Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Winged Cup with Geometric Designs

Eastern Zhou dynasty, Warring States period (475–221 B.C.)
3rd century B.C.
Brown lacquer painted with red lacquer
H. 1 7/8 in. (4.8 cm); W. 4 7/8 in. (12.4 cm); L. 6 in. (15.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Arthur M. Sackler Gift, 1974
Accession Number:
Not on view
By the Warring States period, Chu, noted for its lacquer production, was the major cultural force in south central China. The visual arts of Chu are often characterized as shamanistic in response to the prevalence of images of fairylike creatures riding on dragons, or clouds that change imperceptibly into dragons, and, as they meander through the sky, transform again into dragons. The playful, thin lines painted on this winged cup are a later stylized version of the traditional cloud-dragon motif. The two large winglike appendages on the cup are often described as "ears" in Chinese writings, and cups of this type, known from at least the eighth century B.C., are generally termed "ear-cups," or erbei. It was most likely once part of a matched set of eating and drinking vessels.
Related Objects

Knotted Dragon Pendant

Date: 3rd century B.C. Medium: Jade (nephrite) Accession: 1985.214.99 On view in:Gallery 207

Female Dancer

Date: 2nd century B.C. Medium: Earthenware with slip and pigment Accession: 1992.165.19 On view in:Gallery 207

Saucer with Butterflies

Date: 18th century Medium: Porcelain painted with colored enamels and gilded (Jingdezhen ware) Accession: 79.2.634 On view in:Gallery 201


Medium: Porcelain painted in underglaze blue Accession: 79.2.226 On view in:On view


Date: late 17th–early 18th century Medium: Porcelain painted in underglaze blue Accession: 79.2.334 On view in:On view