18 March 2009
A BRONZE RITUAL WINE JAR AND COVER, FANGHU
WESTERN HAN DYNASTY, DATED INSCRIPTION CORRESPONDING TO 1 BC
The tapering body and high truncated pyramidal foot cast in low relief with panels of fine abstract curl pattern within plain strap borders, each side of the body with a taotie mask handle suspending a loose ring cast with scrolls and with three projecting pierced flanges, two in the form of birds, the third in the form of confronted bird heads, the neck with further striated curls cast in low relief in triangles separated by plain pendent triangles, the flat top and canted sides of the cover similarly decorated and applied with four S-shaped bird-form finials that convert to supports when the cover is inverted, with inscriptions incised on two sides of the mouth rim, with olive-grey patina and areas of malachite encrustation
19 7/8 in. (50.5 cm.) high
Acquired prior to 1968.
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R. Poor, Bronze Ritual Vessels of Ancient China, New York, 1968.
J. So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1995, p. 283, fig. 50.5.
The nine-character inscription cut into the exterior on one side of the mouth rim reads Yuanshou ernian wuku rong siqian [sheng], which may be translated as, "Second year of Yuanshou (corresponding to 1 BC during the reign of the Western Han Emperor Ai); the military storage house can accomodate four thousand sheng (unit of measurement for wine)." The four-character inscription cut into the opposite side of the rim refers to the capacity of the vessel, "20 jin 8 liang."
The result of Oxford thermoluminescence test no. 366L39 is consistent with the dating of this lot.
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