The development and flourishing of the bronze workshops in Anyang coincided with the establishment of the Shang capital to the modern-day village of Xiaotun, near Anyang, by King Wuding (r. circa 1250-1192 BC). With his conquest of the Jiangnan regions, bronze factories in the south were destroyed and the artisans were transferred to Anyang. Bronze vessels of Anyang are characterized by highly ornate designs that often incorporate zoomorphic features. Crafted using piece-mold casting, sharp, bold designs as seen on the present were achieved. For a thorough analysis on the development of bronze workmanship during this time, see Su Rongyu, ‘Bronze-Casting Technology in the Late Shang Dynasty’, Mirroring China’s Past. Emperors, Scholars, and their Bronzes, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2018, pp 32-37.
A zun of this type, in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, was included in the museum’s exhibition Shang Ritual Bronzes in the National Palace Museum Collection, 1998, cat. no. 53; one in the Hunan Provincial Museum, is illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji, vol. 4, Beijing, 1998, pls 117 and 118; and another, in the Brooklyn Museum, New York, is included in Robert W. Bagley, op. cit., p. 281, fig. 45.1. Further related zun include one sold twice in our London rooms, 13th November 2002, lot 34, and again 12th May 2010, lot 16; and two sold in these rooms, 11th September 2012, the first of similar size, lot 146, and the second of larger size and from Yamanaka Co. Ltd., and J.T. Tai, lot 159.
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