• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1976

    Fine Chinese Ceramics And Works Of Art

    19 March 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 491

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL WATER VESSEL, PAN

    EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 10TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A RARE BRONZE RITUAL WATER VESSEL, PAN
    EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY, 10TH CENTURY BC
    The shallow rounded body and the tall foot cast in shallow relief with bands of cicadas with extended proboscis reserved on a leiwen ground, the band on the body set between narrow borders of circles and interrupted on two sides by a small animal mask, with a pair of diagonally set loop handles, the interior cast with an inscription
    11½ in. (29 cm.) across handles


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    The inscription cast inside the pan consists of a yaxing clan sign placed above two characters, 'Father Ding'.

    Pan were shallow basins used as ritual vessels to hold water. They were used in conjunction with a he or a yi to form a set of vessels for the washing of hands. They would have been included in the ritual vessel sets "required by an individual or family of a given period to perfom the customary ritual food and wine offerings to the ancestors." See J. Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIA, Washington, DC and Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1990, p. 98. Such a set, of Middle Western Zhou date, from Shaanxi Fufeng Qijiacun M19, is illustrated in a line drawing, ibid., p. 99, fig. 142d.

    A pan of similar shape, with the same type of handles, also cast with bands of cicadas on the sides and high foot, in the Victoria and Albert Museum, is illustrated by Rawson, ibid., vol. IIB, p. 722, fig. 122.2. The cicadas on the Victoria and Albert example do not have the extended proboscis of those on the present vessel. Cicadas of this latter type can be found, however, on bands encircling the body and foot of a pan excavated in Liaoning province, and illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - Xi Zhou, vol. 6, no. 2, Beijing, 1997, p. 25, no. 25, and on the body, but not the foot, of another pan excavated in Beijing, Liu Li River, Tomb no. 253, and now in the Capital Museum, Beijing, illustrated ibid., p. 24, no. 24. The latter vessel has handles similar to those of the present pan, but no. 25 has no handles. Both also incorporate the small animal mask in the band encircling the body.

    Provenance

    Gisèle Cröes, 1987.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY FROM A EUROPEAN COLLECTION