• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1976

    Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 493

    A BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, YU

    SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, YU
    SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC
    The deep, slightly flaring sides cast with a band of 'diamond and boss' pattern below a band of medallions enclosing comma spirals alternating with small vestigal birds with backwards-turned heads and large eyes, interrupted by small animal masks, all reserved on a leiwen ground, the whole raised on a tall foot cast with three pairs of dragons confronted on narrow flanges
    10½ in. (26.5 cm.) diam.


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    The addition of spiral bosses separated by the central taotie mask found along the rim of this yu appears to be an unusual feature, with the more common decoration being solely that of a stylized dragon motif. However, an almost identical vessel excavated at Luchai Village in Fufeng county, Shanxi, in 1975, is illustrated in Bronzes of the Shang and Chou Unearthed in Shensi, Beijing, 1979, vol. I, no. 50. See, also, two other very similar examples, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - Shang, vol. 4, no. 4, Beijing, 1998, pp. 32-3, no. 32, excavated in You Yu prefecture, Shanxi province, in 1971, and no. 33, excavated at Fu Feng prefecture, Shaanxi province in 1975.

    Several other related examples, also with 'diamond and boss' pattern but solely with stylized dragons and without spiral bosses on either side of the central taotie masks, are illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, DC and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987, p. 504, no. 98; pp. 506-7, figs. 98.3 and 98.4 and p. 508, no. 99.

    Provenance

    Collection of Earl and Irene Morse.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION


    Literature

    R.L. Thorp and V. Bower, Spirit and Ritual; The Morse Collection of Ancient Chinese Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1982, pp. 22-3, no. 5.