Food vessel (li ding)

Historical period(s)
Shang dynasty, ca. 11th century BCE
H x W x D: 21.2 x 17.4 x 17.1 cm (8 3/8 x 6 7/8 x 6 3/4 in)
Credit Line
Gift of Arthur M. Sackler
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
On View Location
Currently not on view
Metalwork, Vessel

Ritual vessel: li ding

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

By 1940 to 1948
C. T. Loo & Company, New York, NY [1]

1948 to 1953
C. T. Loo, INC., New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company, NY [2]

1953 to 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York, NY by transfer from C. T. Loo, INC., NY [3]

1961 to 1964
Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY from C. T. Loo Chinese Art, NY mode of acquisition unknown [4]

1964 to 1987
Arthur M. Sackler, New York, NY purchased from Frank Caro Chinese Art, New York, NY on August 26, 1964 [2]

From 1987
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift from Arthur M. Sackler on September 11, 1987 [3]


[1] See An Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Ritual Bronzes, Loaned by C. T. Loo & Co. The Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, MI (October 18 to November 10, 1940), no. 15.

[2] In 1948, when C. T. Loo & Company lost direct access to trade in China, C. T. Loo formed the company C. T. Loo, INC. In 1950, C. T. Loo announced his retirement. Loo appointed his daughter, Janie Emanuel Loo as the head of the Paris branch of C. T. Loo & Company (C. T. Loo & Cie) and his associate, Frank Caro, as the head of the New York Branch, which operated as C. T. Loo Chinese Art. C. T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953. When Caro assumed leadership, he re-inventoried stock and assigned new numbers, many of which began with an “E.” This object, “E-5077” was part of that inventory process.

[3] See note 2.

[4] In 1961, Loo and Caro’s agreement ended. C. T. Loo & Cie., Paris, France took control of C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York stock, which C. T. Loo added to the inventory before his death in 1957. Frank Caro then operated as Frank Caro Chinese Art.

[5] See invoice from Frank Caro Chinese Art to Dr. Arthur M. Sackler, August 26, 1964, copy in the object file. Frank Caro Chinese Art inventoried this object as E-5077 and described it as a “Bronze ritual vessel TING with large t’ao t’ieh masks on meander ground. Shang. (Detroit Cat. #15).”

[6] 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)

Dr. Arthur M. Sackler 1913-1987
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953 - 1961
Frank Caro Chinese Art 1962-1980

Published References
  • Detroit Institute of Arts. An Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Ritual Bronzes. Exh. cat. New York. no. 15.
  • 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. 94, pp. 490-494.
Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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