Wine vessel (fangyi) with lid

Historical period(s)
Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1250 BCE
H x W x D: 23 x 10.4 x 13 cm (9 1/16 x 4 1/8 x 5 1/8 in)
China, Henan province
Credit Line
Purchase — funds provided by Mr. T. T. Tsui, Hong Kong and the Smithsonian Collections Acquisition Program
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: fangyi

China, dragon, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE), wine, WWII-era provenance

From at least 1942 to ?
Huang Jun, Beijing. [1]

From ? to 1952
Robert Somerville, Chicago, Illinois. [2]

From 1952 to ?
James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf, Chicago, Illinois, purchased from Robert Somerville, Chicago, Illinois. [3]

From ? to 1991
Eskenazi Ltd, London, England. [4]

From 1991
Freer Gallery of Art, purchased from Eskenazi Ltd, London, England. [5]


[1] According to document dated August 28, 1990, the bronze was published by Huang Jun in “Yehzhong pianyu,” 1942, vol. 3, plate 22. Huang was a connoisseur and collector in Beijing, and this volume reportedly illustrated bronzed that came from the Anyang excavations possibly in the 1930s. See memorandum dated Aug. 28, 1990, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] According to Eskenazi, Ltd, Jim Alsdorf acquired the object from Robert Somerville in April 9, 1952. See invoice from Eskenazi dated, Feb 21, 1991, copy in object file, Collections Management Office. See also receipt of payment from Robert Somerville to J.W. Alsdorf dated April 9, 1952, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[3] See note 2.

[4] Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

[5] See note 4.

Previous Owner(s)

Robert Somerville
Huang Jun 1888-1944
Eskenazi Ltd. Founded 1923
Marilynn Alsdorf born 1926

Published References
  • Marilynn Alsdorf, J.V. Sewell. Chinese Art from the Collection of James W. and Marilyn Alsdorf. Chicago. pl. B1.
  • Huang Jun. Yezhong pianyu. vol. 3, Beijing. p. 22.
  • Max Loehr. Bronze Styles of the Anyang Period. vol. VII. p. 47, fig. 12.
  • Robert W. Bagley. Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections: Volume 1 of Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. vol. 1, Washington and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987. p. 434, fig. 77.13.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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