NY TIMES, August
COIN BANKS' PARENT
SHOWN AT MUSEUM
2,000-Year-Old Chinese Alms
Box Has Mechanical Bear
to Reward Depositor
The mechanical coin bank that rewards depositors with some amusing action
was not invented by an ingenious Yankee, but was known to the Chinese
about 2,000 years ago. A primitive example of this contrivance, made by
some Chinese craftsman of the Han dynasty (206 B. C.-A. D. 220), has been
presented anonymously to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and will go on
exhibition this morning.
a rectangular pottery alms-box with simulated lock and studding,
indicating that it was patterned after a more durable treasure chest. The
four corners are supported by fat, squatting
"Inserted in the top is a movable piece weighted
on the inside of the box," according to Alan Priest, curator of Far
Eastern art at the Metropolitan. "On it sits a bear with one paw raised
over its head. This piece is so arranged that when coins of sufficient
heaviness are dropped into the slot at the edge of the box they strike the
weight and the bear bows his thanks."
is included in an anonymous gift of Chinese works of art, outstanding
among which is a pottery figure dating from the Yuan dynasty (1280-1368).
Of the same period is a white porcelain head of Kuan Yin.
bequest from Kate Read Blacque of Paris, in memory of her husband,
Valentine Alexander Blacque, the Metropolitan has received a collection of
sixty-three eighteenth-century boxes and etuis of gold, enamel and other
materials, largely of French origin.
gift from Christian A. Zabriskie the museum has received a piece of armor
— a backplate described as belonging to a
tournament suit in the Spanish style, dating from about 1550.
gift and purchase the museum also has acquired four American coverlets of
the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The earliest
example, made in Middletown, Conn., is an unusual specimen of quilted and
embroidered needlework in fine white linen backed with a coarser linen.