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PROPERTY OF THE SANO ART MUSEUM, MISHIMA CITY, SHIZUOKA The Sano Art Museum was founded in 1966 by Ryuichi Sano (1889-1977), a successful businessman and a leader in Japanese industry. Located in Mishima City in Shizuoka Prefecture, the collection is housed in a distinctive Shoin and Sukiya-style building within the Ryusenen Garden. A graduate of the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Sano studied metallurgy and was influential in the establishment of the metal and chemical industries, founding Tekkousha and the Nihon Sekei Glass Company, and was honored for his work in the field in 1965 with the Second Order of the Sacred Treasure. He began collecting at the suggestion of his father, himself a collector of Japanese paintings, and quickly formed a collection of Japanese metalwork, swords, and ceramics, several of which are designated as National Treasures and Important Cultural Property in Japan. Sano's interests in metal works expanded to include Chinese archaic ritual bronzes vessels. Mr. Sano was a great philanthropist, and was instrumental in several high profile philanthropic efforts focused on cultural and educational projects of his hometown, Mishima City, including the establishment and gifting of the museum and donating to the construction of Ruysenen Garden. The proceeds from the sale of the following lot will go to benefit the museum's acquisition and exhibitions fund, in order to continue to fulfill Mr. Sano's philanthropic efforts and vision.


The heavily cast vessel has a shallow bowl with incurved rim and is cast in high relief around the upright exterior with eight whorl-decorated bosses flanked by scrolls and arranged in pairs in four panels above four large openings in the underside and at the top of the hollow pedestal foot, which is cast with rows of scale or feather pattern divided by an encircling ribbed band at the waist. There are traces of cinnabar red and green pigment in the recesses.
7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) high, box
Kinpei Takeuchi (1873-1960).
Ryuichi Sano (1889-1977), acquired in Tokyo, 1950s.
Sano Art Museum, Mishima, Japan.
Shu Kan Iho (Relics of Han and Pre-Han Dynasty), Tokyo, National Museum, 1932, pl. XI.
Sekai Bijutsu Zenshu, vol. 12, China (1), Shang, Zhou and Warring States, Japan, 1962, p. 155, no. 36.
Sano Art Museum, 10 November 1966, no. 134.
Sano Bijutsuken zohinsho, Sano Art Museum, 1986, p. 75, no. 99.
Selected Works from the Collection of the Sano Museum of Art, Sano Art Museum, 1991, p. 39, no. 60.
Shu Kan Iho (Relics of Han and Pre-Han Dynasty), Tokyo, National Museum, 1932, pl. XI.
On loan: Tokyo National Museum, 21 November 1984-21 October 2008

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Lot Essay

According to Jenny So in Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1995, pp. 179-80, the origins of the dou shape can be traced back to shallow ceramic tazza of the Longshan culture in the late Neolithic period. The ceramic form continued to be used throughout the Shang and Zhou periods, but in the Western Zhou period attempts were made to give the modest ceramic form a more ornamental appearance by fashioning it from lacquer over a wood core or casting it in bronze. Early in the Eastern Zhou period the dou shape acquired a lid, and by the sixth century BC it had acquired lug handles on the bowl.

A bronze dou (Fig. 1) virtually identical to the present vessel, of approximately the same size (19.5 cm. high) is in the Baoji County Museum and illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - 5 - Xi Zhou (1), Beijing, 1997, p. 71, no. 75, where it is dated middle Western Zhou. Unlike the present vessel, the Baoji dou bears a ten-character inscription on the interior of the bowl which states that the vessel had been made by Zhou Sheng for his ancestors. Both the present dou and the Baoji example feature raised whorl medallions on the exterior of the bowl and a bold scale or feather pattern that entered the repertory of Western Zhou bronze designs in the 9th-8th century BC, as evidenced by several vessels of similar date cast with this pattern illustrated by J. So, ibid., pp. 222-25, no. 36 and figs. 36.1-.5. Hiyashi Minao, in Inshu Jidai Seidoki Monyo no Kenkyu, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1984, p. 55, fig. 7, illustrates a bronze dou that appears to be either the present dou or the Baoji example, amongst eleven other line drawings and photographs of pottery and bronze dou that illustrate the development of the dou shape through the late Western Zhou period. The dou illustrated as fig. 6 is of very similar shape to the present dou and the Baoji example, and is also decorated with raised whorls on the exterior of the bowl, but the tall splayed foot is cast in openwork with an interlaced scroll pattern. The whorl motif decorating the bowls of these three vessels can also be seen on contemporaneous lacquer dou, such as the example with mother-of-pearl inlays from Henan Shan Xian Shangcunling illustrated by J. So, ibid., p. 181, fig. 24.2, and the lacquer dou with ceramic inserts from Henan Luoyang illustrated as a line drawing, ibid., p. 180, fig. 24.1.

Technical Examination Report available upon request.

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