Fitting in the form of an animal, possibly a tapir


Historical period(s)
Middle Eastern Zhou dynasty, ca. early 5th century BCE
H x W x D: 11.2 x 18.3 x 6.3 cm (4 7/16 x 7 3/16 x 2 1/2 in)
China, Shanxi province
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 18: Art and Industry: China's Ancient Houma Foundry
Metalwork, Sculpture


casting, China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), tapir, WWII-era provenance

Reportedly excavated at Li-yü, Shanxi province, China [1]

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

From 1940
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company on November 9, 1940 [3]


[1] According to Archibald G. Wenley's and John A. Pope's curatorial remark, dated 1944, in object file.

[2] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 86542: "Bronze standing animal WEI, finely decorated with designs of twisted dragons, bluish patina. Late Chou," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York Unviersity, copy in object file. The object was taken by Loo to the Freer Gallery in May 1940.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated November 9, 1940, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950


This quadruped was crafted with considerable detail, especially in the modeling of the animal's face, its short, hoofed legs, and its scaled rotund body. Despite the clear features, the identity of the animal remains obscure, as does the precise function of the bronze figure. The collar of cowrie shells, twisted rope bands, striations, and scale patterns suggest that this animal was also produced in the Houma workshops in southern Shanxi Province.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton. Chinese Art of the Warring States Period: Change and Continuity, 480-222 B.C. Washington, 1982-1983. cat. 36, p. 78.
  • Jenny So. Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. 3 New York, 1995. p. 37, fig. 46.
  • 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. 60, pl. 32.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 16.
  • Dr. Sherman Lee. A History of Far Eastern Art. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1964. p. 47, fig. 41.
  • Eleanor von Erdberg Consten. The Deer in Early Chinese Art. vol. 26, no. 3/4 Washington and Zurich. pp.192, 196, 201, pl. 3.
  • Mizuno Seiichi. In Shu seidoki to tama (alt. spelling: In-sho seidoki to gyoku) (Bronzes and Jades of Ancient China). Tokyo. pl. 157.
  • Georges Salles. Les Bronzes de Li-yu. Paris. pp. 146-158, pl. 50.
  • Report of the Secretary, 1941/42. Washington. pl. 4.
  • T'an Tan-chiung. T'ung ch'i kai shu. Taipei. pl. 105.
  • William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. ill. 247.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum

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