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    Sale 2238

    Masterworks of Ancient and Imperial China

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 550

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL, GU

    SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH-12TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL, GU
    SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH-12TH CENTURY BC
    The trumpet-shaped neck with four upright blades flat-cast with inverted taotie masks reserved on a leiwen ground, above a narrow band of long-tailed birds, the middle section with two taotie masks with boss-like eyes divided and separated by slender notched flanges repeated on the spreading foot cast with a narrow band of confronted birds above a band of two pairs of confronted dragons, with mottled green patina and areas of malachite encrustation
    10¾ in. (27.3 cm.) high


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    A most unusual feature of this gu is the two narrow bands of long-tailed birds flanking the middle section, which are more naturalistically rendered than the more angular, hook-beaked birds commonly encountered on bronzes of the late Shang and early Western Zhou periods.
    A very similar gu with almost identical cast elements, but with narrow bands of cicadas and dragons rather than birds, in the collection of C. Hollinger-Hasler, Winterthur, Switzerland, is illustrated by H. Brinker, Bronzen aus dem alten China, Zurich, 1975, p. 78, no. 35. See, also, the gu illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 240-1, no. 33, which also has similar decoration, but has narrow bands of snakes and cicadas.

    Provenance

    Acquired in Hong Kong in the 1990s.


    Pre-Lot Text

    EVENING SESSION
    SALE 2238

    AT APPROXIMATELY 6:30 PM
    (LOTS 550-602)

    VARIOUS PROPERTIES