• Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works  auction at Christies

    Sale 2389

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

    14 September 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 5

    A RARE PAIR OF BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSELS, GU

    SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    A RARE PAIR OF BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSELS, GU
    SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH CENTURY BC
    Each of slender form, the trumpet-shaped neck cast with four blades of cicada type above a narrow band of four angular snakes with hooked tails, the center section with two taotie masks divided and separated by narrow flanges, above two cruciform openings interrupting bow-string bands, the flared foot with a narrow band of scrolls above two larger taotie masks, each cast inside the foot with the same inscription, and also cast with two opposing pairs of slender tapering blade-shaped motifs, with mottled grey and milky green patina and areas of green malachite encrustation
    11 in. (28. cm.) high (2)


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    The inscription is a graph inside a yashing with another graph below. The same inscription is on a jue in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, 1987, p. 245, fig. 34.1. The author notes that similar gu were found in the tomb of Fu Hao and that the casting of matched pairs or sets was common during the Anyang period.

    Provenance

    Sir Adrian Holman; Sotheby's, London, 1 November 1965, lot 45, with the note: "Excavated at Anyang in December 1933 and purchased by the present owner (Sir Adrian Holman) at Kaifeng in 1934."


    Literature

    J. Rawson, Ancient China, Art and Archaeology, London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1980, fig. 79a (no. 35).
    R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 244-7, nos. 34 and 35.