15 - 16 March 2015
A SMALL BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL, GU
SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH-12TH CENTURY BC
The trumpet-shaped neck is undecorated while the middle section, which is set between double bow-string borders, is flat-cast with taotie masks formed by pairs of downward-facing birds with prominent pupils and quills stacked below the coiled tail. Four birds of similar type, all shown facing in the same direction, fill the quadrants of the band encircling the foot. The bronze has a mottled milky-green patina and some areas of encrustation.
7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) high, Japanese wood box
Rikunosuke Ogawa Collection, Kyoto, prior to 1935.
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Compare the taller (25 cm.) gu of this type with similar bird decoration illustrated by R. W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington, D.C., 1987, pp. 216-17, no. 25.
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