China, late Han-dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). Green patinated bronze, partly gilt. Cylindrical ritual vessel on 3 feet in the shape of bears. At each side a ring handle with a Taotie mask. The cover with 3 vertical loops in the shape of mythical birds. Wall and cover with revolving relief borders of different animals. Partly dents, traces of age. H. 19,5 cm. - See: Pirazzoli-t'Serstevens, China zur Zeit der Han-Dynastie, Stuttgart 1982, p. 100, ill. 57. See also a very similar vessel of smaller size in the Freer/Sackler Gallery, The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art, Washington D.C., Inv. no. S1987.341a-b. For the fine sculptural feet of bear-shape see a 'LIAN' vessel in the Palace Museum, Beijing.