A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, FU DING YOU
A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, FU DING YOU
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PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTION
A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, FU DING YOU

LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC

Details
A BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER, FU DING YOU
LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC
The you of pear shape and elliptical section is raised on a spreading foot encircled by two bow-string bands. The sides are cast with a raised band of angular spirals between borders of circles, with an animal mask cast in high relief on each side and two loops at the ends, to which are attached the ends of the rope-twist handle. The domed cover has waisted sides and is decorated with a similar band below the segmented finial. Both the bottom of the interior of the vessel and the interior of the cover are cast with a two-character inscription, reading fu ding. The vessel has a greenish patina with areas of light malachite encrustation.
9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high, box
Provenance
Mathias Komor, New York, 1947.
Christie's New York, 22-23 March 2012, lot 1510.

Brought to you by

Michael Bass
Michael Bass

Lot Essay

The inscription cast inside the cover and in the bottom of the vessel, Fu ding, can be translated as 'Father Ding.' This is an abbreviated dedicatory inscription that means 'dedicate this vessel to Father Ding.'

Oval-bodied you vessel first appeared in the late second phase of Yinxu (about 1200 BC) and became one of the most popular wine vessel types in the ritual vessel repertoire thereafter. A very similar you vessel with a somewhat clumsy animal mask was found in 2006 in Anyang and dated to the third phase of Yinxu, illustrated in Yinxu xinchutu qingtongqi (Ritual bronzes recently excavated in Yinxu), Kunming, 2008, p. 219, no. 105. A related you vessel with ring-shaped knop and deer-shaped animal mask was found from a later tomb in Anyang, which is dated to the fourth phase of Yinxu, illustrated in ibid, p. 305, no. 158. Another similar you is illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington, DC,1987, pp. 388-89, no. 68, which is dated to the 11th century BC based on the style of the inscriptions. The present you therefore can be dated to the end of the late Shang period, 12th-11th century BC.

It is also interesting to note that the geometric design on the present you, which is often mistakenly read as leiwen, differs from leiwen by its arrangement in a regular pattern of triangles and rhombi. As noted by Bagley, this design is developed from the early Anyang designs of scorpions, as can been see on the covered hu vessel and ladle in the collection of the Museum of East Asian Art, Cologne, illustrated in ibid, pp. 390-391.
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