• Fine Chinese Ceramics and Work auction at Christies

    Sale 2297

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

    26 March 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1290

    A RARE PAIR OF GOLD FOIL-DECORATED BRONZE HARNESS FITTINGS

    WARRING STATES PERIOD, 5TH-4TH CENTURY BC

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A RARE PAIR OF GOLD FOIL-DECORATED BRONZE HARNESS FITTINGS
    WARRING STATES PERIOD, 5TH-4TH CENTURY BC
    Each comprised of a domed bronze ring from which project three posts surmounted by taotie masks covered in gold foil, the outward-facing masks with protruding tongue, small nose, bulbous eyes below small ears and curved horns, with areas of beaded detailing, with malachite green and azurite encrustation
    2 in. (5 cm.) across
    Wt. 87.1 and 88.8 g. (2)


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    Compare the similar harness fitting, illustrated by B. Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, pp. 64-5, no. 3, later sold at Sotheby's, London, 14 May 2008, lot 12. A similar fitting was excavated from a large pit filled with the remains of chariots and horses at a Warring States site at Fengxiang Doufu village in Shaanxi province. A pair of fittings of similar type, but with silver masks surmounting each post, excavated 1974-78 from the tomb of King Cuo (r. 327-313 BC), State of Zhongshan, in Lingshou, present-day Pingshan county, Hebei province, is illustrated by Han Wei and Christian Deydier, Ancient Chinese Gold, Paris, 2001, p. 53, no. 86.

    Stylistically the masks are similar to late Spring and Autumn period (5th-4th century BC) masks cast at the Houma foundry in southern Shanxi province, as evidenced by molds excavated at the foundry site, 1957-1965. Such a mold is illustrated in Art of the Houma Foundry, Institute of Archaeology of Shanxi Province, Princeton, New Jersey, 1996, p. 168, no. 180.

    A Technical Examination Report is available upon request.

    Provenance

    Alice Boney, New York, 1953.