18 March 2009
TWO UNUSUAL BRONZE AXES
LATE SHANG DYNASTY, CIRCA 12TH-11TH CENTURY BC
Both with a thin, broad blade with slightly curved sides flaring towards the curved cutting edge, with narrow slits at the corners and with a hafting hole in the nei, each blade cast on both sides in intaglio with a decorative panel surrounding a central hole, the panel on the smaller axe depicting two confronted serpent-like dragons reserved on a leiwen ground, the end of the nei cast on one side with a rhinoceros and the reverse with an angular bird-like pattern, the decorative panel on the larger axe with addorsed taotie masks with black inlay, the end of the nei cast with a whorl motif flanked by hooked angular scrolls
7 1/16 and 7 7/8 in. (18 and 20 cm.) long (2)
Smaller axe: J.T. Tai & Co., New York, prior to 1978.
Larger axe: acquired prior to 1965.
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Larger axe: Columbia University, New York, February 1965.
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