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    Sale 7720

    Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Including Export Art

    12 May 2009, London, King Street

  • Lot 136

    A RARE BRONZE 'BEAR AND EAGLE' TUNING KEY

    HAN DYNASTY (206 BC-220 AD)

    Price Realised  

    A RARE BRONZE 'BEAR AND EAGLE' TUNING KEY
    HAN DYNASTY (206 BC-220 AD)
    Finely cast as a bear and an eagle top a narrow rod terminating in a hollowed base square section base, with some green encrustation
    3¾ in. (9.5 cm.) long


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    Not until the excavation of bronze tuning keys together with a set of tuning pegs for a Chinese qin, from the 2nd century BC tomb of the king of Nanyue in Guangzhou, Guandong province in 1983, was the function of objects of this type understood. Keys of this type were used to tighten the pegs on which the strings of a qin are wound.

    The combination of eagle (ying) and bear (xiong) provides a rebus for yingxiong, meaning champion or hero.
    Of the published examples all are surmounted by an animal or bird. Several other tuning keys surmounted by a bear have been published: one in the collection of Dr. Paul Singer is illustrated by M. Loehr, Relics of Ancient China, Asia Society, New York, 1965, no. 112; one in Sammlung Baron Eduard von der Heydt, Wien, 1936, no. 103; one with a patterned body in the exhibition catalogue, Ancient China: Music & Ritual, J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 20 March-7 April 2001, no. 12

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 15% will be added to the buyer's premium which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Ernest Erickson Collection.
    Private UK Collection since 1989.