• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2405

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1062

    A RARE LARGE GREY STONE TOMB RELIEF

    HAN DYNASTY, 1ST-2ND CENTURY AD

    Price Realised  

    A RARE LARGE GREY STONE TOMB RELIEF
    HAN DYNASTY, 1ST-2ND CENTURY AD
    The truncated upper section carved in low relief with a row of figures dressed in court robes shown kneeling, above a band of three mythical creatures, the two in the center long-necked winged dragons with heads turned towards each other, the third seated to the side, the lower frieze depicting four equestrian figures, their heads turned to face the spectator, proceeding towards a standing figure with head slightly bowed shown as if emerging from the lozenge-pattern border, with a segmented border or railing below, the thick sides and back left rough, the stone of mottled gray color
    39 in. (99.1 cm.) high, 48½ in. (123.2 cm.) wide, 9½ in. (24.2 cm.) deep


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    This rare large stone tomb relief would have formed one wall of a 'spirit chamber' attached to a tomb, such as the stone funerary relief illustrated by O. Sirén, Chinese Sculpture in the von der Heydt Collection, Museum Rietberg, Zürich, 1959, no. 2, which is carved with an inscription dating it to 114 AD. Although the carved decoration is different from that of the present relief, the manner in which the registers are divided and bordered is similar. This is also true of a long marble funerary relief dated to the 1st-2nd century AD in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, illustrated by T. Lawton, "Two Han Funerary Reliefs", Oriental Art, Autumn 1960, vol. VI, no. 3, pp. 90-6, fig. 2, where the decoration is arranged in two rather than three registers. The top register has nine dragons of the type seen on the present relief, referred to as huang long by the author, and the bottom register has similar equestrian figures and horse-drawn chariots proceeding to the right where they are faced by a bowing figure. On both the present and Boston relief the faces of the figures are facing outwards towards the spectator. The lozenge border to the side and above, and the segmented border (railing) below are also very similar to those of the present relief.

    Provenance

    Tonying & Co., New York, December 1962.


    Exhibited

    The Columbia University Exhibition of 3000 Years of the Ceramic Art and Ancient Sculpture of China from the Sackler Collections, Low Memorial Library, Columbia University, New York, 11 November 1962 - 18 January 1963, S-2.
    On loan: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1965 - 1999.