© President and Fellows of Harvard College
Gallery Text

As its name implies, the Warring States period (475–221 BCE) was an era during which various states that were ruled by powerful clans competed for supremacy in China. The high demand for luxury goods to furnish the tombs of wealthy nobles enabled numerous artistic traditions to flourish, resulting in an array of ornate artifacts from this period and the subsequent Han dynasty (206 BCE–220 CE). Bronze vessels continued to be commissioned by the ruling elite during both eras, but the addition of gold and intricate openwork designs (here seen on the gilt bronze pedestaled dou and the small openwork pou vessels) transformed this previously austere tradition into a more decorative artistic craft. Jade containers made in shapes traditionally used for bronze or lacquer vessels (such as the three exhibited here) were the epitome of ostentation, as there was no better way to demonstrate wealth than to reproduce a luxury item in a more expensive medium.

Identification and Creation
Object Number
Covered Jade Cup with Gilt Bronze Fitting Decorated with Three Felines and Three Crested Birds
Work Type
2nd-1st centuries BCE
Creation Place: East Asia, China
Han dynasty, Western Han period, 206 BCE-9 CE
Level 1, Room 1600, Early Chinese Art, Arts of Ancient China from the Bronze Age to the Golden Age
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Physical Descriptions
Translucent pale green nephrite with brown veins and slightly calcified, bone-colored patches; gilt bronze rim
H. 7.7 x Diam. 11.2 cm (3 1/16 x 4 7/16 in.)
Weight 543 g
[C. T. Loo & Co., New York, January 23, 1933] sold; to Grenville L. Winthrop, New York (1933-1943), bequest; to Fogg Art Museum, 1943.
Acquisition and Rights
Credit Line
Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Bequest of Grenville L. Winthrop
Accession Year
Object Number
Asian and Mediterranean Art
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Publication History

Takayasu Higuchi, ed., Chugoku bijutsu, dai 4-kan (Chinese Art in Western Collections vol. 4: Bronze and Jade), Kodansha (Tokyo, Japan, 1973), pl. 106

Max Loehr and Louisa G. Fitzgerald Huber, Ancient Chinese Jades from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection in the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Fogg Art Museum (Cambridge, MA, 1975), cat. no. 521, p. 352-3

Exhibition History

Re-View: S228-230 Arts of Asia, Harvard Art Museums/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, 05/31/2008 - 11/23/2008

32Q: 1600 Early China II, Harvard Art Museums, 11/01/2014

Subjects and Contexts

Collection Highlights

Google Art Project

This record has been reviewed by the curatorial staff but may be incomplete. Our records are frequently revised and enhanced. For more information please contact the Division of Asian and Mediterranean Art at am_asianmediterranean@harvard.edu