In the event of a government shutdown, the National Museum of Asian Art will remain OPEN through at least Saturday, October 7, by using prior year funds. Visit for updates.

Ritual wine container (hu) with masks

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1
Download Image IIIF

Terms of Use

Creative Commons

At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    ca. late10th-early 9th century BCE
  • Geography

  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 48.8 x 33.3 x 27.8 cm (19 3/16 x 13 1/8 x 10 15/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Ceremonial vessel of the type hu. A hole in the foot rim.
    Surface: brown and green patina, with earthy incrustation.
    Decoration: in low relief; animalisitc handles in full relief.
  • Provenance

    To 1912
    Imperial Household collection of Prince Kung of China, Beijing, to 1912 [1]
    From 1912 to 1913
    Yamanaka & Company, purchased from Prince Kung estate, to 1913 [2]
    From 1913 to 1919
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased at the sale of the Prince Kung Collection (by order of Yamanaka & Company), American Art Association, New York February 27-28 and March 1, 1913 [3]
    From 1920
    Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]
    [1] According to Curatorial Remark 3, Charles Lang Freer, undated, in the object record: "The Yamanakas bought this piece directly from the late Prince Kung during 1912, brought it to New York and sold it to me through an auction held at the American Art Association galleries, on February 28, 1913. This piece, along with S.I. 517, was in former years in the collection of Prince Kung." The Imperial Household collection of Prince Kung was under the authority of Prince Kung Ching Wang (Yixin) (1833-1898), and, later, Prince Puwei (Prince Gongxian) (1880-1936), before Yamanaka and Company acquired it. See Illustrated Catalogue of the Remarkable Collection of the Imperial Prince Kung of China, A Wonderful Treasury of Celestial Art: recently acquired by the widely known firm of Yamanaka & Company (New York: American Art Association, 1913). See also, Original Bronze List, S.I. 389, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.
    [2] See note 1.
    [3] See note 1.
    [4] The original deed of Charles Lang Freer's gift was signed in 1906. The collection was received in 1920 upon the completion of the Freer Gallery.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Art and Industry: China’s Houma Foundry (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    Clay and Metal: Ancient Chinese Ceramics and Metal (February 25, 1997 to August 9, 2011)
    Chinese Art (February 18, 1983 to April 1, 1987)
    Chinese Art (March 15, 1982 to June 15, 1982)
    Chinese Art (March 9, 1981 to March 12, 1982)
    Chinese Art (January 1, 1963 to March 6, 1981)
    Untitled Exhibition, Chinese Metalwork (March 14, 1931 to March 22, 1943)
    Chinese Jades and Bronze, East Corridor (November 19, 1923 to March 14, 1931)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Prince Kung Ching Wang (1833-1898)
    Yamanaka and Co. 山中商会 (1917-1965) (C.L. Freer source)
    Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919)
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Gift of Charles Lang Freer
  • Type

  • On View

    Freer Gallery 18: Art and Industry: China's Ancient Houma Foundry
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

    This image is in the public domain (free of copyright restrictions). You can copy, modify, and distribute this work without contacting the Smithsonian. For more information, visit the Smithsonian's Terms of Use page.

    The information presented on this website may be revised and updated at any time as ongoing research progresses or as otherwise warranted. Pending any such revisions and updates, information on this site may be incomplete or inaccurate or may contain typographical errors. Neither the Smithsonian nor its regents, officers, employees, or agents make any representations about the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or timeliness of the information on the site. Use this site and the information provided on it subject to your own judgment. The National Museum of Asian Art welcomes information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.

Keep Exploring