the deep U-shaped body supported on three tapered columnar legs, crisply cast below the flattened everted rim and pair of upright loop handles with a single register of three low-relief taotie masks, comprised of slit boss eyes and hooked ribbons cast with intaglio C-scrolls indicating the nose and horns, all reserved on a fine leiwen ground and centered on raised flanges, the interior wall clearly cast with two 'clan-sign' pictograms, the surface patina of light green tone
Compare two related ding, one in the Shanghai Museum and another excavated at Shaanxi Qishan Dongjiacun, both illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D.C., 1990, figs. 17.5 and 17.6, respectively, where the author states that ding with sides that taper toward the lip came into fashion during the second half of the early Western Zhou as a modified form of the standard rounded ding.
See also a related ding, but cast with further taotie masks on each leg, from the collection of R.H. Ellsworth, sold in these rooms, 19th March 2002, lot 7. For the general proportions and decoration compare the much larger ding from the royal tomb of Fu Hao, consort of King Wu Ding (1324-1265 BC), which can be dated to the late 13th/early 12th century BC, illustrated in Tomb of Lady Hao at Yinxu in Anyang, Beijing, 1980, pl. 5 and fig. 28, p. 41.
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