Ritual grain server (gui) with square base and masks, dragons, and birds

citation

Historical period(s)
Early Western Zhou dynasty, ca. late 11th-early 10th century BCE
Medium
Bronze
Dimensions
H x W x D: 28.1 x 34 x 24.4 cm (11 1/16 x 13 3/8 x 9 5/8 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
F1938.20
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Metalwork, Vessel
Type

Ritual vessel

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

From at least 1935
Otto Burchard & Co., Berlin, from at least 1935 [1]

1935
Sale, Berlin, Paul Graupe, Die Bestände der Firma Dr. Otto Burchard & Co., Berlin, in Liquidation: Chinesische Kunst: I. Teil, March 22, 1935, lot 275, pl. 26 [2]

From 1935 to probably 1937
Hans Georg Oeder (died 1937), Priemern, Altmark, Germany, purchased on his behalf by Arthur Abt at Graupe's sale, March 22, 1935 [3]

From 1937
C.T. Loo & Company, Paris and New York from at least November 1937 [4]

From 1938
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company, New York on December 29, 1938 [5]

Notes:

[1] See Paul Graupe, Berlin, Die Bestände der Firma Dr. Otto Burchard & Co., Berlin in Liquidation: Chinesische Kunst: I. Teil, sale cat. (Berlin: Paul Graupe, March 22-23, 1935), p. 39, lot 275, pl. 26. Dr. Otto Burchard & Co., a gallery devoted to Chinese art, was founded by Otto Burchard (1892-1965) in Berlin in 1927 as a part of the Margraf Concern, an art trade firm based in Berlin. In 1929, the Margraf Concern was acquired by Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer. See Patrizia Jirka-Schmitz, "Otto Burchard (1892-1965), Von Finanz-Dada zum Grandseigneur des Pekinger Kunsthandels," Mitteilungen Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst 12, 2 (July 1995), p. 28, note 24.

[2] The sale was one of a series of three auctions during January through April 1935, in which the Margraf Concern, property of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer, was liquidated. See also Klaus Schrenk, "Das Gemälde 'Bildnis der Marchesa Veronica Spinola Doria' von Peter Paul Rubens und die Chronologie einer Rückforderung," in Beiträge öffentlicher Einrichtungen des Bundesrepublik Deutschland zum Umgang mit Kulturgütern aus ehemaligen jüdischen Besitz, ed. Ulf Häder (Magdeburg: Veröffentlichungen der Koordinierungsstelle für Kulturgutverluste, 2001), pp. 150-59 and Esther Tisa Francini, Anja Heuss, and Georg Kreis, Flucht - Raubgut: Der Transfer von Kulturgütern in und über die Schweiz 1933-1945 und die Frage der Restitution (Zurich: Chronos, 2001), p. 42. For more information on the fate of Jakob and Rosa Oppenheimer see http://www.lostart.de/nn_41804/Webs/DE/Provenienz/JuedischeSammler/Eintrag,lv2=60580,lv3=63116.html.

[3] According to Patrizia Jirka-Schmitz, "Otto Burchard (1892-1965), Von Finanz-Dada zum Grandseigneur des Pekinger Kunsthandels," Mitteilungen Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ostasiatische Kunst 12, 2 (July 1995), pp. 32-33. See also Bernhard Karlgren, "Yin and Chou in Chinese Bronzes," in Yin and Chou Researches (Stockholm: The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, 1935), p. 84, E40, pl. XII, where the vessel is listed as in "Oeder Collection."

[4] See Loo's stockcard no. LAP 5901: "Bronze incense-burner on a square stand, 6th cent. B.C.," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file. According to annotations on the stockcard, the vessel arrived in New York on the S.S. Normandie with Loo in November 1937 and was brought to the Freer Gallery for approval in December 1937. It appears on C. T. Loo's Approval List, dated December 2, 1937, listed under no. LAP 5901 as "Large bronze Yu with square base," copy in object file.

[5] See C. T. Loo's invoice, issued by the New York gallery, dated December 29, 1938, copy in object file. The object is listed in the invoice as "Bronze sacral vessel of the type tui. Chinese, Chou." Loo stated at the time of the purchase that he had acquired the vessel in China, see John E. Lodge's curatorial remark, 1939, in object file. Lodge noted that Loo "said that he had got it [the vessel] in China and this could be true. In 1935, however, Karlgren published … an inscribed kuei belonging to Rittergutsbesitzer H. G. Oeder (of Priemern, Seehausen, Altmark, Germany) which, as nearly as I can tell from the reproduction, is almost certainly this one,--- my only serious doubt, indeed, arising from the negative evidence of Karlgren's failure to read the second character in the inscription." In July 2000, the Freer Gallery of Art received a claim asserting that the heirs of Rosa and Jakob Oppenheimer were the rightful owners of the vessel. With the cooperation and assistance of the family, the Smithsonian researched the history of the vessel and discovered that it had been sold in the auction in Berlin in 1935. In November 2002, the Oppenheimer heirs and the Smithsonian Institution reached an agreement regarding the ownership of the vessel by which it remains in the museum collection.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950
Mr. Hans Georg Oeder died 1937
Otto Burchard & Co., Inc.

Published References
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Mr. R.J. Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 63, p. 351.
  • 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. 5-7, 40-41, pls. 19-20.
  • Grace Dunham Guest A.G. Wenley. Annotated Outlines of the History of Chinese Arts. Washington, 1949. p. 3.
  • 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. A 221.
  • Chin wen tsung chi. Taipei. p. 1238.
  • Eleanor von Erdberg Consten. Kunst und Religion in Indien, China, und Japan. Geisteswissenschaften Heft 120 Cologne. pl. 1.
  • Keng Jung Chang Wei. Yin Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i t'ung lun (A Survey of Shang-Chou Bronzes). Peking. cat. 50.
  • Bernhard Karlgren. Some New Bronzes in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities. no. 24 Stockholm. fig. 55.
  • Bernhard Karlgren. Yin and Chou in Chinese Bronzes. no. 8, 1955 article reprint. Stockholm. p. 84, pl. 12, E40.
  • Martin Feddersen. Chinesisches Kunstgewerbe. Berlin. p. 100, pl. 85.
  • S. H. Minkenhof. An Early Chinese Bronze Mask. no. 29 The Netherlands, April 1950. p. 20, fig. 9.
  • Robert Poor. Two Recently Excavated Chinese Bronzes. vol. 24, no. 1, Spring 1978. pp. 70-78, fig. 5.
  • Shang Chou chin wen shi ch'eng. multi-vol., Taipei. cat. 2564.
  • Osvald Siren. Kinas Konst Under Tre Artusenden. 2 vols., Stockholm, 1942-1943. pls. 4, 6.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1939. Washington, 1939-1940. pl. 1, top.
  • Charles D. Weber. Chinese Pictorial Bronze Vessels of the Late Chou Period, Part III (of IV). vol. 29, no. 2/3 Washington and Zurich. pp. 115-174, figs. 38.20.
  • The Dealer and the Museum: C.T. Loo (1880-1957), the Freer Gallery of Art, and the American Asian Market in the 1930s and 1940s. .
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum