Gilt bronze plaque with animals in a landscape

Historical period(s)
Early Western Han dynasty, ca. 2nd century BCE
Medium
Gilt bronze inlaid with jade, turquoise, carnelian, and silver
Dimensions
H x Diam: 2.8 x 9.5 cm (1 1/8 x 3 3/4 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment
Collection
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
F1950.10
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Jewelry and Ornament, Metalwork
Type

Plaque

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

To 1948
Jun Tsei Tai (1911-1992), Shanghai, to February 1948 [1]

From 1948 to 1950
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, purchased from Jun Tsei Tai in February 1948 [2]

From 1950
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from C. T. Loo & Company on June 28, 1950 [3]

Notes:

[1] See C. T. Loo's stockcard no. 46032: "Bronze cover, gilded and inlaid with jade and semi precious stones, four mountain-like waves with animals, finely molded and covered with a heavy gild, in the center a flat round jade knob Late Chou," copy in object file. According to an annotation on the stockcard, Loo purchased the object from J. T. Tai in China.

Jun Tsei Tai (more commonly known in the West as J. T. Tai), known also as Dai Fubao in Shanghai, was a successful art dealer who was initially based in Shanghai China. Tai became one of C. T. Loo's most prolific suppliers in the 1940s. In 1949, however, J. T. Tai fled with his family to Hong Kong, when Communist leaders came into power. In 1950, he immigrated to New York City, where he established J. T. Tai & Company, a successful company that specialized in the sale of Chinese arts.

[2] See C. T. Loo's stockcard cited in note 1. On June 9, 1950, the object was taken by Loo to the Freer Gallery for examination.

[3] See C. T. Loo's invoice, dated June 28, 1950, copy in object file.

Previous Owner(s)

Jun Tsei Tai 1911-1992
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948

Label

The combination of thick gilding and colorful semi-precious stone inlays is characteristic of Han decoration. The subject matter--animals among mountain peaks--alludes to the ideal landscape of the immortals, where man and beast roam free and in harmony with nature. The function of this ornament is unclear, but it may have served as a decorative inset in a much larger piece of furnishing.

Published References
  • Sherman Lee. The Golden Image of the New-Born Buddha. vol. 18, nos.3-4 Washington and Zurich. p. 236.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
CC0 - Creative Commons (CC0 1.0)

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