Yue ware vessel in the shape of a chimera (bixie)

Historical period(s)
Northern Wei dynasty, Period of Division, 5th century
Stoneware with celadon glaze
Yue ware
H x W: 8.9 x 13.3 cm (3 1/2 x 5 1/4 in)
China, Zhejiang province
Credit Line
Gift of Charles Lang Freer
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Ceramic, Vessel


chimera, China, green glaze, Northern Wei dynasty (386 - 534), Period of Division (220 - 589), stoneware, Yue ware

To 1919
You Xiaoxi (late 19th-early 20th century), Shanghai, to 1919 [1]

Charles Lang Freer (1854-1919), purchased from You Xiaoxi, in New York, in 1919 [2]

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


[1] See Original Pottery List, L. 2618, 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)

Charles Lang Freer 1854-1919
You Xiaoxi (C.L. Freer source) late 19th-early 20th century


Molded Yue-ware vessels like this were made in large quantities, but their function is unclear. They may have held a candle, or perhaps scholars dipped their writing brushes in the water-filled interior. In the Jin dynasty (265–420 C.E.), mythical lions, with exaggeratedly curled manes, and winged chimeras were protective images; huge stone examples guarded important tombs.

Published References
  • Oriental Ceramics (Toyo Toji Taikan): The World's Great Collections. 12 vols., Tokyo. pl. 10.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
Rights Statement

Copyright with museum