A RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE TRIPOD CENSER, DING
A RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE TRIPOD CENSER, DING

LATE SHANG DYNASTY (1600-1100 BC)

Details
A RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE TRIPOD CENSER, DING
LATE SHANG DYNASTY (1600-1100 BC)
The sides of the vessel are crisply cast in deep relief with a wide band comprising three horned taotie-masks below a narrow kui dragon band, and all against a leiwen ground in low relief. It is further decorated with six flanges. The vessel is supported on three tall cylindrical feet, and the mouth rim surmounted by two arched handles. The surface is with a dark brown patination.
7 1/8 in. (18 cm.) high, box
Provenance
Previously offered at Christie's London, 16 November 1998, lot 142

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Angela Kung
Angela Kung

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Lot Essay

It is interesting to note the depth of the casting with three differentiated layers in relief: the leiwen ground, the taotie masks and the upturned corners of the motifs. The intricate portrayal of the kui dragons is closely related to those traditionally categorised as style V of the Shang dynasty. This type of dragons is comparable to those on the upper and lower bands of a Yu vessel, formerly from the Alfred F. Pillsbury Collection, now in the Minneapolis Institute of Art, and illustrated by M. Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China, Asia House Gallery, 1968, p. 89, no. 36. Compare an example with a similar two-register decoration in the Fitzwilliam Musuem, Cambridge, illustrated by R. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arther M. Sackler Collections, Washington D.C., 1987, fig. 86.2, where the author mentions another example excavated from Luosha Mangzhang, Henan province, illustrated in Zhongyuan wenwu, 1981.4, pl. 1:2.
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