• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2405

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

    25 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1003

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, FANGDING

    LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL, FANGDING
    LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC
    The rectangular body raised on four columnar legs and cast on each side with a taotie mask divided by a narrow flange repeated at the corners and above to divide pairs of small dragons with hooked tails, all reserved on a leiwen ground highlighted by black inlay, with a pair of bail handles at each end of the rim, with an inscription cast on an interior wall, extensive encrustation with cloth and matting impressions
    8 in. (20.3 cm.) high


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    The inscription consists of three elements: the bottom is the stem gui written in its early form; the graph above is of uncertain meaning; and at the top are two figures kneeling either side of a ritual vessel toward which they reach. This latter graph may be read as qing or xiang. The two top graphs have been found on other bronzes and interpreted as a clan sign. See the variation of the inscription in a rubbing from a gui in the Avery Brundage Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 1987, p. 474, fig. 88.1.

    Provenance

    Acquired prior to 1966.


    Literature

    R. Poor, Bronze Ritual Vessels of Ancient China, New York, 1968.
    N. Barnard and Cheung Kwong-yue, Rubbings and Hand Copies of Bronze Inscriptions in Chinese, Japanese, European, American and Australasian Collections, Taipei, 1978, no. 1300 (inscription only).
    R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 472-5, no. 88.