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A RARE BRONZE RITUAL VESSEL AND COVER, HU

EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY

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A RARE BRONZE RITUAL VESSEL AND COVER, HU
Eastern Zhou Dynasty
Of tall, pear shape, the body encircled by three main bands of interlocking, long-snouted dragons divided by narrower bands of stylized birds, flanked on the neck by two taotie masks suspending loose ring handles, the waisted foot with a chain of leaves divided by bands of twisted rope, the cover similarly decorated with interlocking dragons around a central fire symbol, surmounted by three mythical animals, with mottled grayish-olive patina
16 7/8in. (42.5cm.) high

Lot Essay

Hu of the same form, with and without covers, are not uncommon, but no other of this exact shape and with this particular design appears to be published. For examples see Shang Zhou Qingtong Jiuqi Tezhan Tulu (Catalogue of the Special Exhibition of Shang and Chou Dynasty Bronze Wine Vessels), National Palace Museum, Taiwan, 1989, p. 267, fig. 1 and p. 223, pl. 80; Tom Chase, Ancient Chinese Bronze Art, New York, 1991, Catalogue, p. 61, no. 24, pl. V; and an example with a much denser design of interlaced dragons, Chen Peifen, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Shanghai Museum, London, 1995, p. 93, no. 59

The unusual decoration on the foot of the present vessel can best be compared to bands of decoration on a Late Spring and Autumn period (late 6th/early 5th century B.C.) ding published by Jenny So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 1995, vol. III, pp. 154-155, no. 19, from North Central China, Shanxi and Henan provinces
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