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    Sale 2027

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art

    17 September 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 348

    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 flat cast with a band of upright blades rising from a narrow band of spirals, above two taotie masks with small boss eyes centered on narrow flanges on the rounded center section, the spreading foot cast with a narrow band of S-shaped serpents above a wide band of four dragons with boss eyes and upturned snouts shown facing in the same direction in profile on a leiwen ground, cast with a pictograph on the interior of the foot, with pale milky-green patina, encrustation on the interior
    10 13/16 in. (27.5 cm.) high


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    The single pictograph cast inside the interior of the foot of this gu, usually deciphered as zheng (upright), consists of a rounded square and a pair of footprints. A similar graph appears in a jia illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 158-9, no. 5, who mentions that, although the character is usually taken to be the name of a person, clan or place, the excavation of a yu from a burial near Fu Hao's tomb suggests that it was the name of a marquisate. Bagley cites thirteen other published bronzes in public and private collections which bear this pictograph.

    A very similar gu is illustrated by Bagley, ibid., pp. 228-9, no. 29. Another similar example excavated from Xibeigang M1550 at Anyang is illustrated by Li Ji and Wan Jiabao, Yinxu chutu qingtong gu xing qi zhi yanjiu (Studies of the Bronze Gu-Beaker), Taiwan, 1964, pl. 34 and p. 87, fig. 29.

    Provenance

    The Estate of Jack and Adele Frost prior to 1986.
    Acquired in Los Angeles, c. 1990.