Historical period(s)
Southern Song to Ming dynasty, 13th-16th centuries
H x W x D: 4.8 x 12 x 7 cm (1 7/8 x 4 3/4 x 2 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Jade, Vessel


China, Ming dynasty (1368 - 1644), Song dynasty (960 - 1279), WWII-era provenance

From at least 1954 to 1968
Desmond Gure (1905-1970), London, from at least 1954 [1]

From 1968 to 1987
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler (1913-1987), New York, purchased from Desmond Gure on January 10, 1968 [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, gift of Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [3]


[1] Gure lent the object to an exhibition organized by Jean-Pierre Dubosc in Venice in 1954, see Mostra d’arte Cinese: catalogo / Exhibition of Chinese Art: Catalogue (Venice: Alfieri Editore, 1954), cat. 224 (ill.), listed as “Coll. Mr. and Mrs. Desmond Gure, London.” See also typed, undated inventory of Desmond Gure’s collection, “List 1 – Objects Not Exhibited at Stockholm 1963,” no. 64: “A jade two handled cup, green with brown striations, formed as eight well defined lobes, the foot similarly formed, the top of the handles engraved with tiger masks – 4 ¾ in wide – T’ang / Sung Dynasty – Fitted Box,” copy in object file.

[2] According to information provided by Arthur M. Sackler Foundation in October 2009, Arthur M. Sackler purchased the jade as part of Desmond Gure’s jade collection on January 10, 1968. See “Arthur M. Sackler Gift: Chinese Jades: Summary,” where the object is listed under Sackler Collection no. J-1322 and identified as S1987.27.

[3] Pursuant to the agreement between Arthur M. Sackler and the Smithsonian Institution, dated July 28, 1982, legal title of the donated objects was transferred to the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery on September 11, 1987.

Previous Owner(s)

Desmond Gure 1905-1970
Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987


The almost timeless style of this cup makes it difficult to date. The decorative motifs of horned-animal masks, modeled in low relief on the upper sides of the handles, impart an archaistic flavor to the flower-shaped cup. That approach to decoration was prized in both the Song (960-1279) and theMing (1368-1644) dynasties.

Published References
  • Jean-Pierre Dubosc. Mostra d'arte Cinese: Catalogo. Exh. cat. Venice. cat. 224.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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