• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2297

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

    26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1270

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, GUI

    EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, LATE 11TH-EARLY 10TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, GUI
    EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, LATE 11TH-EARLY 10TH CENTURY BC
    The sides well cast in relief on each side with two dragons confronted on a notched flange set atop a shield shape beneath an animal mask, each with coiled body, clawed foot and open jaws exposing protruding fangs below the backward-curved snout, reserved on a leiwen ground and flanked by the pair of loop handles surmounted by animal masks and with a tab cast with a claw and tail feather projecting from the bottom, the whole raised on a pedestal foot encircled by a band of pairs of serpents, the interior cast with a three-character inscription, with mottled grey patina and some azurite and green encrustation
    10 in. (25.4 cm.) across handles, wood stand, two Japanese wood boxes


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    The three-character inscription cast on the interior of this gui also appears on a gui dated early Western Zhou dynasty in the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, illustrated by J. Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, vol.IIB, 1990, pp. 352-53, no. 36, where it is translated as "made the precious sacrificial vessel". Unlike the present gui, the Sackler gui is decorated with a prominent taotie on either side, and the handles are surmounted by large animal heads with horns.

    Bronze gui of the present type with the same dragons and protruding fangs appear to have two different bands of decoration on the foot - either bottle-horn dragons with long curved snouts, or S-shaped serpents like those on the present vessel. The first type is represented by the gui illustrated in Catalogue to the Special Exhibition of Grain Vessels of the Shang and Chou Dynasties, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1985, pl. 23. The second type is represented by the present example and a gui excavated from a Western Zhou cemetery at Zhuyuangou near Baoji, Shaanxi province, illustrated in Wenwu, 1983:2, pl. 2 fig. 2. Another gui with the S-shaped serpent band on the foot from the Shanghai Museum was included in the exhibition, Bronzes de la Chine antique du XVIII au III siecles avant J.C., Lyon, France, 4 October - 4 December 1988, no. 102. See, also, the similar gui sold at Sotheby's, New York, 22-23 September 2004, lot 110, and the two similar examples sold in these rooms, 28 March 1996, lot 263, and 19 September 2007, lot 204, formerly in the C. Ruxton Love Collection.

    Provenance

    Private collection, Ashiya, Japan, acquired prior to World War II.


    Pre-Lot Text

    VARIOUS PROPERTIES