Door handle in the form of a dragon mask and a ring

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 618-907
Medium
Bronze with gilding
Dimensions
H x W: 35.1 x 21.8 cm (13 13/16 x 8 9/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1915.105
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Architectural Element, Metalwork
Type

Door handle

Keywords
casting, China, dragon, gilding, mask, Tang dynasty (618 - 907)
Provenance

To 1915
Marcel Bing (1875-1920), Paris, France [1]

1915
Eugene Meyer (1875-1959) and Agnes E. Meyer (1887-1970), Washington, DC and Mt. Kisco, NY purchased on behalf of Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919) from Marcel Bing through C. T. Loo of Lai Yuan &Co., New York in early December 1915 [2]

1915 to 1919
Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from Eugene Meyer on December 14, 1915 [3]

From 1920
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of Charles Lang Freer in 1920 [4]

Notes:

[1] Bing’s ownership is documented in several locations. See, for example: November 11, 1915 letter from Marcel Bing to Charles Lang Freer; letters from December 10 and 15 from Eugene Meyer to Charles Lang Freer; telegrams exchanged between Marcel Bing, Charles Lang Freer, and Eugene Meyer dating from November 15 to December 5, 1915; February 2, 1916 letter from Charles Lang Freer to Marcel Bing; and Freer Gallery of Art Original Bronze List S.I. 673. Copies of aforementioned documents in object file.

[2] Eugene Meyer, Agnes E. Meyer, and Charles Lang Freer negotiated with Marcel Bing to arrange a joint purchase of Bing’s collection of 11 Chinese bronzes and 1 jade. See correspondence cited in note 1. The Meyers and Freer decided to divide the collection - Meyers acquiring 5 bronzes and Freer acquiring 6 bronzes in addition to the jade – and the price, calculating each party’s payment was based on the appraisal values assigned to each piece. The Meyers ultimately sent the entire payment to C. T. Loo, Lai Yuan & Company (sometimes spelled Lai-Yuan), who in turn wired money to Bing. Meyers made the payment in early December 1915, with Freer paying the Meyers for the objects destined for his collection on December 14, 1915. See also: Freer Gallery of Art, Original Bronze List, S. I. 670; invoices from Lai Yuan & Company addressed to Mr. & Mrs. Eugene Meyer and Mr. Charles L. Freer; and Dorota Chudzicka, “’In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinse Art’: The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Collection of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art” in Collections Vol. 10, No. 3 (Summer 2014), p. 334-335, copies in object file. All the objects included in this large sale, which were originally divided between the Meyers and Freer, are now in the museum’s collection ( F1915.102; F1915.03a-b; F1915.104; F1915.105; F1915.106a-f; F1915.107; F1915.108; F1961.30a-b; F1961.32a-b; F1968.28; F1968.29).

[3] See Original Bronze List, S.I. 673, copy in object file. See also note 2.

[4] 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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer (1875-1959) and (1887-1970)
Marcel Bing 1875-1920
C.T. Loo 1880-1957
Lai-Yuan & Company (C.L. Freer source) ca. 1915-April 1921

Published References
  • Alfred Salmony. Le mascaron et l'anneau sur les pendentifs et les appliques dans l'art chinois. vol. 8, no. 3 Paris. pl. 59.
  • Sigisbert Chrétien Bosch Reitz. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 343.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
SI Usage Statement

Usage Conditions Apply

There are restrictions for re-using this image. 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 Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery welcome information that would augment or clarify the ownership history of objects in their collections.