J.J. Lally & Co., New York.
You vessels of this type belong to two groups - those with highly articulated surface decoration and those plainly decorated. The present lot belongs primarily to the latter but with some notable elements that distinguish it within the form.
Compare a very similar one in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D.C.,1987, p. 368, no. 63. Bagley describes the evolution of the form from "notably primitive and inarticulate" (p. 370) to "painstakingly naturalistic" (p. 371) in reference to the archetypal form with intense surface decoration to final edition of the "perfect oval-bodied you" of a type similar to the example on offer. Bagley describes the appearance of taotie masks on the lid and the innovative design change from downward curved beaks to upturned blunted hooks. The present double-owl you represents an interesting final step on the evolutionary ladder of this intriguing form.
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