 100.
  • Sueji Umehara. Shina kokogaku ronko [Studies in Chinese Archaeology]. Showa 13 Tokyo, 1938-1940. pl. 36b, fig. 1.
  • Sueji Umehara. On the Shapes of the Bronze Vessels of Ancient China: An Archaeological Study. Toho Bunka Gakuin kyoto kenkyujo kenkyu hohoku, vol.15 Kyoto. pl. 25, fig. 1.
  • Sueji Umehara. Shina kodo seikwa [Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and Asia]. 3 vols., Osaka. vol. 1: pl. 34.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1935. Washington, 1935-1936. pl. 2.
  • Osvald Siren. Kinas Konst Under Tre Artusenden. 2 vols., Stockholm, 1942-1943. vol. 1: pl. 12.
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  • Lawrence S. Cunningham, John J. Reich. Culture and Values: A Survey of the Humanities., 6th ed. Belmont, CA. fig. 5.8.
  • Bernhard Karlgren. Some New Bronzes in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. no. 24 Stockholm. fig. 38.
  • Keng Jung. Shang chou i ch'i t'ung k'ao: Researches in Ceremonial Vessels of the Shang and Chou Dynasties. Peiping. vol. 2: pl. 370.
  • Keng Jung, Chang Wei. Yin Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i t'ung lun [A Survey of Shang-Chou Bronzes]. Peking. cat. 143.
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  • Higuchi Takayasu. Chugoku seidoki hyakusen., 1 hen. Tokyo. pl. 22.
  • Cheng Te-k'un. Archaeology in China. 3 vols., Cambridge, England. vol. 2: pl. 54.
  • Michel Beurdeley. L'amateur chinois des Han au XXe siecle. Aspects de l'art Fribourg. fig. 115.
  • Chen Mengjia. Yin Zhou qing tong qi fen lei tu lu [Yin-Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i fen lei t'u lu]. 2 vols., Dongjing. vol. 2: A 675.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 5, vol. 1: p. 153.
  • Albert M. Craig. The Heritage of Chinese Civilization., 2nd ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. p. 10.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 11.
  • Alexander Coburn Soper. A Case of Meaningful Magic: In Honor of the Ninth Presentation of the Charles Lang Freer Medal. Washington, 1990. p. 12, fig. 1.
  • Lin-ts'an Li. Chung-kuo ti i shu kuang hui. no. 20, . p. 14.
  • et al. The Heritage of World Civilization. combined volume, , 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey. p. 17.
  • Rene Grousset. Chinese Art and Culture. New York. p. 32.
  • Yumiko Suefusa. Yin and Chou Bronzes, with Special Reference to ssu kuang-Type Receptacles. no. 55 Tokyo, March 1978. p. 36.
  • Terry F. Kleeman, Tracy Barrett. The Ancient Chinese World. World in Ancient Times Oxford and New York. p. 47.
  • Compiled by the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. A Descriptive and Illustrative Catalogue of Chinese Bronzes: Acquired During the Administration of John Ellerton Lodge. Oriental Studies Series, no. 3 Washington, 1946. p. 51, pl. 24.
  • Etienne Martin. Le Gout Chinois du Cardinal Louis de Rohan: Les Collections Extreme-Orientales du Musee des Arts Decoratifs. Exh. cat. Strasbourg. p. 94.
  • Walter Karp. The Smithsonian Institution: An Establishment for the Increase and Diffusion of Knowledge Among Men. Washington. p. 117.
  • Conrad Phillip Kottak. Window on Humanity: A Concise Introduction to Anthropology., 3rd ed. New York. p. 178.
  • Judith Burling, Arthur H. Burling. Chinese Art. New York. p. 223.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Rutherford John Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 40, p. 229.
  • Jack Hobbs, Richard Salome, Ken Vieth. The Visual Experience., 3rd ed. Worcester, Massachusetts, 2004-2005. pp. 355, 362.
  • Mizuno Seiichi, Yukio Kobayashi. Zukai kokogaku jiten [Dictionary of Archaeology]. Tokyo. p. 454.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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