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    Sale 2268

    Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    18 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 225

    A VERY RARE BRONZE DAGGER-AXE, KUI

    LATE SHANG/EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, SICHUAN PROVINCE, 11TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A VERY RARE BRONZE DAGGER-AXE, KUI
    LATE SHANG/EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, SICHUAN PROVINCE, 11TH CENTURY BC
    The broad triangular blade intentionally bent upward at the tip and cast on both sides with a taotie mask from which issues a tapering triangular panel filled with scrolls and cast in high relief with a pair of tusks and a pair of horns, both with projecting, curved tips, with a hole between the horns, and two rectangular hafting slits near the upper edge from which projects a petal-shaped tab cast with scrolls that partially conceals an oblong hole in the tang, the upper half of the nei of assymetrical outline and cast on both sides with a central panel decorated with a scroll pattern within an outer border of radiating bands, alternately plain and with dots, with extensive green encrustation
    11¼ in. (28.6 cm.) long


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    This blade would have been intentionally bent prior to burial. The same can be seen on two kui of this size and shape illustrated in Bronzes of Shang and Zhou Dynasties Unearthed in Shaanxi Province, Beijing, 1979, p. 46, nos. 34 and 35. The first has pierced decoration on the blade, the second is plain. A kui with an unbent blade which is very similar to the present kui, but minus the nei, from the Hellmstrom Collection, was included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935-6, no. 169.

    Provenance

    D. David-Weill Collection; Sotheby's, London, 29 February 1972, lot 97.


    Exhibited

    Bronzes chinois des dynasties Tcheou, Ts'in et Han, Paris, 1934, no. 66.