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Covered Wine Vessel (fang lei) with Design of Zoomorphic Masks and Animal-Headed Handles

Artist Culture
Western Zhou dynasty, 1050–771 BC
late 11th century BC
Made in
Daijiawan, Shaanxi province, China, Asia
Containers, metalwork
Current Location
On View, Gallery 233
24 5/8 × 14 5/8 × 10 3/8 in. (62.5 × 37.1 × 26.4 cm)
weight (vessel and cover): 46 lb. 9.6 oz. (21.1 kg)
weight (vessel only): 39 lb. (17.7 kg)
weight (cover only): 7 lb. 13 oz. (3.5 kg)
Credit Line
Museum Purchase
Public Domain
Object Number
The sharp hooks, spurs, and spikes bristling from the body of this extraordinary sacrificial bronze give a sculptural force to its impressive size and architectonic structure. The vessel is further ornamented with zoomorphic masks (taotie) and low-relief dragons in distinct registers arranged in a highly symmetrical decorative order. The horizontal orientation of the ornamental bands achieves a measured, visual balance that gives the work a stateliness to complement its visually aggressive character. The body of this wine vessel is distinguished by an unusual double taotie on each side. A very rare inscription of a single character may relate to the royal grant of land to a noble.
- 1927
Reportedly excavated at Daijiawan, Baoji, Shaanxi province, China

by 1931 - 1941
C. T. Loo & Co. [C. T. Loo (1880–1957)], Paris, France and New York, NY, USA] [1]

1941 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from C. T. Loo [2]

[1] The earliest known exhibition of this object was at the "Exhibition of Chinese, Indian and Cambodian Art" from the collection of C. T. Loo, held in the premises of the Wildenstein Gallery, 647 Fifth Avenue, New York, November 9–21, 1931. The object was published in the accompanying catalogue, C. T. Loo & Co., Exhibition of Chinese, Indian and Cambodian Art Formed by C. T. Loo (Paris: Hélio & Offset Des Flandres, 1931), p. 8, cat. no. 5 (catalogue entry), and pl. I (halftone illustration). According to a letter from Professor W. Perceval Yetts (1878–1957) dated December 24, 1946, the vessel was exhibited in London in 1939. In October 1940, the vessel was lent by C. T. Loo & Co. to the Detroit Institute of Arts, in an exhibition titled "An Exhibition of Ancient Chinese Ritual Bronzes Loaned by C. T. Loo & Co." It then traveled as part of the exhibition to the Saint Louis Art Museum (then known as the City Art Museum of St. Louis) [SLAM document files].

[3] Invoice from C. T. Loo & Co. dated February 14, 1941 [SLAM document files]. Minutes of the Administrative Board of Control of the City Art Museum, January 9, 1941.
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