Bell (bo) with taotie masks and birds

Historical period(s)
Shang dynasty, ca. 1300-1100 BCE
H x W x D: 31.4 × 26.2 × 15.2 cm (12 3/8 × 10 5/16 × 6 in)
China, Yangzi River valley
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Musical Instrument


China, Shang dynasty (ca. 1600 - ca. 1050 BCE)
Provenance research underway.

The birds and taotie, or monster masks, on this bell suggest that the bronze may have been cast in southern China in the environs of Hunan Province during the latter part of the Shang dynasty. The simplified modeling of the taiotie on either side of the bell is unlike the versions designed in northern China.

Published References
  • Dawn Ho Delbanco. Art from Ritual: Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Exh. cat. Washington. cat. 30, pp. 84-85.
  • Virginia Kane. The Independent Bronze Industries in the South of China Contemporary with Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties. vol. 28 New York and Honolulu, 1974/1975. pp. 85-86, fig. 18.
  • 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. p. 95.
  • et al. Asian Art in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery: The Inaugural Gift. Washington, 1987. cat. 115, pp. 174-175.
  • 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. cat. 104, pp. 538-551.
  • Jessica Rawson. Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections. Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. 2 Washington and Cambridge, Massachusetts. p. 755, fig. 129.3.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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