Square lidded ritual ewer (fanghe) with taotie

citation

Historical period(s)
Early Western Zhou dynasty, ca. 1050-975 BCE
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
H x W x D: 22.3 x 21 x 14.1 cm (8 3/4 x 8 1/4 x 5 9/16 in)
Geography
China, Henan province, Luoyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1933.2
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Vessel
Type

Ritual vessel

Keywords
casting, China, inscription, mask, taotie, Western Zhou dynasty (ca. 1050 - 771 BCE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

1928
Possibly excavated at Luoyang, Henan Province, China, in 1928. [1]

1933
Tonying and Company, New York to 1933. [2]

From 1933
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York in 1933. [3]

Notes:

[1] See Curatorial Remark 2, A.G.W., 1944, in the object record. See also, Curatorial Remark 7, Keith Wilson, March 2009, in the object record.

[2] Curatorial Remark 1 in the object record.

[3] See note 2.

Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company

Label

The eyes, brows, horns, ears, snout, mouth, and legs of the taotie on the surface of this pitcher can be difficult to identify at first glance. This archaistic style of decoration might have been purposefully chosen to recall ancient times, but the practice of casting lengthy commemorative inscriptions was a recent innovation. The full inscription records events surrounding a royal gift of wine and cowry shells, and the last four characters name a family or a clan group that apparently served as court scribes or chroniclers. Since at least three other known bronze vessels bear the same inscription, this fanghe was likely part of a wine set created at the same time.

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum