One of a set of bells (bo) with felines and dragons

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

  • Period

    ca. 550-500 BCE
  • Geography

    Houma foundry, Shanxi province, China
  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 20.5 x 12.8 x 10.4 cm (8 1/16 x 5 1/16 x 4 1/8 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Provenance

    Dr. Otto Burchard (1892-1965), Berlin [1]
    Yamanaka & Company, New York [2]
    From at least 1933 to 1941
    Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941), New York and "The Chimneys," Sands Point, Port Washington, Long Island, purchased from Yamanaka & Company by at least 1933 [3]
    From 1941 to 1963
    Holmes Foundation, New York [4]
    Sale, New York, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Important Chinese Art: Early Dynastic Bronzes, Silver and Gold...Collected by the Late Bettie F. Holmes (Mrs. Christian R. Holmes), New York, Sold by Order of the Holmes Foundation, November 14-15, 1963, lot 255 (ill.): "Wrought Silver-Bronze Bell (Chung)."
    To 1987
    Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York
    From 1987
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler in 1987 [5]
    [1] According to Osvald Sirén, A History of Chinese Art (London: E. Benn Ltd., 1929), pl. 107 A. Sirén noted that at the time of publication the object had already left the Burchard collection.
    [2] According to Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, sale cat., Important Chinese Art: Early Dynastic Bronzes, Silver and Gold...Collected by the Late Bettie F. Holmes (Mrs. Christian R. Holmes), New York, Sold by Order of the Holmes Foundation (New York, November 14-15, 1963), lot 255 (ill.).
    [3] Umehara Sueji, Shina-kodo Seikwa (Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America): Part I Bronze Vases vol. 3 (Osaka: Yamanaka & Co., 1933), pl. 201.
    Mrs. Holmes lent the bell to International Exhibition of Chinese Art at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London in 1935-36, see Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, November 1935-March 7, 1936), cat. 139 (ill.) and subsequently to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, see Chinese Bronzes of the Shang (1766-1122 B. C.) through the T’ang Dynasty (A.D. 618-906) (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, October 19-November 27, 1938), cat. 174 (ill.).
    In the 1963 Parke-Bernet auction catalogue cited in note 2, the object is listed as purchased by Mrs. Holmes from Yamanaka & Company.
    [4] Mrs. Holmes had established the Holmes Foundation to continue her charity work after her death.
    [5] Pursuant to the agreement between Dr. Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.
  • Collection

    Arthur M. Sackler Collection
  • Exhibition History

    Resound: Ancient Bells of China (October 14, 2017 - July 5, 2021)
    The Arts of China (November 18, 1990 to September 7, 2014)
    In Praise of Ancestors: Ritual Objects from China (September 28, 1987 to January 1, 1989)
    Chinese Bronzes from American Collections (October 19 to November 27, 1938)
    International Exhibition of Chinese Art (November 28, 1935 to March 7, 1936)
  • Previous custodian or owner

    Dr. Otto C. Burchard (1892-1965)
    Yamanaka and Co. 山中商会 (1917-1965)
    Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941)
    Holmes Foundation
    Parke-Bernet Galleries
    Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987)
  • Origin

    Houma foundry, Shanxi province, China
  • Credit Line

    Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

    Musical Instrument
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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