• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2389

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

    14 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 30

    A RARE BRONZE ENGRAVED CIRCULAR BOX AND COVER

    6TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE BRONZE ENGRAVED CIRCULAR BOX AND COVER
    6TH CENTURY
    The center of the flat cover finely engraved with a central flowerhead surrounded by five roundels enclosing musicians and dancers of Central Asian type separated by basket-like motifs containing foliate sprays, encircled by a bow-string border and an outer band of animals fleeing amidst foliate scroll within a rope-twist border, with further foliate scroll on the canted shoulder and around the sides below a narrow band of peacock feathers, the sides of the box with similar rope-twist, animal and feather bands, with a bow-string circle on the flat base, with mottled grey and pale green patina
    7 13/16 in. (20 cm.) diam.


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    The decoration of Central Asian musicians and dancers on this rare engraved bronze box was most likely influenced by the decorative motifs found on art produced on objects found along the Silk Road during the Six Dynasties and early Tang dynasty, such as a group of painted wood reliquaries of circular form with conical covers found at the Subashi Buddhist Monastery, Kucha, Xinjiang, dated to about 7th century. See The Buddhist Art in Xinjiang Along the Silk Road, Xinjiang, 2006, pp. 170-3. The cover of a box, fig. F-2, p. 173, shows six roundels enclosing musicians that surround a central foliate motif, while the sides of the box (F-1), have a band of undulating leaf scroll and decorative borders. The cover of another box, A-2, p. 170, shows four roundels enclosing musicians and putti with decorative elements separating the roundels, in a manner similar to that seen on the present cover.

    Provenance

    J.T. Tai & Co., New York, 1967.


    Literature

    E. Bunker, "A Pre-T'ang Bronze Box from China, Orientations, no. 4, Winter, 1963, p. 245.