• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1976

    Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 486

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL, GU

    LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 11TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL, GU
    LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 11TH CENTURY BC
    The trumpet-shaped neck cast with four leiwen-filled cicada blades, the center section and spreading foot with taotie masks centered on and separated by notched flanges, the interior of the foot cast with a clan sign, with malachite encrustation and mottled patina
    10½ in. (26.5 cm.) high, box


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    The clan sign cast inside the foot of the vessel consists of a cowrie flanked by a pair of pointed hooks.

    Gu, which were ritual vessels used for wine, are one of the most recognizable of bronze forms of the Shang dynasty. The vessels date to as early as the Erlitou period, circa 2000 to 1500 BC, at which time they were a simple slender beaker, and eventually evolved into the elegant trumpet-mouthed vessel of the late Anyang period of 12th-11th century BC date.

    A very similar gu, with almost identical cast elements, is illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, DC and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987, p. 248, no. 36. See, also, three closely related examples with similar casting excavated in 1985 from the tomb of Liu Jia Zung in Anyang, Henan province, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - Shang, vol. 2, no. 2, Beijing, 1997, p. 122, no. 118, from the north tomb, no. 2; p. 124, no. 120, from the north tomb, no. 1; and p. 126, no. 122, from the south tomb, no. 63.

    Provenance

    Edward T. Chow Collection Part II; Sotheby's, London, 16 December 1980, lot 344.
    Gisèle Cröes, 1985.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION