• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2196

    Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    15 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 151

    A LARGE ARCHAISTIC WHITE JADE BEAKER VASE, FANGGU

    18TH/19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A LARGE ARCHAISTIC WHITE JADE BEAKER VASE, FANGGU
    18TH/19TH CENTURY
    The rounded center section carved on each side in low relief with a central taotie mask set amidst various archaistic elements, the narrow spreading foot and pronounced flared neck with a series of leaf-shaped lappets interspersed at either end with irregular cartouches containing an archaistic fret pattern and emerging from a border of confronted stylized kui dragons in rectangular reserves, the lappets on the upper portion of the vase interrupted by an irregular band of compressed ovals, the neck with a pair of leafy lingzhi stems suspending lose rings.
    11 1/8 in. (28.3 cm.) high, wood stand


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    The current lot takes its shape from ritual wine vessels (gu) of the Shang dynasty (c. 1600-1100 BC). One of the most recognizable of all archaic bronze forms, gu date to as early as the Erlitou phase, circa 2000 to 1500 BC, at which time they were a simple slender beaker, which eventually evolved into the elegant trumpet-mouthed vessel of the late Anyang period of 12th-11th century BC date. While the decoration on the current lot is derived from that which appears on Shang period bronzes, the stylization of the elements is typical of Qing dynasty interpretations.

    See a similar jade fanggu with loop and ring handles and a taotie decorating the central portion of the body, illustrated by S.C. Nott, A Catalogue of Rare Chinese Jade Carvings, Florida, 1940, p. 20, no. 21. A related, though much smaller white jade example without handles, is illustrated in Jade: Ch'ing Dynasty Treasures, National Museum of History, Taipei, 1997, no. 95. See, also, a smaller dark green jade fanggu inscribed with a six-character Qianlong fang gu (after the antique) mark, also without handles and with raised flanges along the body and edges, sold in these rooms, 20 March 2001, lot 47.