Lidded square ritual wine vessel (fanghu) with painted decoration

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1
Download Image IIIF

Terms of Use

Creative Commons

At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    206 BCE-220 CE
  • Geography

  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W: 17.8 x 10.9 cm (7 x 4 5/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    Fang-hu with curved walls and a lid in the shape of a truncated pyramid. There is a small loop on the cover. Animal masks in relief, holding movable rings, appear on two sides below the neck. The sides of the vessel are decorated with a frieze of abstract, swirling designs painted between narrow bands of red pigment. A red band also decorates the narrow foot.
  • Provenance

    To 1916
    C. T. Loo, Lai-Yuan & Co., New York, to April 1, 1916 [1]
    From 1916 to 1968
    Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC, and Mt. Kisco, NY, purchased from C. T. Loo, Lai-Yuan & Co. on April 1, 1916 [2]
    From 1968
    Freer Gallery of Art, given by Agnes E. Meyer in 1968 [3]
    [1] See C. T. Loo, Lai-Yuan & Co.’s invoice issued to Mrs. Eugene Meyer and dated February 29, 1916, where the bronze is listed as “Square bronze vase with cover, painted with polychrome floral designs,” copy in object file.
    A stamped note on the invoice states that the payment for the bronze was received by Loo on April 1, 1916.
    The invoice includes three other bronzes (see records for F1968. 32a-b, F1968.33, and F1968.34a-b) which with F1968.35a-b form a group probably made as a set to be used as mingqi (funerary objects).
    The four vessels reportedly came from Changsha, Hunan province, however, there is no certainty of their provenance, see Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Memorial Exhibition exh. cat. (Washington, DC: Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian Institution, 1971), pp. 28-29 (ill.) and Diane M. Nelson, “Bronze ‘Ming-ch’i’ Vessels with Painted Decoration: A Regional Study in Han Pictorialism,” Artibus Asiae 42, 2/3 (1980), pp. 147-8.
    [2] See C. T. Loo, Lai-Yuan & Co.’s invoice, cited in note 1.
    [3] See Agnes E. Meyer’s Deed of Gift, where the object is listed as no. 21 in the document’s Annex, dated July 24, 1967, copy in object file. The object was accessioned to the Freer Gallery’s collection in 1968.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Art and Industry: China’s Houma Foundry (October 14, 2017 - ongoing)
    Studies in Connoisseurship 1923-1983 (September 23, 1983 to March 1, 1984)
    Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Memorial Exhibition (September 25, 1971 to October 2, 1972)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    C.T. Loo & Company (1914-1948)
    Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer ((1875-1959) and (1887-1970))
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Gift of Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer
  • 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