string(24) "edanmdm:fsg_S1987.968a-b" Container (you) with masks (taotie) and dragons - National Museum of Asian Art

Container (you) with masks (taotie) and dragons

Detail of a pattern
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At A Glance

On View
  • Period

    ca. 1150-1100 BCE
  • Geography

    probably Henan province, China
  • Material

  • Dimension

    H x W x D: 23 × 20 × 17.6 cm (9 1/16 × 7 7/8 × 6 15/16 in)
  • Accession Number



Object Details

  • Provenance

    Reportedly excavated in Anhui province, China [1]
    Tonying and Company, New York [2]
    From at least 1929 to 1941
    Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941), New York and "The Chimneys," Sands Point, Port Washington, Long Island, from at least 1929 [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 Mrs. Christian R. Holmes, New York, Sold by the Order of the Holmes Foundation, November 14-15, 1963, lot 266 (ill. on the cover): "Bronze Covered Wine Vessel (Yu)"
    From 1963 to 1965
    J. T. Tai & Co., New York, New York, purchased at Sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, Important Chinese Art..., November 14-15, 1963 [5]
    From probably 1965 to 1987
    Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York, purchased probably from J. T. Tai & Co., New York, New York [6]
    From 1987
    Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of Dr. Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [7]
    [1] According to Jörg Trübner, Yu und Kuang: Zur Typologie der Chinesischen Bronzen (Leipzig: Klinkhardt & Biermann Verlag, 1929), p. 28.
    Cheng Mengjia provides the same provenance but mentions also a conflicting report that the vessel came from the Wenzhou area of Zhejiang, see Cheng Mengjia, Yin Zhou qingtongqi fenlei tulu (In Shu seidoki bunrui zuroku; A Corpus of Chinese Bronzes in American Collections) (Tokyo: Kyuko Shoin, 1977), A586. See also Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections (Washington, DC: The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation; Cambridge, Mass.: The Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, 1987), p. 373, no. 64.
    [2] The Tonying and Company's stock number "B81" painted in red on the object's base indicates that the vessel at some point was handled by the gallery.
    [3] See Trübner 1929, p. 28. When it entered the collection of Mrs. Holmes, the you was accompanied by fifteen jade beads said to have been found inside it (see provenance records for S1987.935.1-15).
    [4] Mrs. Holmes had established the Holmes Foundation to continue her charity work after her death.
    [5] See Joan Marcia Hartman, “America,” Oriental Art 10, 1 (Spring 1964), p. 47.
    [6] According to information provided by Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, October 2009, the jades with which the bronze was auctioned in July 1963 were purchased by Dr. Arthur M. Sackler from J. T. Tai in 1965, see provenance records for S1987.935.1-15.
    The bronze was most probably purchased by Sackler from the same source.
    [7] 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

    Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings (February 25, 2023 to April 28, 2024)
    The Arts of China (November 18, 1990 to September 7, 2014)
    Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades (October 1, 1989 - September 10, 1990)
    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

    Tonying and Company 通運公司 (established 1902)
    Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941)
    Holmes Foundation
    Parke-Bernet Galleries
    J. T. Tai & Co. (established in 1950)
    Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987)
  • Origin

    probably Henan province, China
  • Credit Line

    Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
  • Type

  • On View

    Sackler Gallery 23a: Anyang: China's Ancient City of Kings
  • Restrictions and Rights

    CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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