Wine cup (erbei) with an animal and stylized clouds

Historical period(s)
Warring States period, Eastern Zhou dynasty to Qin dynasty, 3rd century BCE
Medium
Black and red lacquer on wood core
Dimensions
H x W x D (overall): 4.7 x 17.1 x 12.9 cm (1 7/8 x 6 3/4 x 5 1/16 in)
Geography
China
Credit Line
The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; a joint gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler
Collection
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery
Accession Number
S2012.9.1587
On View Location
Currently not on view
Classification(s)
Lacquer
Type

Vessel

Keywords
China, Eastern Zhou dynasty (770 - 221 BCE), Paul Singer collection, Qin dynasty (221 - 206 BCE)
Provenance

1935 to 1937
Likely unearthed in Changsha, Honan Province, China [1]

1941 to 1948
C. T. Loo & Company, New York acquired from an unknown source in April 1941 [2]

1948 to 1953
C. T. Loo, INC., New York by transfer from C. T. Loo & Company, New York [3]

1953 to 1954 or 1961
C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York by transfer from C. T. Loo, INC. no later than summer of 1953 [4]

1954 or 1961 to 1997
Dr. Paul Singer, Summit, NJ purchased from C. T. Loo Chinese Art, New York on either February 7, 1961 or July 6, 1954 in New York City [5]

1997 to 1999
In the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997 [6]

From 1999
Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, gift of the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Paul Singer, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities, and the Children of Arthur M. Sackler [7]

Notes:

[1] According to John Hadley Cox, excavations at Changsha began during the construction of the Changsha Municipal Center, the majority of which occurred during his residency in Changsha from 1935 to 1937. See: An Exhibition of Chinese Antiquities from Ch’ang-Sha, lent by John Hadley Cox, Gallery of Fine Arts, Yale University, New Haven, CT (March 26 – May 7, 1939). See also: invoice from C. T. Loo & Company to Dr. Paul Singer, July 6, 1954, copy in object file, Collections Management Office.

[2] See C. T. Loo & Company / C. T. Loo Chinese Art stock card D6430 (the C. T. Loo & Company stock number has been crossed out and reads H 14), copy in object file. H 14 is described: “Lacquer cup, CHIN 6 ¾ ins; Ovoid cup coated with a brownish lacquer and decorated with abstract and a leaping animal in red pigment – late Chou period.” The card notes that it the company acquired it in April 1941 and sold it to Paul Singer without a date. The previous stock card, for D 6429, however, notes that Paul Singer purchased D6430 February 1961. Copies of both stock cards in object file.

In 1952, after C. T. Loo announced his retirement and liquidation of his company C. T. Loo & Company, New York, Frank Caro began operating C. T. Loo & Company. In the 1960s, he changed the business name to Frank Caro Chinese Art.

[3] C. T. Loo formed C. T. Loo, INC. in 1948 when C. T. Loo & Company could no longer access trade in China. On September 1, 1952, C. T. Loo’s associate, Frank Caro (1904-1980) took over daily operations of the New York business. C. T. Loo, INC. was dissolved by the summer of 1953 and Caro operated as C. T. Loo Chinese Art. Loo continued to play a large role in the business, as he and Caro struck a deal in which profits made on Loo’s stock would be evenly divided and Loo would maintain the lease and rental payments on the company’s gallery space.

[4] See notes 3 and 5.

[5] The date of purchase is unclear. There are three possibilities: Singer acquired it on July 6, 1954 (see invoice referenced in note 1); he purchased it on February 7, 1961 (see stock card D 6429 referenced in note 2); or, he purchased it in 1954, sold it back to C. T. Loo Chinese Art for inclusion in the Wadsworth Atheneum exhibition, “4000 Years of Chinese Art” (October 17 – November 30, 1958; cat. 134) and then repurchased it in 1961.

The collection of Chinese art and antiquities assembled by Paul Singer was purchased by him on behalf of Arthur M. Sackler, Jillian Sackler, the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, the AMS Foundation for the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities and later was transferred to the children of Arthur M. Sackler.

[6] The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art came into the custody of the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, upon Paul Singer’s death in January 1997 and a loan agreement between the Executors of the Singer Estate and the Gallery in February 1997.

[7] See “The Dr. Paul Singer Collection of Chinese Art Gift Agreement,” March 1999, Collections Management Office. This object was formally accessioned into the museum collection in 2012.

Previous Owner(s)

Dr. Paul Singer 1904-1997
C.T. Loo & Company 1914-1948
C.T. Loo, INC. ca. 1948-no later than July 1953
C.T. Loo Chinese Art 1953 - 1961

Collection Area(s)
Chinese Art
Web Resources
Google Cultural Institute
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