Lidded ritual wine container (you) in the form of two owls


Historical period(s)
Middle Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1200-1100 BCE
H x W: 24 x 21.3 cm (9 7/16 x 8 3/8 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), bird, casting, China, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), WWII-era provenance

From 1941 to 1942
C.T. Loo & Company, New York in November 1941 [1]

From 1942
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C.T. Loo & Company on July 24, 1942 [2]


[1] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 87515: "Bronze jar with cover SHANG," Frank Caro Archive, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, copy in object file. The vessel was brought by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination on March 19, 1942.

[2] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated July 24, 1942, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

C.T. Loo & Company active 1908-1950


This container was intended to hold ritual wine. Its squat shape accommodates a pair of owls standing back to back on short legs. Scale patterns on the legs, bodies, wings, and tails make the birds stand out from the background. On the lid, the owls’ heads have large, round eyes, down-turned beaks, small ears, and large horns. They are recognizable enough to be identified as Bubo bubo, the eagle owl of Europe and Asia (a relative of the great horned owl).

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

Copyright with museum