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Seattle Art Museum (SAM)

Bi disk with dragon motif

Photo: Paul Macapia

Bi disk with dragon motif

10th - 8th century BCE

The bi and cong were two longstanding funerary shapes used since the Neolithic period. They likely had ceremonial and protective functions, although their exact purpose is unknown. This bi depicts two dragons arching head to tail across from each other. Similar motifs also decorate bronze ritual vessels of the time. Each dragon head has a large round eye and a long snout; the body and claws are abstracted, geometric hooks and curls.
Diameter: 9 5/8 in.
Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection
Photo: Paul Macapia
Now on view at the Asian Art Museum


Exhibition HistorySeattle, Washington, Seattle World's Fair, Fine Arts Pavilion, Art of Ancient East, 1962.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, University Museum, Chinese Jade, 1962 (Cleveland, Ohio, Cleveland Museum, 1963).

Portland, Oregon, Portland Art Museum, Gift to a City: Masterworks from the Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection in the Seattle Art Museum, Nov. 3 - 28, 1965. Cat. no. 8.

London, England, The Arts Council of Great Britain and the Oriental Ceramic Society, Victoria and Albert Museum, Chinese Jades Throughout The Ages, 1975.

Miami, Florida, Center for Fine Arts, In Quest of Excellence, Jan. 12 - Apr. 22, 1984.

Tokyo, Japan, Suntory Museum of Art, Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum, July 25 - Sept. 6, 2009 (Kobe, Japan, Kobe City Museum, Sept. 19 - Dec. 6, 2009; Kofu, Japan, Yamanashi Prefectural Museum of Art, Dec. 23, 2009 - Feb. 28, 2010; Atami, Japan, MOA Museum of Art, Mar. 13 - May 9, 2010; Fukuoka, Japan, Fukuoka Art Museum, May 23 - July 19, 2010).

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, Luminous: The Art of Asia, Oct. 13, 2011 - Jan. 8, 2012.

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Asian Art Museum, Boundless: Stories of Asian Art, Feb. 8, 2020 - ongoing.
Published References"Handbook, Seattle Art Museum: Selected Works from the Permanent Collections." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1951, p. 46 (b&w)

"Gift to a City" exhibition catalogue. Portland, OR: Portland Art Museum, 1965, cat. no. 8

"Selected Works." Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1991, p. 156

Kawai, Masatomo, Yasuhiro Nishioka, Yukiko Sirahara, editors. "Luminous Jewels: Masterpieces of Asian Art From the Seattle Art Museum". 2009, The Yomiuri Shimbun, cat. no. 57

Seattle Art Museum respectfully acknowledges that we are on Indigenous land, the traditional territories of the Coast Salish people. We honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future.

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