Garment hook (daigou) with dragons and taotie

Historical period(s)
Western Han dynasty, 206 BCE-8 CE
Medium
Gilt bronze with jade
Dimensions
H x W: 19.9 x 2.1 cm (7 13/16 x 13/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1946.8a-b
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork
Type

Garment hook

Keywords
casting, China, dragon, gilding, inlay, mask, taotie, Western Han dynasty (206 BCE - 9 CE), WWII-era provenance
Provenance

From at least 1933
Mrs. Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941), New York and "The Chimneys," Sands Point, Port Washington, Long Island, from at least 1933. [1]

From at least 1944 to 1946
Tonying and Company, New York from at least February 4, 1944. [2]

From 1946
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Tonying and Company, New York on February 18, 1946. [3]

Notes:

[1] See Umehara Sueji, Shina-kodo Seikwa (Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America): Part III Miscellaneous Objects vol. 1 (Osaka: Yamanaka & Co., 1933), pl. 69. Mrs. Holmes lent the object to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art at Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London in 1935-36, see Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, exh. cat. (London: Royal Academy of Arts, November 1935-March 7, 1936), cat. 571 (ill.).

[2] The bronze is included on “List of Objects Contemplated for Purchase by the Freer Gallery of Art,” approved by C. G. Abbot, the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution on February 4, 1944, copy in object file.

[3] See Tonying & Company’s invoice, dated February 18, 1946, in which the bronze figures under no. B 59: “Gilt Bronze Buckle, inlaid with green jade, dragon decoration on both sides / Han,” copy in object file. See also A. G. Wenley’s letter to C. F. Yau, Tonying & Co., New York, dated February 15, 1946, copy in object file, in which Wenley confirms the acquisition of the bronze for the Freer Gallery’s collection.

Previous Owner(s)

Tonying and Company
Mrs. Christian R. Holmes 1871-1941

Published References
  • Sekai bijutsu zenshu [A Complete Collection of World Art]. 40 vols., Tokyo, F1951-1953. cat. 99-100, vol. 2.
  • Alfred Salmony. Chinese Jade Through the Wei Dynasty. New York, 1963. cat. 4, pl. 17.
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.

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.