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.

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

Copyright with museum

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