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    Sale 2269

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Jades from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

    19 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 522

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, YOU

    LATE SHANG/EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 12TH-10TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, YOU
    LATE SHANG/EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 12TH-10TH CENTURY BC
    The pear-shaped body of oval section raised on a spreading foot encircled by a band of 'eyes' and diagonally arranged scrolls, cast in high relief on each side with a small taotie mask centering a band of conjoined four-part scrolls alternating with 'eyes', between narrow borders of circles above a bow-string band, interrupted by a pair of C-form handles to which a rope-twist handle is attached, the domed cover with similar scroll and 'eye' band below the finial cast with six descending cicadas, with olive-brown patina and green encrustation, with an inscription cast on the interior of the cover and bottom of the vessel
    12¼ in. (31 cm.) high with handle, Japanese wood box and stand


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    The inscription cast on the interior of the cover and on the bottom of the vessel consists of a graph, perhaps a clan sign, and the two characters, 'Father Jia.'

    Stylistically the present lot relates closely to a you of almost identical size (31.5 cm.) and decoration from Yinxu in Anyang, illustrated in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the National Palace Museum Collection, Taipei, 1998, where it is dated to the 12th-11th century BC. However, the illustrated example lacks the narrow borders of circles between the bow string bands which frame the design. The two you share an almost identical decoration on the band with eye motifs on the spreading foot, although the Taipei example is not as crisply cast as that of the present vessel.

    Another you of the same shape and size (31 cm.) is illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 389, no. 68, where it is dated to the 11th century BC. However, the Sackler you has narrow circle borders framing a ground of angled spirals. The author notes on p. 390 that you of this type would have been extremely popular in the late Anyang period, and that several nearly identical examples have been excavated, including one from a tomb at Yinxu which can be dated to the last quarter of the Anyang phase.

    See a smaller (25.8 cm.) Western Zhou you exhibiting a related, though more formalized design, excavated in Luoyang, Henan province in 1984, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - Si Zhou (I), Beijing, 1996, p. 164, no. 172, which incorporates an identical border of narrow circles, suggesting the continuity of this element through the early Western Zhou period.

    Provenance

    In Japan by the 1920s.