1. (Undated folder sheet note) Bought from Tonying and Company, New York. For price, see <u>Freer Gallery of Art Purchase List after 1920<e>.
2. (J.E.L., 1930) The uppermost element of one of the corner flanges on the vessel is broken off and missing, and 3 or 4 elements of the flanges on the knob surmounting the cover are similarly missing. These small fractures are obviously ancient and detract little if any from the surprisingly fine condition of the object as a whole.
The malachite patina on the outside is generally smooth, ---even glossy in spots. To a considerable extent, however, it has been replaced by cuprite, which has a rougher surface. There are a few small patches, also, of uncorroded metal. The patination on the bottom is moderately rough, and shows small areas of azurite. Inside, the patina is less smooth and less continuous than outside. The surface of the bottom is largely uncorroded, and show one of the inscriptions to great advantage. Above this, the patination is of malachite and cuprite, while the cover is lined, for the most part, with azurite from which a partial coating malachite would seem to have been removed in order, perhaps, to reveal the underlying inscription more clearly. Apparently the formation of the azurite, malachite and cuprite occurred in that sequence.
The type [chn] <u>fang i<e>, though not particularly common, is well known; but in size, outline and technical perfection this example is distinctly unusual. The architectural character of the form is due, chiefly, to the shape of the cover with its cupola - like knob. The so-called [chn] <u>t'ao-t'ieh<e> masks are executed in 4, --- possibly 5, --- planes of relief, and it should be observed that the masks on the cover and knob are upside down in relation to those on the vessel. The two-bodied dragon which appears just below the lip is rather uncommon, although the collection contains two other examples (see 09.260 and 09.261) on bronzes which I believe to be much later and of inferior quality. On each of the four sides, the foot or base flange i perforated in the middle by two square holes, -- one above the other, -- and on the bottom of the vessel, each in a fixed relationship to each pair of holes, are 4 sockets, indicating, possibly, that this <u>i<e> was originally provided with a separate bronze base.
3. (A.G.W., 1944) In addition to the above description Mr. Lodge had made a lengthy tentative discussion and translation of the inscription, but did not have the opportunity of revising and completing it in the light of more recent studies and discoveries.
The inscription is inside, as usual, in the cover and bottom. The characters are vigorously written and admirably preserved. Those in the cover, numbering 187, are written in 14 vertical lines; those in the bottom, numbering 188, are written in 14 vertical lines and one horizontal line of 3 characters only.
The same inscription also appears upon a <u>tsun<e> said to have been discovered with this vessel and our huo [chn], (see 33.2) at Loyang, Honan.
Studies of this inscription have been published by such eminent Chinese scholars as Lo Chen-yu, Wu Ch'i-ch'ang, Jung Keng, Kuo Mo-jo, Yu Sheng-wu, T'ang Lan, Ma Hsu-lun, and Wu K'ai-shen. (See bibliography below). All these studies, with the exception of two of a later date by Jung Keng, Have been cited by Bernhard Karlgren in his excellent work on Yin and Chou Bronzes.
While the general sense of the inscription is clear, there are certain characters in it which either have not been deciphered, or for which no modern counterpart seems to exist. Therefore, in the following transcription such characters are represented by a letter.
[A copy of inscription]
In the above inscription there is disagreement over the significance of the character A[chn]. Wu Ch'i-ch'ang et. al. agree, declaring it to be a name and giving its component parts their modern form which produces a non-existant modern character [chn]. The basis for considering this character to be a name is its appearance as a name in other bronze inscriptions. (See 33.2). Kuo Mo-jo, on the other hand, insists that the character in question is a verb, writing it [chn], and identifying it in meaning with<u>ch'u<e> [chn], and <u>ch'ien<e> [chn], while Jung Keng, in a recent work now considers it to be a verb rather than a name as he had previously.
Character B [ ] is generally agreed to be a conjunction, and is composed in modern quise thus [chn].
Character C [ ] is read as <u>t'ai<e> [chn] by Lo Chen-yu, Jung Keng, and Wu Ch'i-ch'ang. Kuo Mo-jo reads it <u>k'ang<e> [chn]. It may thus be either a name or part of a title.
Character D [ ] represents some sort of rite and has been modernized thus [chn].
Character E [ ] is unidentified.
Character F [ ] is modernized as [chn] and identified in meaning with <u>hsiu<e> [chn].
Character G [ ] is the name of the recorder and has not been surely identified, but suggestions such as [chn] and [chn] have been made. The only difference in text between the inscriptions as they appear on the <u>tsun<e>, and in the cover and bottom of the <u>fang i<e> is in the horizontal line of the bottom inscription of the latter which, while corresponding with the last line of the cover inscription, repeats the character <u>ts'e<e> [chn]; perhaps with a view to symmetry.
The character <u>ling<e> [chn] appears ten times in the inscription. In at least eight of these it is used with the meaning <u>ming<e> which is common practice. In the other two it is surely used to refer to the annalist Nieh Ling, and could also be that in one other case. The following translation with the above uncertainties in mind is divided into numbered sections giving variant translations:
(1) "Now in the 8th moon, on the day <u>chia shen<e>, the King commanded Ming Pao, son of the Duke of Chou, to take charge of the Three Ministries and the Four Directions [i.e., departments having to do with internal and external affairs], and to receive the Chief Ministers."
(2) "On the day <u>ting hai<e>, he commanded Nieh [the same of an annalist] to report in the Palace of the Dukes of Chou."
or : "....the Palace of the Duke of Chou."
(3) "The Duke [i.e., Ming Pao] commanded A to assemble the Chief Ministers."
or: "The Duke [i.e., the Duke of Chou] commended him [i.e., Ming Pao] to go and assemble..."
(4) "Now in the 10th moon, in the first quarter, on the day <u>kuei wei<e>, Duke Ming went to audience at Ch'eng Chou."
(5) "A and [Nieh] Ling gave out the commands of the Three Ministries concerning the Chief Ministers, all the Directors, the Prefects, and all the officers."
or: "He sent orders to give out the commands..."
or: "He [i.e., Duke Ming] sent [Nieh] Ling to give out the commands..."
(6) "And concerning the hereditary nobility, the Marquises, Lords, and Barons, to give out the commands of the Four Directions."
or: "...they gave out..."
"All commands having been carried out, on the day <u>chia shen<e>, Duke Ming sacrificed a victim in the Ching Palace, and, on the day <u>i yu<e>, sacrificed a victim in the K'ang Palace. All this accomplished, he sacrificed a victim to the King. Then Duke Ming returned from the King."
(7) "Duke Ming bestowed sacrificial wine, metal, and a small ox on C Shih, saying: 'Perform D' [a rite of some sort; he bestowed sacrificial wine, metal, and a small ox on [Nieh] Ling, saying: 'Perform D' [the same rite]. Then he gave orders saying: 'Now I command you two men C [Shih] and Nieh [Ling E to be on the left and on the right, to be colleagues, and also to serve with loyalty.
(8) "The Annalist [Nieh] Ling presumes to extol the beneficence of his chief Duke Ming by using [material presented by the Duke] to make for Father Ting a precious sacral vessel which he ventures to beg Duke Ming to offer to Father Ting for the glory of Father Ting. Recorded by G".
In the above translation the two renderings of paragraph (2) merely involve the question of translating the phrase [chn] which might be taken either as <u>chou kung-kung<e>, "Palace of the Dukes of Chou," or as <u>chou-kung kung<e>, "Palace of the Duke of Chou." In the latter case it might refer to a particular duke of the line such as Tan [chn] the Duke of Chou who handled the government during the minority of Ch'eng Wang [chn]. The former translation, however, which has the more general meaning of ducal palace is perhaps best as being suitable under any circumstance. There is also the question of the rendering of the character <u>kung<e> [chn] in its usual meaning "palace." The character occurs twice more in paragraph (6) in the names <u>K'ang kung<e> [chn] and <u>ching kung<e> [chn]. In at least these two letter cases the context refers to the performance of certain rites in these places, and so some Chinese authorities tend to interpret the character as <u>miao<e> [chn], "shrine." While this may be true it seems more likely that the reference is to palaces or their precincts, within which were situated ancestral temples or shrines.
Jung Keng brings this out in a discussion of another bronze inscription. (See <u>Shan chai i ch'i t'u lu<e>, pp. 19b-20b). He lists 18 inscriptions, 13 of which contain the character <u>k'ang<e> [chn]. Among these, aside from those which simply mention the K'ang Kung, as such, are the following:
1. <u>K'ang shao kung<e> [chn]: "The Shao Palace in the Kang [Palace]."
2. <u>K'ang mu kung<e> [chn]: "The Mu Palace in the K'ang [Palace]."
3. <u>K'ang kung ta chih<e> [chn]: "The great room in the K'ang Palace.
4. <u>Wang tsai k'ang kung hsin kung<e> [chn]: "The king was in the New Palace of the K'ang Palace."
5. <u>Wang tsai chou k'ang kung tan wang ko mu ta chih<e> [chn]: "When the king was in the Chou K'ang Kung at dawn he visited the Great Room of [King] Mu."
6. <u>K'ang ch'in<e> [chn]: "The shrine of K'ang."
7. <u>K'ang miao<e> [chn]: "The shrine of K'ang."
From these, it seems that the K'ang Kung was a large palace compound in which, or in the precincts of which were located the ancestral shrines to former sovereigns. It is important here to mention the inscription in the <u>kuei<e> owned by Major General Sir Neill Malcom which mentions Marquis K'ang, a brother of Wu Wang [chn], the first king of the Chou dynasty, to whom an ancestral shrine might well have been built. This vessel is ascribed to the reign of Ch'eng Wang by W. P. Yetts, and to that of Wu Wang by Jung Keng (<u>An early Chinese bronze<e>. In <u>The Burlington magazine<e>, April 1937, 168-77, 1 pl.; and <u>Shang chou i ch'i t'ung k'ao<e> [chn]. The bronzes of Shang Chou, vol. 1, p. 41). Interestingly enough, a person of this name is mentioned on a weapon, No. 34.6, discussed in <u>Oriental Studies No. 3<e>, page 116.
Paragraphs (3) and (5) pose this question of the interpretation of Character A mentioned above. Also in paragraph (5) is the question of whether or not the character <u>ling<e> [chn] refers to Nieh Ling or the <u>mubg<e> [chn] character. The exact interpretation of this paragraph cannot be known until we are sure of the significance of Character a [ ], but as we have said before, it seems rather likely that this is a name.
For many years past there has been a lively controversy in regard to the dating of this vessel and others such as our <u>huo<e>, (see 33.2) which was discovered with it at Loyang in 1929. Two schools of thought dated these vessels respectively in the reigns of Ch'eng Wang and Chao Wang [chn]. The chief protagonist of the latter dating was Wu Ch'-ch'ang. He took the <u>San t'ung li<e> [chn] calendar and computed it backwards to the time of Wu Wang [chn], taking into careful account all items such as intercalary days, etc., which might affect it. It is of extreme interest to note that the results of his overall calculations as to years connect exactly with those of Tung Tso-pin in his discussion of Shang dynasty dates. (See Wu Ch'i-ch'ang, <u>Chin wen li shuo su cheng<e>, ch. A, 16-35; Tung Tso-pin, "The fundamental problems in the study of the chronology of the Yin dynasty," in "Fortieth anniversary papers of the National University of Peking," vol. II, part 1, p. 170). By means of this carefully worked out chronology, Wu Ch'i-ch'ang believed that he could tell exactly which years contained given days expressed on the bronzes in cyclical characters in given quarters of given moons. From this and other data appearing on the bronzes themselves he undertook to date exactly to the year, moon, and day a large series of inscribed bronzes. However, as Karlgren has pointed out, we do not have detailed knowledge of the various chronological systems known to have existed in the Chou dynasty, and we have no means of knowing which system a given scribe might have used in executing the text for a particular bronze. (See B. Karlgren: "Yin and Chou in Chinese bronze," in "Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities," No. 8, pp. 11-12). Another objection to this system is that it seems very unlikely that the rectification of the calendar by means of the calculation of intercalary days, etc., was made with the same accuracy as that displayed by Wu Ch'i-ch'ang. That is to say, in Chou times a given intercalation might perfectly well have been overlooked, and later attached to a different month in which case the <u>San t'ung li<e> system as expressed by cyclical characters might be off as much as sixty days, while the overall effect on the number of years would not necessarily be affected. Be that as it may Wu-Ch'i-ch'ang used this system plus two main points in the <u>fang i<e> inscription to propose an exact dating. The first of these points was the mention of the K'ang Kung, referred to above, which he argued, with great cogency, could refer only to the ancestra shrine to K'ang Wang, and therefore proved that this bronze was made after the time of K'ang Wang. The second point was the mention of the annalist Nieh Ling in a bronze known as the Ling <u>kuei<e>. This inscription mentions an attack on Ch'u [chn] which he thought must refer to the reign of Chao Wang because wars with Ch'u are mentioned in the <u>Chu shu chi nien<e> as occurring in this reign. With these points in mind, he found that the 6th day of the 8th moon of the 10th year of Chao Wang [1043 B.C.] coincided with the month and day given first in our <u>fang i<e>.
The other side of the controversy was headed by Kuo Mo-jo whose most important arguments may be summed up as follows: - To begin with, he calls attention to paragraph (1) of the <u>fang i<e> inscription "The King ordered Ming Pao, son of the Duke of Chou..." The Duke here mentioned, he says, must be Tan [chn], Duke of Chou, who carried on the government during Ch'eng Wang's minority. As an added proof to this, he cites a vessel known as the Ming Kung <u>kuei<e> [chn] bearing an inscription which mentions Duke Ming and, later, the Marquis of Lu [chn] who are taken by him to be one and the same person, and therefore the same as the Duke Ming and Ming Pao mentioned in the <u>fang i<e> inscription. From the <u>Chu shu chi nien<e> [chn] we know that Po Ch'in [chn], eldest son of Tan, Duke of Chou, became Marquis of Lu during the reign of Ch'eng Wang. As an added proof he cites a vessel known as the <u>ta fang ting<e> [chn] which was one of the vessels discovered with the <u>fang i<e>. This <u>ting has an inscription which runs in part... <u>Kung tz'u chu wu wang ch'eng wang ssu ting<e>... "Duke tz'u cast a sacrificial <u>ting<e> for Wu Wang and Ch'eng Wang..." From this we know that this <u>ting<e> was made after the time of Ch'eng Wang. However, the inscription also dedicated this <u>ting<e> to <u>tsu<e> ting [chn] or "Grandfather Ting," which indicates that it was made after the time of the <u>fang i<e> which is dedicated to <u>fu ting<e> or "Father Ting." In regard to the question of the meaning of K'ang Kung he interpreted t as simply the name of a palace in the same category as the Ching Kung [chn] also mentioned in the inscription. The account of the attack on Ch'u occurring in the Ling <u>Kuei<e> he thought might refer to an attack on the Eastern Country recorded as having occurred during the reign of Ch'eng Wang. He cites, furthermore, a bronze known as the Ch'in <u>kuei<e> [chn] which mentions not only an attack on Ch'u, but also says "The Duke of Chou ordered Ch'in to be prayer master." Thus he links all these bronzes together as of the reign of Ch'eng Wang.
Now Jung Keng as recently as 1941, has listed ninety-one bronzes as being of Ch'eng Wang date. (See Jung Keng, <u>Shang Chou i ch'i t'ung K'ao<e>, vol. 1, pp. 42-48). He heads the list with a vessel known as the Hsien Hou <u>ting<e> [chn], the inscription in which runs in part [chn] ... or "Now Ch'eng Wang performed a great [ritual] at Tsung Chou..." This group includes our <u>fang i<e>, and thirty-one bronzes of the Ch'en-chen group of which our <u>huo<e> (F1933.2) is one, and all 91 seem to be interconnected in some way by the mention in their inscriptions of names of persons, places, events, and , or by circumstances of discovery, etc. This seems to tip the scales in favor of Kuo Mo-jo's contention of a Ch'eng Wang date. This being the case, but with no intention of insisting on an accurate dating to the day, it may be interesting to see how our <u>fang i<e> date would fare in Wu Ch'i-ch'ang's calendar for the reign of Ch'eng Wang. Our inscription na mes two months and five days as follows: [chn], "the 8th moon, on the day <u>chia shen<e>," the day [chn] <u>ting hai<e> in the same moon, and [chn], "the 10th moon in the first quarter on the day <u>kuei wei<e>, also the days [chn] <u>chia shen<e> and [chn]. Using Wu Ch'i-ch'ang's table there is only one year (1085 B.C.) during the reign of Ch'eng Wang when these combinations occur as given in the inscription, and the above dates correspond as follows: -The 2nd and 5th days of the 8th moon, and the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th days of the 10th moon. Admittedly it would be extremely hazardous to claim such as exact date, but it may be worth noting that it is only 42 years earlier than Wu Ch'i-ch'ang's contention of the 10th year of Chao Wang.
4. (J.A. Pope, 1968) Attributes to Early Chou, late 11th - early 10th century B.C.
5. (T. Lawton, 1976) Added: word "Western" after Early.
6. (Fu Shen, 1986) From the exhibition label:
"From Concept to Context: Approaches to Asian and Islamic Calligraphy"
"This inscription was cast inside the cover of the <u>fangyi<e>. Another virtually identical version of the text is cast on the interior walls of the vessel. The Freer <u>fangyi<e> is especially famous because of its long inscription and the elegant, neat calligraphy. The text indicates that Mingbao, son of the Duke of Zhou, bestowed sacrificial wine, metal and a small ox; the annalist used the metal to cast this precious sacral vessel to be offer to the glory of Father Ting."
Catalogue no. 1 "Ancient seal scrip" is added and "late 11th -early 10th century B.C." changed to "11th-10th century B.C."
7. (Exhibition label copy, May 1993)
A long inscription of some 180 characters appears twice on this vessel, on the interior and inside the lid. The inscription reveals interesting facts about the Zhou political system and accompanying rituals. The heavy flanges, which distinguish the silhouette and complement the flamboyant surface ornaments, illustrate the vast gap in time and decorative style between this vessel and its Shang dynasty counterparts.
8. (J. Smith per Keith Wilson, 7/1/2008) Vessel added as secondary classification
9. (S. Kitsoulis per Keith Wilson, 7 July 2010) Title changed from "Ritual food container (fang yi)" to "Square lidded ritual wine container (fangyi) with masks, dragons, and birds"; date changed from 11th-10th century B.C.E. to "ca. late 11th-early 10th century B.C.E."
10. (S. Kitsoulis per label text from exhibition of Ancient Chinese Jades and Bronzes, Freer Gallery of Art 20 November 2010) Date changed from "ca. late 11th-early 10th century B.C.E." to "ca. 1050-975 B.C.E."
11. (S. Kitsoulis 2 December 2010 per Keith Wilson) Title changed from "Square lidded ritual wine container (fangyi) with masks, dragons, and birds" to "Square lidded ritual wine container (fangyi) with taotie, serpents, and birds."
12. (Thomas Lawton, Draft entry for proposed Freer/Sackler collections handbook, August 15, 2001)
Bronze ritual food container, type fangyi, inscribed, Western Zhou dynasty, 11th century B.C., Height 35.6 cm. (14 in.), F1930.54
The outstanding quality of the casting and the unusually long inscription cast in the lid and vessel make this bronze, arguably, the most famous example in the Freer Gallery. This assessment is noteworthy in light of the fact that when John Ellerton Lodge (1876-1942), the first director of the Freer, acquired the bronze in 1930 some specialists raised questions regarding its authenticity. Said to have been unearthed in 1929 together with a large number of other bronzes, near Louyang, Henan province, this vessel is part of a well-known set. The flamboyant handling of the decoration and the hooked flanges support the early Western Zhou date indicated by the content of the inscription, which mentions a Zhou ruler, generally believed to be King Kang; Mingbao, son of the Duke of Zhou; and the annalist Nieling, who commissioned the bronze.