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The zuo bao yi guia magnificent and important bronze ritual food vessel

The gui superbly cast raised on a square pedestal, the rounded body decorated on each side in high relief with a large taotie mask with raised eyes with rectangular slit pupils framed by curved fangs, ears and curved, hooked horns, bisected by elaborate bird-shaped flanges, the foot with confronted kui dragons with ‘bottle’ horns separated by four smaller hooked flanges, the everted rim set with a pair of massive loop handles in the form of birds with hooked beaks and curved wings, their tall legs and tails forming a pendent extension, their crest in the shape of a powerful animal head with pointed ears and an open jaw biting an upward bent flange, the integral square pedestal with small bovine masks in the four upper corners and large taotie masks on the sides, centered on each corner, with scale-covered horns, raised eyes, paired fangs and pointed leaf-shaped ears, separated by confronted birds with  tall crests and curled tails and claws, all reserved on a finely executed leiwen ground, a three-character inscription on the bottom inside the gui, reading zuo bao yi, the surface with an olive-green patina The appearance of pedestaled vessels is one of several distinct developments in the form of ritual bronzes in the early Western Zhou dynasty. In the late Shang and early Zhou period, vessels were sometimes placed on stands (jin) in order to raise the height of vessels that were used in ritual. Coming into the Zhou period, food containers such as gui were cast with an integral podium. This particular form seems to have been favored by the elite class of society, and often indicated the social status of the owner.  One of the most celebrated Western Zhou bronzes is the Tian Wang Gui, a pedestaled gui unearthed in Qishan county, Shaanxi province in the middle of the 19th century, and now in the China National Museum, Beijing.  The earliest dated Western Zhou bronze is the Li Gui, also a pedestaled gui from a hoard in Lintong county, Shaanxi province, discovered in 1976; its inscription records the conquest of the Shang by King Wu of Zhou on the jiazi day when the Suixing (Jupiter) appearing on the sky (equivalent to the 20th day, first month of the year 1046 BC).  More recently, in June 2012, archaeologists from the Shaanxi Institute of Archaeology excavated an early Western Zhou tomb of a high ranking aristocrat in Shigushan, Baoji city, and a pedestaled gui was among the numerous bronze artifacts. Although there have been findings of pedestaled gui vessels in different provinces including Shaanxi, Gansu, Henan, Shandong, Liaoning and Jiangsu, the prototype is likely to have originated from the Zhouyuan area (Baoji) in Shaanxi. Taking a closer look at the present Zuo Bao Yi Gui, a striking feature must be noted.  Although a number of early ritual bronzes bear the distinctive taotie mask, the present example is highly unusual in the positioning of this motif: the bovine horned mask is centred on each of the four corners of the square base, rather than on the side facets.  This gives them a different viewing perspective and lends a three-dimensional sculptural quality to the vessel, lacking in others.  With the raised eyes, nostrils, curved fangs, ears and raised bovine horns, the mask is vivid and powerful.  This design is extremely rare, found only on very few other examples. Two pedestaled gui vessels dating to the early Western Zhou period were excavated from the tomb of Yu Bo in Zhifangtou village, Baoji city, Shaanxi province in 1981 and are illustrated in Zhongguo wenwujinghua dacidian, qingtong juan (Dictionary of gems of Chinese cultural relics: Bronzes), Shanghai, 1992, p. 111, nos 0388, 0389. Both gui have the taotie masks placed on the corners of the square base. A third example, the date of which has been debated, is in the collection of the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and published in Roger Ward and Patricia J. Fidler, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, A Handbook of the Collection, New York, 1993,  p. 278. The fourth example is the Bo Ju Gui sold in our London rooms on 8th June 1993, lot. 119 (fig. 1). Pedestaled gui have survived in only small numbers. According to Zhang Maorong’s study Xizhou fangzuogui yanjiu (A research on the Western Zhou pedestaled gui vessel), there are only some sixty square pedestaled bronze gui vessels in various forms extant, ranging in date from the beginning to the end of the Western Zhou dynasty, the majority of them in major museums around the world.  There are several early examples in the collections of the Palace Museum in Beijing, the National Palace Museum in Taipei, the Freer Gallery of Art in Washington D.C., the Harvard Art Museum (formerly the Fogg Museum of Art) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts (Pillsbury Bequest), the Art Institute of Chicago (Buckingham collection), the Newark Museum, the Sumitomo Collection in Kyoto, and the Hakutsuru Art Museum in Kobe.  A wide range of motifs is seen on these vessels including in particular taotie mask, kui-dragons, birds, elephants, hybrid-animals, stylized vertical ribs and wavy patterns. The most interesting comparison to the Zuo Bao Yi Gui is the above mentioned Bo Ju Gui.  Like the present example, it is also decorated with the striking taotie mask on the corners of its base. However, on the Bo Ju Gui the taotie mask has heart-shaped horns and the terminals of the taotie turning into bird heads, and the execution of the double-bodied serpent on the ring foot also differs from the present example.  These variations suggest that they were cast by different foundries, although they all date approximately to the early Western Zhou period.  The Bo Ju Gui was made for Bo Ju who resided in the territory of Yan, the northeast region of the Zhou Kingdom, and the present Zuo Bao Yi Gui seems stylistically closer to the Zhou ancestral land at Baoji. The Bo Ju Gui came from the collection of the celebrated collector and connoisseur Pan Zuyin (1830-1890), and in 1946 was sold by the Shanghai antique dealer T.Y. King to a European collector. The Zuo Bao Yi Gui was also sold by T.Y. King, two years later in 1948, to H.E. Alexandre J. Argyropoulos, the Greek Ambassador to China.   In the inventory list of Pan’s bronze collection, there is a record of a Zuo Bao Yi Gui. That could possibly be the current piece.

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The zuo ce huan youan important bronze wine vessel early western zhou

Well cast of oval section, the slightly compressed pear-shaped body raised on a splayed pedestal foot encircled by a bowstring band, cast in high relief on each side of the neck with a tapir head between two bowstring bands interrupted by loops attached to the tapir-head terminals of the overhead arch handle, the slightly waisted domed cover with wedge-shaped tabs projecting from either end and decorated with a similar band, echoing the designs on the body, surmounted by a ring-shaped knob, with matching thirty-five-character inscription on the insides of both vessel and cover, the surface of mottled green patina and green and azurite encrustation on the interior The significance of this wine vessel lies first with the inscription seen on the bottom of the interior and underneath the cover. The particularly elegant form of this you is emphasized by the minimalist surface decoration, a style that gained popularity in the Middle Western Zhou period. Differing from the western collectors’ usual taste for form and ornamentation, the traditional Chinese collectors of archaic bronzes are primarily drawn to inscriptions cast onto the bronze vessels. The significance of this present example lies first with the inscription seen on the bottom of the interior and underneath the cover. The inscription consists of thirty-five characters and can be translated as ‘it was in the nineteenth year when the King resided at Chi, that Wang Jiang ordered Zuo Ce Huan to make peace with Yi Bo, and Yi Bo presented Huan with cowries and textiles. Huan extolled the graciousness of the King’s consort, and made this precious ritual vessel for his father Kui.’ The inscription clearly records a historical event and offers important clues for the study of the early dynastic history of China.  Previously, several scholars including Guo Moruo (fig. 5) and Liu Qiyi thought that the bronze vessel belonged to the reigns of King Cheng (r. 1042-1021 BC) or King Kang (r. 1020-996 BC), but the majority of scholars now agree that it should be dated to King Zhao’s reign (r. 996-977 BC.).  Although there are several alternative interpretations, regarding the making of the bronzes, the following is the most current. The inscription describes an exchange of gifts between the Zhou royal court and one of the regional powers; in the nineteenth year of the reign (978 BC), the royal consort Wang Jiang charged Huan, the Court Register to have a peaceful meeting with the head of the Yi-chiefdom Yi Bo (one theory is that he was the father of Wang Jiang). The latter then paid tribute to the Zhou court, and (Huan) made this ritual vessel as a sacrifice to his father. The event was also recorded on another bronze wine vessel the Zuo Ce Huan Zun (fig. 1), which was commissioned by the same person as a set together with the present piece, and is now in the collection of the National Palace Museum, Taipei and is included in Gugong xizhou jinwenlu (Inscriptions from the Western Zhou bronzes in the Palace Museum), Taipei, 2001, pp.60, no.33. A tracing of this vessel’s inscription was first published in Wu Rongguang’s (1773-1843) Yunqingguan jinwen (Inscriptions from archaic bronzes in the Yunqingguan studio) (fig. 3) in 1842, with an explanatory note by the famous radical politician Gong Zizhen (1791-1841). In 1888, the illustrious scholar Sun Yirang (1848-1908) wrote an essay on the inscription, disputing Gong’s opinion; three years later another scholar Liu Xinyuan also commented on the naming of the vessel.  Their studies all appear to be based on the rubbings published by Wu Rongguan. The whereabouts of the bronze itself, however, did not become public knowledge until its owner Wu Shifen (1796-1856) included the inscription in his books Meigu lu (The record of pursuing antiquity) (fig. 4), and Meigulu jinwen (Inscriptions from archaic bronzes in the record of pursuing antiquity), and in the former stated that the bronze you vessel was from his own collection. Although Wu compiled these books in the 1850s, they were not published until long after his death. The latter half of the 19th century was a ‘golden time’ for private collectors in China, not because there were many of them, but more because they interacted closely with each other, sharing knowledge and trading pieces.  After Wu’s death, and likely soon after, the bronze you entered the collection of another prominent collector, Pan Zuyin (1830-1890).  In 1896, in his book Kezhai jigu lu (The record of collecting antiques in Kezhai studio), Wu Dacheng (1835-1902) included an ink rubbing of the Zuo Ce Huan You inscription with a stamped seal 'Zhen An cang you' (you from the collection of Zheng An). As mentioned earlier, Zheng An was another name of Pan Zuyin. Wu Dacheng (1835-1902) was a very close friend of Pan, also from Suzhou, and a celebrated collector himself. The provenance of the Zuo Ce Huan You can be confirmed by another original inscription rubbing in the collection of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica in Taipei, which bears another studio seal of Pan Zuyin, ‘Zheng An suo cang jijin’ (auspicious bronzes from the collection of Zheng An) on the lower left-hand corner (fig. 2). Further, the name of the bronze also appears in the list of Pan’s bronzes, which was compiled by Gu Tinglong, the nephew of Wu Dacheng, and the former director of the Shanghai Library which was published in Gu Tinglong, 'Pangulou cangqi mu' (The list of bronze vessels in the Pangulou studio), Guoli Beiping Tushuguan guankan (Journal of National Beiping Library), vol. 7, no. 2, 1933, p. 80. Even though the inscription has long been familiar to scholars of Chinese bronzes and been published in more than twenty publications, the image of the vessel has rarely been seen. In his lifetime, Pan Zuyin kept his precious collection of bronzes in Pangulou and published only part of his bronzes in Pangulou yiqi kuanzhii (Inscriptions from archaic bronzes in the Pangulou studio). The majority of his bronze collection was never published, including the present youand the Mu Xin Zun, perhaps to ward off attention from powerful officials in the court, or thieves and forgerers. Wu Shifen (1796-1856) was an epigraphist, calligrapher and Secretary of the Cabinet at the court of the Daoguang Emperor and was one of the great collectors of his generation. As a descendant of a renowned Shandong family, Wu was related through marriage to another prominent Shandong collector, Chen Jieqi (1813-1884). They collaborated on the ground-breaking book Fengni kaolue (Researches on clay bullae), in which ancient Chinese clay bullae were recorded and studied for the first time.

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The mu xin zuna superb and very rare bronze wine vessel early western

Of cylindrical form with four notched flanges down the sides, elegantly cast with taotie masks on the foot in high relief with prominent eyes, ears, forehead shield and hooked horns, flanked by dragons with slim S-shaped bodies and dragon heads, the middle section with a band of vertical ribs between bands of confronted birds with curled crests, beaks and tails and protruding eyes, all below the flaring neck showing a collar band of curly dragons and four upright blades, each centered on a flange, with upward looking taotie masks, all on a dense leiwen ground, a six-character inscription at the base inside the vessel, reading ya qi yi zuo mu xin zun, the surface with a smooth green patina The cylindrical zun vessel shape was popular during the Late Shang and early Western Zhou period and there are many surviving examples. This present example is exceptional in its design. There is only one similar example of almost identical design and decoration, but with a different inscription, now in the collection of the Cleveland Museum of Art, illustrated in Max Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China, New York, 1968, pp. 110-111, no. 47 (fig. 4). It is possible that these two bronzes were made in the same foundry. In Western Zhou archaeology, ritual vessels such as you and zun are often found as a set. For instance, in tomb no. 13 at Zhuyuangou village, Baoji city, Shaanxi province in 1980 a bronze zun was found together with two other cylindrical you vessels, all decorated with vertical ribs, apparently forming a set. In fact, the present zun had two you ‘brothers’, now separated, one in the Freer Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. (fig. 2) and the other in the Idemitsu Museum in Tokyo (fig. 1). This remarkable relationship can be proven by the identical inscription and very similar design found on all three bronzes. Moreover, the two you were originally in the collection of the famous late Qing collector Duan Fang (1861-1911), and were illustrated in his book Taozhai jijin lu (fig. 3). Thus, we may surmise with good reason that present zun was unearthed at the same time as the two you in Duan Fang’s collection, probably in the latter half of the 19th century. Our research puts new light on the fascinating story of the provenance of this zun. In the collection of the Institute of History and Philology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, there is an ink rubbing of its inscription, with a handwritten colophon and stamped with a red seal ‘Zheng An Suo Cang Ji Jin' (Auspicious Bronzes in Zheng An’s collection) (fig. 5). ‘Zheng An’ is another name of the celebrated collector Pan Zuyin (1830-1890). Pan was renowned for his connoisseurship, and in particular his collection of early bronzes. The name for his studio was Pangulou (Tower for Hanging on to Antiquity) and the present zun was listed among 450 bronzes kept in the studio and was published in Gu Tinglong, 'Pangulou cangqi mu' (The list of bronze vessels in the Pangulou studio), Guoli Beiping Tushuguan guankan (Journal of National Beiping Library), vol. 7, no.2 , 1933, p. 79 (fig. 6). However, Pan may not have been the first owner of the piece. In the Yuhuage jinwen (this book is in manuscript form and the only copy is kept in Library of Peking University), compiled by the Manchu prince Sheng Yu (1850-1900), there is a rubbing of the same inscription, and on it stamped another collector's seal that can probably be traced back to Chen Jieqi (1813-1884) (fig. 7), a famous collector of the 19th century. Chen and Pan were close friends and often exchanged goods, and the bronze zun probably first entered Chen’s collection and later passed to Pan. Sheng Yu was also a member of the intimate circle of the collectors, and he was given rubbings by Chen and Pan to compile the book. The inscription on this zun has also been published in several other publications. Luo Zhenyu, one of the most important epigraphists in the late Qing and early Republican period recorded the inscription under the category 'zun vessel' in his monumental book: Sandai jijin wencun (Surviving writings from the Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasties), vol. 11, p. 29. However, in more recent publications, the inscription rubbing of the present vessel is ignored, or mistakenly attributed to other vessels because the scholars have not seen the vessel itself such as in Yinzhou jinwen jicheng (Compendium of inscriptions from bronzes of the Yin and Zhou dynasties), Beijing, 1984, nos. 5292-5294 and Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng (Compendium of inscriptions and images from bronzes of the Shang and Zhou dynasties), Shanghai, 2012, pp. 59-61. The reappearance of this bronze vessel is therefore, not only exciting to collectors but also to any scholar who is interested in the subject of archaic bronzes. The inscription can be translated as ‘Ya Qi Yi made in honor of his mother Xin this ritual vessel’. Ya is an official title conferred on the chief of a clan.   Pan Zuyin (1830-1890) was an epigraphist, calligrapher and Compiler of the Hanlin Academy, but is particularly famous for his collection of archaic bronzes and rare books. He kept his bronze collection in the Pangulou and published part of his collection in the Pangulou yiqi kuanzhi (Inscriptions from archaic bronzes in the Pangulou collection). Two of the most important bronze vessels unearthed in the Qing dynasty, the Da Ke Ding (grand ding vessel of Ke) and Da Yu Ding (grand ding vessel of Yu), were once in Pan’s collection and in the 1950s were donated by his descendants to the Shanghai Museum. Chen Jieqi (1813-1884) was another celebrated collector, epigraphist and Compiler of the Hanlin Academy. His collection of epigraphic materials was encyclopedic and included inscriptions from archaic bronzes, bronze seals, stone steles and ancient tiles. The most important archaic bronze vessel unearthed in the Qing dynasty, the Mao Gong Ding (ding vessel of Duke Mao), which bears an inscription of 499 characters, was once in Chen’s collection and is now in the National Palace Museum, Taipei.

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The fu bing juean extremely rare and very fine pair of bronze wine

Each finely cast with a globular body supported on three crisp blade-shaped legs, intricately decorated with two taotie masks with round pupils in high relief and linear bodies in thread relief, dissolved on a leiwen ground, the loop handle on one side issuing from a bovine mask bisecting the taotie mask, a long channelled spout and pointed 'tail' forming the rim, decorated with blade-like motifs and triangular scroll lappets radiating upwards from the neck under the spout, the capped finials incised with scrollwork, both vessels with identical inscriptions on the inside wall, consisting of one clan sign and three characters reading zuo fu bing, the surface with a light green patina (2) The present pair of jue cups is extremely rare; their 'baroque' silhouette appears to be virtually unparalleled in this type. Such a unique form is a testament to the innovative craftsmanship in the Western Zhou dynasty. It is also notable that the intricate design on the present jue vessels represents a new development of bronze ornamentation in the early Western Zhou dynasty, which is probably the last major innovation of the decorative styles on archaic bronzes. There are, however several comparable examples in terms of the style of ornamentation. Compare a pair of Western Zhou covered jue cups, one in the Yale University Art Gallery, illustrated in George J. Lee, Selected Far Eastern Art in the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, 1970, p. 5; the other one in the Hakutsuru Fine Art Museum, Kobe, and illustrated in the Hakutsuru Eika (Selected Masterpiece of Hakutsuru Museum), Kobe, 1978, pp. 48-49, no. 18. Another jue vessel with very similar design is in the Sen-oku Hakuko Kan and illustrated in Sen-oku Hakuko Kan Sumitomo Collection, Tokyo, 2002, p. 45, no. 50; compare also a Shang jue cup of globular body with a single 'mushroom' post from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, discussed and illustrated in Max Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China, New York, 1968, pp. 40-41, no. 12a. The inscriptions on the inside wall of both vessels each consist of four characters; the first graph is yet undeciphered, probably referring to a personal name, and the inscription can be translated as 'X made [this vessel] for Father Bing'. The pair of jue cups was once in the collection of Chen Rentao (1906-1968) (fig. 1).  Chen was a well-known businessman and collector in Shanghai and moved to Hong Kong in 1946.  His collection, which included a number of very rare masterpieces, was published in 1952, where he dated the pair of jue to the Late Shang or Early Western Zhou period, and noted that they were unearthed from Luoyang.

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A bronze tripod pouring vessel with cover (liu ding) early spring

The flat cover well cast in relief with a pair of symmetrically entwined serpent-dragons with their heads emerging at opposite sides near the rim, encircling the centrally positioned tiger-form handle, aligned with two crouching monkeys, the underside of the cover with three small serpent-dragon masks cast in relief to serve as stops to hold the cover in place, the rounded sides supported by three cabriole legs and cast in flat relief with a frieze of scales in two horizontal bands below a border of double-ring pattern under an everted rim, interrupted by a short spout in the form of a tiger head, the two upright loop handles joined by struts to the rim, all with traces of the black inlay remaining in the recessed areas, the patina of gray-green with areas of encrustation This thoughtfully designed and well-cast small ding vessel belongs to the category of nongqi (playful vessels), which were made for the personal enjoyment of high ranking aristocrats; compare a group of nongqi, unearthed from Hancheng city, Shaanxi province illustrated in Jinyunianhua, Shanxi Hancheng chutu Zhoudai Ruiguo wenwuzhenpin (Golden age of the Rui state: Zhou Dynasty treasures from Hancheng city, Shaanxi province), Shanghai, 2012, pp. 216-217. A bronze covered liu ding of very similar form and decoration, but lacking the monkeys on the cover, unearthed in 1989 in Shangma village, Houma city, Shanxi province, now in the collection of the Shanxi Provincial Museum, is illustrated in Zhongguo wenwujinghua dacidian: Qingtong juan (Dictionary of gems of Chinese cultural relics: Bronzes), Shanghai, 1992, p. 176, no. 0619; another is in the collection of the Shanghai Museum and was included in the exhibition Treasures from Shanghai: Ancient Chinese Bronzes and Jades, The British Museum, London, 2009, p.102, cat. no. 36; the same ding is also illustrated in Chen Peifen, Xia Shang Zhou qingtongqi quanji: Dong Zhou, Yi (Compendium of Chinese bronzes: Eastern Zhou, volume one), Beijing, 1995, p. 32, no. 445.

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A bronze wine vessel (gu) late shang dynasty, 12th-11th century bc

The elegantly curved slender vessel resting on a tall foot-ring, crisply cast on the middle and lower sections with fine taotie masks with prominent eyes, ears, horns centered on notched flanges, detailed with intaglio, against a ground of intricate leiwen spiral, all below the tall trumpet neck decorated with shield blades filled with taotie masks rising from a band of angular serpents, a single pictograph inside the foot, the patina of overall silvery green with encrustation The present gu is notable for its fine casting which creates an elegant silhouette and with its exquisite ornamentation, is typical of the final stage of the development in Anyang. This style is characterized by the high-raised motifs against the ground patterns. For the most refined examples such as the present piece, the main taotie masks are further detailed by intaglios and the background is interspersed with leiwen spirals. The single pictogram inside the foot depicts a curved rectangular axe head attached to a shaft and set on a tripod base; it may be translated as li dao, a clan name known from a number of other bronzes. A closely related gu from the Sackler Collection in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Washington D.C., is discussed and illustrated in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 255, no. 38; another similar gu vessel, unearthed in 2001 from Huayuanzhuang village, Anyang city, Henan province is illustrated in Yinxu xinchutu qingtongqi (Ritual bronzes recently excavated in Yinxu), Kunming, 2008, p. 152, no. 62. The T.Y. King antique shop was founded by Jin Caibao in Shanghai in the early Republican period. With more than thirty years of continuing success, T.Y. King was one of the largest antique shops in Shanghai. The shop specialized in stone sculptures, archaic bronzes, sancai pottery wares and premier Song and Yuan wares. In 1949, the King family moved to Hong Kong and continued its antique business there.

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A bronze taotie mask early western zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century bc

Cast with bulging eyes, flanked by pointed leaf-shaped ears, beneath upcurved bovine horns with hollow tips, the wide upper jaw defined by an out-curved snout and a pair of hooked fangs, with dark green surface patina and widely scattered reddish cuprite encrustation The function of bronze taotie masks of this type has been discussed by several scholars. Max Loehr proposes that objects of this kind were part of the ritual equipment of a shaman wearing a mask at performances. However, recent scholarship suggests that this type of taotie mask was used as a decorative frontlet mounted on the forehead of a chariot horse possibly to demonstrate the magical power of the rider. The present mask is unusual in its casting technique. In order to render hollow space on two tips of the horns, the tips were cast separately from the main part of the mask, which entailed the skillful use of multiple clay piece moulds. An almost identical bronze taotie mask in the collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts is illustrated in Ancient Chinese Bronzes, Ceramics and Jade in the Collection of the Honolulu Academy of Arts, Honolulu, 1979, p. 95, no. 36; a bronze taotie mask of this type with scale-covered horns excavated in 2011 from an Western Zhou tomb site in Suizhou city, Hubei province, is discussed and illustrated in the ‘Hubei Suizhou Yejiashan M65 fajue jianbao’ (Preliminary excavation report of the tomb no. 65 at Yejiashan), Jianghan Kaogu, 2011, 3, p. 30, pl. 22.

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An inlaid bronze beaker warring states period, 5th-3th century bc

The tall tapering body, resting on a low foot-ring, the sides divided by two broad silver bands into two registers, each inlaid with a pair of addorsed birds, interrupted by a small loop on each side of the upper body section, with malachite encrustation The present beaker is a rare example of Warring States inlaid work. It was once in the collection of the prominent European collector, D. David-Weill who donated art works to major museums such as the Musée Guimet and the Louvre. The present piece was sold in our London rooms in 1972 and thereafter to another important collector, Arthur M. Sackler, and is discussed and illustrated in Jenny So, op.cit., pp. 416-8, no. 86. An inlaid bronze beaker of a slightly different form, excavated in Mancheng county, Hebei province is illustrated in Mancheng Hanmu fajue baogao II (A Report of Excavation of the Han Dynasty Tomb in Mancheng II), Beijing, 1980, pl. 39, no. 1:4273. A taller plain vessel of this shape in the Singer collection is illustrated in Max Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China, New York, 1968, p. 148, no. 66; compare also a set of stacked beakers from the Warring States period in the Katherine and George Fan Collection illustrated in Shouyang jijin (Ancient Chinese bronzes from the Shouyang Studio), Shanghai, 2008, p. 180, no. 66. Jenny So, op.cit., comments that vessels of this kind “are known so far only from Warring States sites in Shandong Province, within the ancient realm of Qi.” She also believes the size and decoration of the present piece are "likely the result of later reworking."

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* Note that the price doesn’t correlate with today’s value, but only relates to the actual end price at the time of the purchase.

Tin & Metal

Auctions that include objects in tin and various kinds of metal can be found here, including cutlery, pots, plates and bowls in pewter, copper and brass, nickel silver and other metals.