Lidded ritual wine container (you) with taotie and dragons


Historical period(s)
Late Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1100-1050 BCE
H x W x D: 36.1 x 26.9 x 23.6 cm (14 3/16 x 10 9/16 x 9 5/16 in)
China, Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel

Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), casting, China, dragon, mask, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), taotie, wine, WWII-era provenance

Reportedly excavated in Anyang, Henan province, China [1]

From 1939 to 1940
C.T. Loo & Company, New York from September 26, 1939 [2]

From 1940
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company on July 10, 1940 [3]


[1] According to undated curatorial remark, in object file.

[2] See C.T. Loo's stockcard no. 86536: "Bronze Jar with cover, Shang," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file. The object was brought to the Freer Gallery for examination on November 6, 1939.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated July 10, 1940, copy in object file. According to Loo's stockcard, the vessel was sold on July 15, 1940.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950


This you is decorated with elaborate relief designs of taotie, as well as bands of design that draw attention to the container’s foot, body, neck collar, and lid. Four types of dragons enliven the vessel surface. Such fierce animals show a range of artistic imagination among designers at Anyang during the Bronze Age. A bird motif (left) inside the container and lid might represent a family or clan.

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

Copyright with museum