Collection of Takeuchi Kinpei, Tokyo (until 1934).
Sotheby's New York, 30th March 2006, lot 258.
Thereafter with the present owner.
Like all bronze vessels of rectangular section, this fang lei shape is very rare. A similar piece is illustrated in Umehara Sueji, Shina-kodo seikwa, vol.1, part 1, Osaka, 1933, pl. 48, at that time in the collection of the Berlin State Museums; another example similarly lacking its cover in the Museum fur Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, is published in Ausgewaehlte Werke Ostasiatischer Kunst, Berlin, 1970, cat.no. 2; and a related piece with additional masks on the cover, in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, is illustrated in Rene-Yvon Lefebvre d'Argence, Bronze Vessels of Ancient China in the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, 1977, pl. XXVI left. See also a fang lei in the Shanghai Museum illustrated in Zhongguo taoci quanji, vol. 5, Beijing, 1996, pl. 178; and another related piece, from Shaanxi Fufeng Shaogong Gongshe, included in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIB, Cambridge, Mass., 1990, p.607, fig. 94.8.
Compare also a closely related fang lei, but with two raised lines instead of the design band on the foot, sold in our Hong Kong rooms, 16th November 1973, lot 6; and one with undecorated neck sold in these rooms, 4th November 1978, lot 314.
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