Ritual wine vessel (zun)

Detail of a pattern
Image 1 of 1

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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 12th-11th century BCE
  • Geography

  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x Diam: 29.2 × 22 cm (11 1/2 × 8 11/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Description

    The vessel is built up in three horizontal sections: the foot flares from its slightly inset high base; the body rises with a barely perceptible curve; and the trumpet-shaped mouth flares outward. The neck is unadorned. The ornamentation in two registers on the lower half of the vessel is divided into quadrants by wide, undecorated flanges. Two tao-tie masks occur on the body, while two pairs of facing birds decorate the foot. Bowstrings occur above and below each register. There is no leiwen; the decor is on a plain ground, and the relief figures are likewise plain.
    Surface: light green smooth patina.
  • Provenance

    From 1939 to 1942
    C. T. Loo & Company, New York, from May 1939 [1]
    From 1942 to 1951
    Eduard von der Heydt (1882-1964), Ascona, Switzerland, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on July 6, 1942 and lent to the Buffalo Museum of Science, Buffalo, New York [2]
    US Government vested Eduard von der Heydt's property under the provisions of "Trading with the Enemy Act" by vesting order, dated August 21, 1951 [3]
    From 1964 to 1973
    National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, from March 1964 [4]
    From 1973
    Freer Gallery of Art, transferred from National Museum of Natural History in 1973 [5]
    [1] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 86418: "Tsun. Decorated by two bands. In the center two t'ao t'ieh masks between strait flanges, and on the lower part a band of confronted stylized dragons and flanges smooth grey green patina Early Chou," C. T. Loo & Frank Caro Archive, Musée Guimet, Paris, copy in object file.
    [2] See C. T. Loo's stockcard cited in note 1.
    According to an annotation on the stockcard, the bronze was sent by Loo directly to the Buffalo Museum of Science.
    See also "Catalogue of the Von der Heydt Loan to the Buffalo Museum of Science: Loan Material from Baron Von der Heydt, as of March 1949," where the bronze is documented under an inventory card no. 42102-a, copy in object file. According to this document, the bronze was purchased in June 1942.
    [3] See Vesting Order No. 18344, August 21, 1951, Office of Alien Property, Department of Justice.
    Eduard von der Heydt exhausted all the legal remedies against the forfeiture of his property provided to him by the Trading with the Enemy Act.
    [4] Attorney General, Robert Kennedy authorized transfer of the von der Heydt collection from Buffalo Museum of Science to the custody of the Smithsonian Institution in March 1964. The collection was transferred to the National Museum of Natural History.
    In 1966 US Congress legislated transferring the title of the von der Heydt collection to the Smithsonian Institution, see Public Law 89-503, 80 Stat. 287, July 18, 1966. The bronze was accessioned under no. 448094, see "Smithsonian Office of Anthropology Accession Data," copy in object file.
    [5] The bronze was among 13 objects in the von der Heydt collection transferred from National Museum of Natural History to the Freer Gallery of Art, see "Smithsonian Institution Intramural Transfer of Specimens" memorandum, dated January 29, 1973, copy in object file.
    The bronze was accessioned to the Freer Gallery Study Collection under no. FSC-B-86 and subsequently transferred to the permanent collection in August 1978.
  • Collection

    Freer Gallery of Art Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Chinese Art (February 18, 1983 to April 1, 1987)
    A Decade of Discovery: Selected Acquisitions 1970-1980 (November 9, 1979 to May 22, 1980)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    C.T. Loo & Company (1914-1948)
    Baron Eduard von der Heydt (1882-1964)
    National Museum of Natural History, Department of Anthropology, Smithsonian Institution
  • Origin

  • Credit Line

    Transfer from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution
  • Type

  • Restrictions and Rights

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