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Christie’s is pleased to announce that a group of private collectors from China’s Hunan province has offered to purchase the 'Min' Fanglei and donate this magnificent bronze to the Hunan Provincial Museum in China. After close consultation with the current owner over the last several days, Christie’s has facilitated a private sale, allowing the vessel to be united with the lid kept at Hunan Museum. We are pleased to have brought together our consignor and these collectors resulting in this excellent outcome that will allow the ‘King of all Fangleis’ to go back to its place of origin in Hunan.
“As always, it is our duty to be a responsible steward of the important cultural objects that are entrusted to our care.” said Steven P. Murphy, CEO Christie’s, “Christie's feels privileged to have acted as custodian of the ‘Min’ Fanglei and to have facilitated its transfer."
With its combination of massive size, powerful proportions, and superb casting, this exceptional bronze ritual wine vessel represents a defining masterpiece, not only of Chinese art, but also within the context of global art history.
A MUSEUM-QUALITY MASTERPIECE
The vessel's massive size distinguishes this extraordinary work as one of the foremost examples of its kind. The surface is intricately cast with stylized animals and mysterious monster masks that provide a fascinating insight into early Chinese culture and beliefs. The crisp, precise casting of this complex design vividly illustrates why bronze vessels created during the Shang and Zhou dynasties rank among the finest examples of bronze casting the world has ever seen.
AN IMPECCABLE PROVENANCE
This bronze has been extensively published since as early as 1928, and has been handled by some of the most important dealers and collectors of the early 20th century, including A.W. Bahr, C.F. Yau and C.T. Loo.
A WORLD AUCTION RECORD
This vessel ranks amongst the most important Chinese archaic bronzes to ever appear at auction. When offered for sale at Christie's New York in March 2001, it set a world record for any Asian work of art and remains the world auction record for any archaic Chinese bronze sold at auction.