• 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 1021

    A RARE GOLD-INLAID BRONZE CROSSBOW MECHANISM

    LATE HAN/WESTERN JIN DYNASTY, 1ST-EARLY 4TH CENTURY AD

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE GOLD-INLAID BRONZE CROSSBOW MECHANISM
    LATE HAN/WESTERN JIN DYNASTY, 1ST-EARLY 4TH CENTURY AD
    Finely and heavily cast, the top and the upright sight finely inlaid in gold wire with narrow decorative borders and bands and the back edge of the sight inlaid with linear measurements
    9 in. (23 cm.) high, 6¾ in. (17 cm.) long


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    Compare the similar gold-inlaid bronze mechanism illustrated by Cheng Dong and Zhong Shao-yi in Ancient Chinese Weapons - A Collection of Pictures, Beijing, 1990, p. 144, no. 6-58 a-c. The mechanism is shown in profile (a) beside drawings of the back of the mechanism and sight (b) which indicates similar linear markings or measurments on the back of the sight similar to those of the present mechanism, and the top (c) indicating similar gold inlay. Athough not specifically dated, it is most likely late Western Han, as a later mechanism of similar type, similarly inlaid in gold and dated to the Three Kingdoms period (220-265) is illustrated p. 169, no. 7-26, and in line drawings nos. 7-27 and 7-28. See, also, the similar gold-inlaid bronze mechanism dated late Han/Western Jin dynasty, 1st-4th century AD, illustrated by C. Delacour, De bronze, d'or et d'argent: Arts somptuaires de la Chine, Musée Guimet, Paris, 2001, pp. 139-41, where the different parts of the mechanism and the method of using a crossbow are explained.

    Provenance

    Acquired prior to 1977.