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A large bronze arrow vase 'Touhu', Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

25 000 - 30 000 SEK
2 210 - 2 650 EUR
2 350 - 2 820 USD
Hammer price
160 000 SEK
Purchasing info
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For condition report contact specialist
Cecilia Nordström
Cecilia Nordström
Head Specialist Asian Ceramics and Works of Art, European Ceramics and Glass
+46 (0)739 40 08 02
A large bronze arrow vase 'Touhu', Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

Finely cast with the 'Eight Daoist Immortals' around the compressed pierced body with trigrams on the shoulder, surmounted by a tall slender neck adorned with a tortoise and a crane on a leiwan ground, below Magu and Shoulao and two canted-corner square lug handles shaped as dragons between two clambering chilong, standing on a octagonal spreading foot. Height 57 cm. Height with mount as a lamp and with lamp shade 84 cm.

Made in to a lamp. One figure on the neck missing its head.


Property of a private Swedish Collector.


Compare with a related bronze arrow vase decorated with the Eight Immortals and other longevity figures, Ming dynasty, in the Cernuschi Museum, Paris, illustrated by M.Maucuer, Bronzes de la Chine Impériale des Song aux Qing, Paris, 2013, p.151, no.103. See also a Cizhou arrow vase, circa 1522-1566, decorated with the Eight Immortals, in the British Museum, London, illustrated by J.Harrison-Hall, Catalogue of Late Yuan and Ming Ceramics in the British Museum, London, 2001, p.437, no.14:6.


Compare with Bonhams, More than a Game
Games in Chinese Art, including the Brian Harkins Collection of Bronze Arrow Vases, Hong Kong, Admirality, 29 – 30 May 2022.

The present vase is decorated with ten Daoist Immortals, a turtle and a crane, all of which symbolise longevity.

More information

These type of vases were designed for the ancient Chinese game of touhu, or 'arrow throwing', which would form part of the entertainment at banquets and is mentioned in early classical texts such as the Chunqiu Zuo Zhuan. Contestants would aim feathered arrows at the various cylinders applied to the vase, with higher points awarded for the less accessible openings. The loser was made to drink wine, leading to increased inebriation and diminished throwing accuracy.

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