15
15
A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WEIGHT
WESTERN HAN DYNASTY
Estimation
60 00080 000
Lot. Vendu 106,250 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT
15
A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WEIGHT
WESTERN HAN DYNASTY
Estimation
60 00080 000
Lot. Vendu 106,250 USD (Prix d’adjudication avec commission acheteur)
ACCÉDER AU LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō: Early Chinese Art

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New York

A RARE GILT-BRONZE 'MYTHICAL BEAST' WEIGHT
WESTERN HAN DYNASTY
the domed weight deftly cast in the round in the form of combating animals,  centered by a large predatory beast, possibly a tiger, attacking two bears, with its sharp fanged teeth sunk into the haunches of one and tramping the other under its left foreleg, with a wild boar in pursuit behind, the bodies twisted and entwined, morphing into a solid mass of bodies, the base ungilt, wood stand, Japanese wood box (4)
Width 4 1/8  in., 10.5 cm
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Provenance

Collection of Captain Vivian Bulkeley-Johnson (d. 1968).
The Mount Trust Collection.

Bibliographie

William Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, London, 1962, pl. 84, fig. c.
Hayashi Minao and Higuchi Takayasu, Fugendō Sakamoto Gorō Chūgoku seidōki seishō / Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Sakamoto Collection, Tokyo, 2002, col. pl. 16.

Description

Mat weights crafted from precious materials such as bronze and jade, and often gilded or inlaid with gold, silver or gemstones, represent the pinnacle of craftsmanship during the Warring States period (475-221 BC) and Han dynasty (206 BC - AD 220). Conceived as functional objects to hold down domestic furnishings, such as the corners of mats used either for seating or for the board game known as liubo, weights were produced in sets of four, and were also interred for use in the after life.

The present weight is remarkable for its large size and particularly dynamic arrangement of several animals, whose bodies twist and turn, merging into an ambiguous mass. Whilst the majority of known mat weights measure approximately 3 inches or less in width, a small number of larger weights are known. Four Western Han dynasty bears, each measuring between 5 and 6 1/4  inches from the collections of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston; The Cleveland Museum of Art and the Saint Louis Art Museum were included in the exhibition A Bronze Menagerie: Mat Weights of Early China, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, 2007, cat. nos 4-6.

The sculptural depiction of animals in combat was introduced to China from the nomadic and semi-nomadic cultures of Central Asia, the Eurasian steppes, and the Ordos region, and was an innovation particular to the Warring States and Han dynasty periods. Compare smaller mat weights in the form of two energetic fighting animals, such as one illustrated in the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum's exhibition, ibid., p. 84, fig. c.; another from the collection of Dr. Paul Singer included in the exhibition "Animal Style" Art from East to West, Asia House Gallery, New York 1970, cat. no. 80; and a third sold at Christie's New York, 2nd December 1993, lot. 184.

Chinese Art Through the Eye of Sakamoto Gorō: Early Chinese Art

|
New York