Excavated in Anyang, Henan province, China 
From 1940 to 1941
C. T. Loo & Company, New York from November 1940 
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on September 29, 1941 
 According to Mizuno Seiichi, In Shu seidoki to tama (Tokyo, Nihon Keizai Shinbunsha, 1959), p. 63, pls. 40, 41.
 See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 87003: "Bronze jar with cover Chou Bronze TSUN with cover in the form of a Human mask with ornaments. Turquoise patina SHANG," C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris, copy in object file. The object was taken by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination on January 17, 1941.
 See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated September 29, 1941, copy in object file.
- Previous Owner(s) and Custodian(s)
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
Ceremonial vessel, type huo; cover in the form of a human face with horns. Patination: outside, gray-green with sparse malachite incrustations; inside, gray, gray-green, malachite, cuprite, azurite and calcareous deposit.
Does the lid of this vessel show a Chinese dragon with a human face, or a person changing into a horned serpent? While it may seem cartoonish today, the haunting combination of the familiar and the supernatural might represent the mysteries of the spirit world, thus transforming a simple pear-shaped ewer (he) into an intriguing piece of sculpture.
The head connects to a reptilian body that spirals around the container to end with a pointed tail. Two clawed arms reach forward towards the spout, which is held in the mouths of smaller coiling dragons. This unique ewer was probably made in a major bronze casting center in one of China’s southern provinces.
- Published References
- Meng-chia Ch'en. Style of Chinese Bronzes. vol. 1 Honolulu, 1945-1946. pl. 5, fig. 30.
- Sekai bijutsu zenshu [A Complete Collection of World Art]. 40 vols., Tokyo, F1951-1953. cat. 62-63, vol. 2.
- Yuan Te-hsing. A Discussion of the Dragon Motif in the Decoration of a Kuei. vol. 13, no. 2 Taipei, May-June 1978. fig. 3.
- Zusetsu sekai bunkashi taikei [Cultural History of the World]. 27 vols., Tokyo, 1958-1961. Vol. 15: p. 26, fig. 11.
- William Watson. China Before the Han Dynasty. Ancient Peoples and Places, vol. 23 New York. fig. 17.
- William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. ill. 222.
- Cheng Te-k'un. Archaeology in China. 3 vols., Cambridge, England. vol. 2: pl. 47b.
- Alfred Salmony. Art and Thought, Issued in Honour of Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswamy on the Occasion of his 70th Birthday. London. pl. 34, fig. 6.
- Sueji Umehara. Yin hsu: Ancient Capital of the Shang Dynasty at An-yang. Tokyo. pl. 115.
- T'an Tan-chiung. Chung-hua i-shu t'u-lu [Chinese Art]. Taipei. pl. 59.
- T'an Tan-chiung. T'ung ch'i kai shu. Taipei. pls. 45-47, 52.
- Laurence Sickman, Alexander Coburn Soper. The Art and Architecture of China. The Pelican History of Art London and Baltimore. pl. 7.
- Hugo Munsterberg. A Short History of Chinese Art. New York, 1949. pl. 5.
- Mizuno Seiichi. In Shu seidoki to tama [Bronzes and Jades of Ancient China]. Tokyo. pls. 40-41.
- Liu Wang-hang. Chiu yu ch'ing t'ung chiu ch'i. no. 22 Taipei. .
- Hai wai i chen [Chinese Art in Overseas Collections]. Taipei, 1985. vol. 2: p. 53.
- The Encyclopedia of World Art. 17 vols., New York, 1959-1968. vol. 3, pl. 221.
- Chung-kuo tiao su shih t'u lu. Chung-kuo mei shu shih t'u lu ts'ung shu Shanghai. vol. 1: p. 23.
- Higuchi Takayasu. Chugoku seidoki hyakusen., 1 hen. Tokyo. pl. 12.
- Chugoku bijutsu [Chinese Art in Western Collections]. 5 vols., Tokyo, 1972-1973. fig. 19.
- 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. 1, fig. 30.
- Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 4, vol. 1: p. 153.
- Grace Dunham Guest, Archibald Gibson Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 1.
- Hayashi. Research of Gods of Ancient China. p. 3.
- Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 9.
- Mario Bussagli. Chinese Bronzes. London and New York. p. 10, pl. 1.
- Bernhard Karlgren. Some New Bronzes in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. no. 24 Stockholm. pp. 11-25, fig. 67.
- Lin-ts'an Li. Chung-kuo ti i shu kuang hui. no. 20, . p. 14.
- Theresa B. Frisch. Scythian Art and Some Chinese Parallels, Part I. vol. 2, no. 1. pp. 16-24, fig. 1b.
- T'an Tan-chiung, National Palace Museum, Taiwan. Coils and Undulations. vol. 2 Taipei, October 1967. pp. 33-39, pls. 5-7.
- 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. 34-35, pls. 13-14.
- Charles D. Weber. Chinese Pictorial Bronze Vessels of the Late Chou Period, Part I (of IV). vol. 28, no. 2/3 Washington and Zurich. pp. 107-154, fig. 18j-k.
- Florance Waterbury. Speculations on the Significance of a Ho in the Freer Gallery. vol. 15, no. 1/2 Leipzig. pp. 114-124.
- Hugo Munsterberg. An Anthropomorphic Deity from Ancient China. New Series, vol. 3, no. 4, 1951. pp. 147-152.
- J. LeRoy Davidson. The Flange on Chinese Bronzes. no. 14 Washington and Zurich. p. 221, fig. 10.
- Dr. John Alexander Pope, Rutherford John Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 39, p. 223.
- Collection Area(s)
- Chinese Art
- Web Resources
- Google Cultural Institute
- SI Usage Statement
Usage Conditions Apply
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)
Usage Conditions Apply
Chrome users: right click on icon, select "save link as..."
Internet Explorer users: right click on icon, select "save target as..."
Mozilla Firefox users: right click on icon, select "save link as..."
International Image Interoperability Framework
IIIF Manifest Data/Viewers