Ritual grain server (yu) with masks (taotie), dragons, and cicadas.

Ceremonial vessel, type gui. Fairly even gray-green patina inside and out; malachite and azurite incrustation on the bottom. Cast inscription of two characters.

Historical period(s)
middle Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1150 BCE
H x W x D: 14 × 22.5 × 21.3 cm (5 1/2 × 8 7/8 × 8 3/8 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 24b: Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: gui

Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), China, dragon, grain, mask

In 1941
C. T. Loo & Company, New York from April 1941 [1]

From 1941
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on June 18, 1941 [2]


[1] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 87101: "Bronze vessel. Kuei. decorated around foot and neck with bands of running dragons separated by flanges. and a register of triangles with cicadas in relief under the rim on the body broad t'ao t'ieh masks. All motives [?] with spirals. deeply carved spiral background. Grey green patina. Inscribed. Shang," C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris, copy in object file. The object was brought by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination on April 29, 1941.

[2] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated June 18, 1941, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)

C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948


Ceremonial vessel, type gui. Fairly even gray-green patina inside and out; malachite and azurite incrustation on the bottom. Cast inscription of two characters.


Inscribed on the bottom of the interior, Yi Che 亦 (掖?) 車 (“Yi-Chariot Officer”)

Published References
  • Sueji Umehara. Yin hsu: Ancient Capital of the Shang Dynasty at An-yang. Tokyo. pl. 85 (1).
  • Shang Chou chin wen shi ch'eng. Multi-volume, Taipei. cat. 1883.
  • Mizuno Seiichi. In Shu seidoki to tama [Bronzes and Jades of Ancient China]. Tokyo. pl. 28.
  • Bernhard Karlgren. Marginalia on Some Bronze Albums I. no. 31 Stockholm. pl. 69a.
  • Keng Jung, Chang Wei. Yin Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i t'ung lun [A Survey of Shang-Chou Bronzes]. Peking. cat. 41.
  • Higuchi Takayasu. Chugoku seidoki hyakusen., 1 hen. Tokyo. pl. 6.
  • Chin wen tsung chi. Taipei. vol. 3: p. 949.
  • 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 152.
  • Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 2.
  • 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. 7, 28, pl. 9.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 10.
  • Rene Grousset. Chinese Art and Culture. New York. p. 24.
  • Howard F. Collins. Decor, Function, and Contour in Early Chinese Bronzes. vol. 12, no. 2 London, Summer 1966. p. 115, fig. 3.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Rutherford John Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 61, p. 343.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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