This vessel and others like it are the result of a tremendous interest in archaic bronzes during the Northern Song period, brought about by a renewed interest in Confucianism and anything associated with the rituals of the Bronze Age. For other archaistic vessels of similar form and date, but with different inlaid decoration see, Chinese and Japanese Bronzes, Michael Goedhuis, London, 1989, no. 80 and one in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, illustrated in Homage to Heaven, Homage to Earth, Toronto, 1992, no. 53. See, also, the gold and silver-inlaid example of Song/Ming date sold in these rooms, 22 March 1999, lot 75. The archaic inspiration for these vessels is embodied by a Warring States tapir-form vessel inlaid with gold, silver and turquoise illustrated in A Selection of Archaeological Finds of The People's Republic of China, Beijing, 1976, pl. 44.
The result of Oxford thermoluminescence test no. 466k66 is consistent with the dating of this lot.