Vase shaped like an archaic gu

Inscription: Wang Zifan
Historical period(s)
Qing dynasty, Kangxi reign, 1662-1722
H: 30.8 cm (12 1/8 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Freer Gallery 13: Looking Out, Looking In: Art in Late Imperial China
Cloisonne, Vessel


China, flower, Kangxi reign (1662 - 1722), Qing dynasty (1644 - 1911)

To 1911
Riu Cheng Chai, to 1911 [1]

From 1911 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Riu Cheng Chai, in 1911 [2]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [3]


[1] See Summary, Price of Art Objects, Second Chinese Shipment, 1911, pg. 3, No. X57, Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Archives.

[2] See note 1.

[3] 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.

Previous Owner(s)

Riu Cheng Chai (C.L. Freer source)
Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919


During the Qing dynasty (1644-1911), the display of ancient objects as well as contemporary ones made in an archaistic style was considered a sign of learning and refined taste. The shape and decoration of this vase, including the mask-like faces on the base, reproduce aspects of a Bronze Age ritual vessel called a gu.

Published References
  • William Watson. The Art of Dynastic China. New York, 1981. ill. 677.
  • Masterpieces of Chinese and Japanese Art: Freer Gallery of Art handbook. Washington, 1976. p. 28.
  • Cloisonné: Chinese Enamels from the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. New York. p. 48, fig. 3.31.
  • Helmut Brinker Albert Lutz. Chinesisches Cloisonne: Die Sammlung Pierre Uldry. Exh. cat. Zurich, May 11 - November 3, 1985. p. 77.
  • Harry Mason Garner. Chinese and Japanese Cloisonne´ Enamels., 1st ed. Rutland, VT. p. 88, pl. 66.
  • Thomas Lawton. China's Artistic Legacy. vol. 118, no. 258 London, August 1983. p. 135.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Thomas Lawton, Harold P. Stern. The Freer Gallery of Art. 2 vols., Washington and Tokyo, 1971-1972. cat. 111, p. 176.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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.