52
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An Exceptional 'Mythical Beast' Bronze Rhyton
Ming Dynasty, 16th / 17th Century
Estimate
500,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 2,560,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT
52
An Exceptional 'Mythical Beast' Bronze Rhyton
Ming Dynasty, 16th / 17th Century
Estimate
500,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 2,560,000 HKD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Playthings From The Collection of Edward T. Chow
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Collections
Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō -
Asian Lacquer

|
Hong Kong

An Exceptional 'Mythical Beast' Bronze Rhyton
Ming Dynasty, 16th / 17th Century
powerfully cast in the form of a mythical beast carrying a conch on its back, the vessel's rim modelled with a tall incurved shield in front and a flared spout towards the back, the mythical creature formed of the head of a dragon, the winged body of an aquatic bird, and the legs and claws of a bird of prey, its finely incised mane extending flambloyantly each side of the head and its plastron feathers spiralling down the sides, naturalistically dressed overall in a finely incised plumage and flanked by upswept wings envelopping the conch, the base incised with a two-character archaistic mark xuan yong, the bronze richly patinated to a deep reddish-brown colour, carved wood stand

 


21 cm., 8 1/4  in.
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Catalogue Note

The present piece is a fine example of later Ming bronzes which took their inspiration from archaic vessels as well as contemporaneous lacquers, porcelains, ivories, and jades to result in often playful and unique shapes and motifs. Bronze rhytons are uncommon and this vessel takes its horn-shaped form from jade counterparts which were created in China as early as the Han dynasty; an example excavated from the early-Western Han tomb of the Kang of Nan Yue, near Guangzhou, is illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji. Yuqi, vol. 9, Beijing, 1991, pl. 153. Rhytons carved from jade are known from the Ming dynasty; however, while the jade versions often took the form of the horn emerging from the mouth of a makara (dragon-fish), this piece is unusual as it surmounts the back of a mythical creature. Cast with the head of a beast and the body of a bird, this creature is also known from a rare group of zun attributed to the late Western Zhou dynasty, such as one offered in our New York rooms, 31st March 2005, lot 154. See also an animal zun excavated from Shaanxi Chang’an Zhangjiapo from a site datable to the early to mid-Western Zhou dynasty, illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIB, Washington D.C., 1990, pl. 119.3.

Playthings From The Collection of Edward T. Chow
Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Collections
Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō -
Asian Lacquer

|
Hong Kong