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    Sale 2268

    Fine Chinese Art from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections

    18 March 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 295

    A RARE MARBLE TAOTIE MASK-FORM VESSEL FITTING

    SHANG DYNASTY, ANYANG, 11TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A RARE MARBLE TAOTIE MASK-FORM VESSEL FITTING
    SHANG DYNASTY, ANYANG, 11TH CENTURY BC
    Cut in the shape of a large taotie mask and detailed in low relief on one of the slightly convex sides, with three biconical holes for attachment at one edge, the opaque stone of whitish color; together with a rare alabaster ornamental pendant component, Western Zhou dynasty, the thick trapezoidal plaque carved on one side with two birds with backwards-turned heads set between triple bow-string borders and outer bands of barbed lappets, each with a channel connecting a hole at its tip to a hole at its base on the reverse, the stone semi-translucent
    5 5/8 and 3¼ in. (14.3 and 8.2 cm.) long (2)


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    The rare taotie-shaped carving was most probably the leg of a vessel, such as the three jade vessel legs (18 cm. high) excavated from a Shang tomb in Xingan, Jiangxi province, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China - 9 - Jiangxi, Beijing, 2005, p. 43.
    The trapezoidal ornament is similar in shape to that seen in a line drawing of jades recovered from Shanxi Tianma Qucun, Western Zhou period, 9th century BC, illustrated by J. Rawson, Chinese Jade from the Neolithic to the Qing, British Museum, 1995, p. 52 (left). In the drawing one can see that strings of beads were attached at both ends. See, also, the example with pendent beads excavated from Western Zhou Tomb No. 31, Marquis of Jin necropolis, Quwo, Shanxi province, illustrated in The Complete Collection of Jades Unearthed in China - 3 - Shanxi, Beijing, 2005, p. 95.

    Provenance

    Vessel fitting: J.T. Tai & Co., New York, prior to 1966.
    Ornament: J.T. Tai & Co., New York, 1965.