188
188
AN ARCHAIC BRONZE RITUAL VESSEL (DING) LATE SHANG / EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY
Estimate
200,000300,000
JUMP TO LOT
188
AN ARCHAIC BRONZE RITUAL VESSEL (DING) LATE SHANG / EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY
Estimate
200,000300,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Chinese Art

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AN ARCHAIC BRONZE RITUAL VESSEL (DING) LATE SHANG / EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY
the deep U-shaped body supported on three columnar legs, the flattened everted rim set with two small upright loop handles, a band of kuilong encircling the vessel beneath the rim, their bodies comprised of hooked lines and leiwen and shown in 'split representation' centered by the face in profile with a large raised eye, the remainder of the exterior sides cast with a diagonal grid, each diamond-shaped unit with an individual leiwen border and centered with a conical boss, a single pictogram cast to the well, the sage-green patina with patches of malachite, dark gray and reddish-brown encrustations
Height 8 in., 20.4 cm
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Provenance

Sotheby's London, 11th December 1979, lot 25.
Sotheby's London, 15th May 2008, lot 522. 

Literature

Liu Yu and Lu Yan, ed., Jinchu Yin Zhou jinwen jilu [Compilation of recently discovered bronze inscriptions], Beijing, 2002, pl. 192.
Wang Tao and Liu Yu, A Selection of Early Chinese Bronzes with Inscriptions from Sotheby's and Christie's Sales, Shanghai, 2007, pl. 25.
Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng [Compendium of Inscriptions and Images of Bronzes from Shang and Zhou Dynasties], vol. 1, Shanghai, 2012, no. 00334.

Catalogue Note

Robustly cast with an attractive design of raised bosses, this type of distinctive 'diamond and boss' decoration appears to have been an innovation of the Anyang bronze foundries and very popular in the late Shang, based on the excavated examples of the period.  Most often seen on gui and yu, this motif is commonly found on round-bodied vessels.  For a further discussion on the decoration see Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D.C., 1987, pp 504-514.

The striking surface decoration has been accentuated through the deliberate use of carbon, a practice common to Shang bronzes. A related ding, but of slightly smaller size and with cicadas cast below the rim, excavated in 1970 from Xioaning tun, Anyang, Henan province, and now in the collection of the Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Beijing, is illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji, vol. 2Beijing, 1997, pl. 26; and a larger version, and with blades cast onto the legs, in the Avery Brundage Collection, is included in Rene-Yvon Lefebvre-d’Argence, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Avery Brundage Collection,  Berkeley, 1966, pl. IV (right).

Ding vessels decorated with this design were more commonly cast with circles in place of the raised bosses; see one in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, illustrated in Bernard Kalgren, ‘New Studies on Chinese Bronzes’, Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, no. 9, 1937, pl. XXXII, fig. 132; another from the collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, published in Christian Deydier, Les Bronzes Chinois, Fribourg, 1980, pl. 14, sold in our London rooms, 3rd December 1963, lot 171, and again in these rooms, 19th March 1997, lot 2; and a third also sold in these rooms, 19th September 2001, lot 8. See also two related vessels excavated in the late Shang tomb of Fu Hao, a consort of King Wu Ding (r.1324-1265 BC), published in Tomb of Lady Hao at Yinxu in Anyang, Beijing, 1980, pl. XI, figs 1 and 2; and another excavated in 1985 from a tomb site near Anyang, Henan province, published in Zongguo qingtongqi quanjiop. cit., pl. 23.

Important Chinese Art

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