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A RARE EARLY GOLD ZOOMORPHIC PLAQUE
EASTERN ZHOU DYNASTY

Worked in repoussé from a thin, gold foil sheet, forming a composite animal with a dragon's head on the right side and a bird's head on the left, the serpentine-like body decorated with a wide band incorporating an interlocking design of smaller rope-twisted dragons and snakes, some repair--5 1/4in. (13.4cm.) across, fitted box
Provenance
Sunglin Collection, Beijing and Berlin
Herbert J. Devine Galleries, New York, 1929
Ralph M. Chait Galleries, New York, 1944
Oscar Gerson Collection
A Private American Collection
Literature
Exhibited: Arts of the Chou Dynasty, John La Plante
Stanford University Museum, no. 58

This plaque is one of a series of seven from the well-documented Xinzheng horde, Hunan Province, discoverd in 1923, which yielded numerous bronzes along with one bearing an inscription datable to 575 B.C. Shortly thereafter the site was visited by C.W. Bishop. See Bishop, Bronzes of Hsin-cheng Hsien, Annual Report, Smithsonian Institution, 1926-1927. See also J.G. Andersson, The Goldsmith in Ancient China, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, no. 7, for a further discussion of this find. Orvar Karlbeck theorized that these plaques were mounted as pairs onto wood support beams in the tomb in order to create the impression of solid gold. It has also been suggested that they formed part of the armature of a wood or leather coffin

Six other examples from this series have been published and are in the Freer Gallery of Art, illustrated by Lawton, Chinese Art of the Warring States Period, Washington, 1982, Catalogue, no. 22; the Avery Brundage, Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, illustrated by d'Argence, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Avery Brundage Collection, 1975, pl. L, fig. A; the Richard Bull Collection and the Rafi Mottahedeh Collection, both illustrated by Singer, Early Chinese Gold and Silver, China Institute in America, New York, 1972, Catalogue, no. 4 and 3, and in the Carl Kempe Colleciton, illustrated by Gyllensvard, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, no. 9
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