Lidded ritual wine ewer (guang) with dragons, elephants, rabbits, birds, and fish

Historical period(s)
Late Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. 1200-1100 BCE
H x W x D (overall): 16.7 x 19.5 x 9.6 cm (6 9/16 x 7 11/16 x 3 3/4 in)
China, Henan province, Anyang
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: guang

Anyang period (ca. 1300 - ca. 1050 BCE), bird, casting, China, dragon, elephant, fish, rabbit, wine, WWII-era provenance
Provenance research underway.

The swelling body of this guang draws attention to the vessel’s shape and orderly design. Dragons fill spaces on the spout and lid, while fish, elephants, rabbits, and birds enliven the foot and neck. The handle might have been separately cast and attached with solder.

Published References
  • Daniel Shapiro. Ancient Chinese Bronzes: A Personal Appreciation. .
  • Sueji Umehara. Yin hsu: Ancient Capital of the Shang Dynasty at An-yang. Tokyo. pl. 112 (1).
  • Helen Gardner, Horst de la Croix, Richard G. Tansey. Gardner's Art Through the Ages. 2 vols., , 7th edition. New York. vol. 1: fig. 12.1.
  • Eleanor von Erdberg Consten. Kunst und Religion in Indien, China, und Japan. Geisteswissenschaften Heft 120 Cologne. pl. 12.
  • Capolavori nei secoli: Enciclopedia di tutte i popoli in tutti i tempi. 12 vols., Milan, 1961 - 1964. vol. 3: p. 12, fig. c.
  • Chen Mengjia. Yin Zhou qing tong qi fen lei tu lu [Yin-Chou ch'ing t'ung ch'i fen lei t'u lu]. 2 vols., Dongjing. vol. 2: A 659.
  • Compiled by the staff of the Freer Gallery of Art. A Descriptive and Illustrative Catalogue of Chinese Bronzes: Acquired During the Administration of John Ellerton Lodge. Oriental Studies Series, no. 3 Washington, 1946. pp. 6-7, 27, pl. 7-8.
  • Rene Grousset. Chinese Art and Culture. New York. p. 16.
  • Rene Grousset. La Chine et son Art. Collection Ars et historia Paris. p. 16.
  • Dagny Carter. Four Thousand Years of China's Art. New York. p. 29, a.
  • Smithsonian Institution. Report of the Secretary, 1940. Washington. p. 43, pl. 2.
  • Mario Bussagli. Chinese Bronzes. London and New York. p. 45, pl. 18.
  • Daisy Lion-Goldschmidt, Jean-Claude Moreau-Gobard. Chinese Art: Bronze, Jade, Sculpture, Ceramics. The Universe Library of Antique Art 4 vols., , 1st edition. London and New York. p. 63, pl. 22.
  • Dr. John Alexander Pope, Rutherford John Gettens, James Cahill, Noel Barnard. The Freer Chinese Bronzes. Oriental Studies Series, vol. 1, no. 7 Washington. cat. 42, p. 239.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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