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A RARE PAIR OF GILT-BRONZE PHOENIX PLAQUES
A RARE PAIR OF GILT-BRONZE PHOENIX PLAQUES

HAN DYNASTY (206 BC-AD 220)

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A RARE PAIR OF GILT-BRONZE PHOENIX PLAQUES
Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220)
Each dancing mythical bird well cast with wings spread and long tail arched, the partially concave back cast with three pins for attachment, with extensive azurite and blue-green encrustation
6 and 5 7/8in. (15.2 and 14.9cm.) across, box and stand (2)

Lot Essay

During the Han period, the phoenix is commonly shown with a fanned tail and spread wings. It is also referred to as the 'Red Bird' in Five Element theory, and correlates with the summer season and the cardinal direction of South. Phoenixes in exuberant positions similar to these can also be found in other wares from the Han period. See, for example, the circular end from an eaves-tile molded with a phoenix relief dated Eastern Han illustrated by W. Watson, Pre-Tang Ceramics of China: Chinese Pottery from 4000 BC to 600 AD, London, 1991, p. 225, no. 146; and the rubbing from a stone tablet, also dated Eastern Han, in M. Hayashi, In Shu Jidai Seidouki Monyu no Kenkyu II, Tokyo, 1986, p. 243, no. 7-39.
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