Drum of Lingshan type

Historical period(s)
Tang dynasty or earlier, 6th-early 8th century
H x W x D: 71 x 120 x 120 cm (27 15/16 x 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in)
China, Guangxi province
Credit Line
Gift of the Chow Foundation in memory of Virgina and Edward Chow
Freer Gallery of Art
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Musical Instrument


casting, China, frog, Period of Division (220 - 589), WWII-era provenance

From at least 1964 to 1992
Virginia (d. 1992) and Edward Chow (1910-80), Geneva, Switzerland. [1]

From 1992 to 1994
Estate of Virginia Chow. [2]

Sotheby's, London sale on June 7, 1994, lot no. 12. [3]

The Virginia and Edward Chow Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland, purchased at auction of Virginia Chow Estate, Sotheby’s, London, June 7, 1994, lot no. 12. [4]

From 1994
Freer Gallery of Art, gift of The Virginia and Edward Chow Foundation, Geneva, Switzerland. [5]


[1] Curatorial Remark 4 in the object record. Also see letter from David D. Chow dated, October 22, 1994, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] Curatorial Remark 4 in the object record. Also see memorandum dated May 12, 1994 and April 4, 1994, copies in object file, Collections Management Office. According to Thomas Lawton’s statement in the memorandum dated April 4, 1994, Virginia Chow inherited the collection after Edward Chow’s death. Virginia Chow passed away in 1992, and her estate was settled in 1994.

[3] See note 2.

[4] See note 2.

[5] See note 2. Also see Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920 file, Collections Management Office.

Previous Owner(s)

The Virginia and Edward Chow Foundation
Sotheby's (London)
Estate of Virginia Chow
Edward T. Chow 1910-1980


This massive bronze drum is typical of ritual drums used by mountain tribes in the Guangxi Zhuangzu Autonomous Region—an area bounded on the west by Yunnan Province and in the southwest by northern Vietnam. Its silhouette, fine surface decoration, including a sun on the top and repeated narrow rows of abstracted birds on the sides, and the raised figures of frogs on the top are all associated with ancient drums found in this area.

Published References
  • Thomas Lawton, Thomas W. Lentz. Beyond the Legacy: Anniversary Acquisitions for the Freer Gallery of Art and the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery. vol. 1 Washington, 1998. pp. 222-223.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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