Ritual grain server () with masks and dragons

Ceremonial vessel, type yu.
Surface: rough green patina, small areas of unaltered metal and earthy incrustation.
Decoration: in low relief, high relief and incised. Inscription of seven characters.

Historical period(s)
Early Western Zhou dynasty, ca. late 11th century BCE
H x W x D: 41.8 x 56.8 x 48 cm (16 7/16 x 22 3/8 x 18 7/8 in)
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art Collection
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: yu

bird, China, dragon, mask, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE)

To 1937
Tonying and Company, New York. [1]

From 1937
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York. [2]


[1] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[2] See note 1.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

Tonying and Company established 1902


Ceremonial vessel, type yu.
Surface: rough green patina, small areas of unaltered metal and earthy incrustation.
Decoration: in low relief, high relief and incised. Inscription of seven characters.


Inscription of seven characters.

1. (From original folder sheet note 2) (J.E.L., 1937) I can only guess at the first and last characters of this inscription, as [chn], or [chn], or [chn], or [chn] for the first. The others are

[chn] [chn]
[chn] [chn]
[chn] [chn]

"...made this precious vessel..."

2. (From original folder sheet note 3) (A.G.W., J.A.P., 1944) The first and last characters of the inscription are, as yet, undeciphered. The others repeat the common formula tso pao tsun i

"...made this precious sacral vessel..."

Published References
  • 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. 2, fig. 1.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1937. Washington, 1937-1938. pl. 1.
  • Shang Chou chin wen shi ch'eng. Multi-volume, Taipei. cat. 76774.
  • Sekai kokogaku taikei [Archaeology of the World]. 16 vols., Tokyo, 1958-1962. vol. 6 (1958): pl. 74.
  • Keng Jung, Chang Wei. Yin Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i t'ung lun [A Survey of Shang-Chou Bronzes]. Peking. cat. 276.
  • The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York, 1959-1968. vol. 3: pl. 224.
  • Chin wen tsung chi. Taipei. vol. 9: p. 3784.
  • 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 813.
  • Jessica Rawson. Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. 2 Washington and Cambridge, Massachusetts. vol. 2a, p. 92, fig. 136.
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 4.
  • 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. pp. 4, 42, pl. 25.
  • Whitney N. Morgan. Museum Acquisitions. vol. 10, no. 1 New York, January 1938. p. 26.
  • Howard F. Collins. Decor, Function, and Contour in Early Chinese Bronzes. vol. 12, no. 2 London, Summer 1966. p. 116, fig. 8.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Rutherford John Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 60, p. 337.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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