Reliquary in the form of a miniature sarcophagus

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty, 8th century
Medium
Bronze with gilding
Dimensions
H x W x D: 36.7 x 17 x 33.5 cm (14 7/16 x 6 11/16 x 13 3/16 in)
Geography
China, purportedly from Henan province
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1915.106a-f
On View Location
Freer Gallery 17: Promise of Paradise: Ancient Chinese Buddhist Sculpture
Classification(s)
Metalwork
Type

Buddhist sculpture

Keywords
Buddhism, China, funerary, gilding, 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. 674. 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 contribution 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. 674, 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
  • Kalidas Nag. Art and Archaeology Abroad: A Report Intended Primarily for Indian Students Desiring to Specialize in those Subjects in the Research Centres of Europe and America. Calcutta. pl. 7, fig. 13.
  • Hakutsura Bijutsukan. Old Chinese Art. Osaka. pl. 53.
  • Hugo Munsterberg. Chinese Buddhist Bronzes., 1st ed. Tokyo and Rutland, Vermont. pl. 128.
  • Capolavori nei secoli: Enciclopedia di tutte i popoli in tutti i tempi. 12 vols., Milan, 1961 - 1964. vol. 3: p. 43.
  • Mary Augusta Nourse. The Four Hundred Million: A Short Story of the Chinese., 1st ed. Indianapolis and New York. opp. p. 106.
  • Sadajiro Yamanaka. To-so seikwa [Selected Relics of T'ang and Sung Dynasties from Collections in Europe and America]. Osaka, 1928-1929. vol. 1, pls. 54-55.
  • Osvald Siren. Chinese Sculpture from the Fifth to the Fourteenth Century: Over 900 Specimens in Stone, Bronze, Lacquer and Wood, Principally from Northern China. 4 vols., London. vol. 3: pl. 420.
  • Sigisbert Chrétien Bosch Reitz. Catalogue of an Exhibition of Early Chinese Pottery and Sculpture. Exh. cat. New York. pl. 342.
  • Mario Bussagli. Chinese Bronzes. London and New York. p. 150, pl. 70.
  • Dorota Chudzicka. In Love at First Sight Completely, Hopelessly, and Forever with Chinese Art: The Eugene and Agnes Meyer Collection of Chinese Art at the Freer Gallery of Art. vol. 10, no. 3, Summer 2004. pp. 334-335.
  • Langdon Warner. The Freer Gift of Eastern Art to America. vol. 23, no. 8 New York, August. p. 590.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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