Lot 1327
  • 1327

A LARGE IMPERIAL GILT-BRONZE ARCHAISTIC TEMPLE BELL, BIANZHONG MARK AND PERIOD OF KANGXI, DATED TO THE 52ND YEAR OF THE REIGN OF EMPEROR KANGXI (CORRESPONDING TO 1713)

Estimate
3,500,000 - 5,000,000 HKD
Sold
bidding is closed

Description

the large bell finely cast, suspended from a double-headed dragon handle, each beast powerfully cast with eyes bulging and nostrils flaring above long curling whiskers, the mouth clenched open to reveal its tongue flicked up between sharp fangs, with two long studded horns extending back over its head along a combed mane with finely incised details, the two scaly bodies intertwined and crouching in ambush, the large barrel-shaped body with four panels of alternating bosses and triagrams, divided by two rectangular panels, one inscribed with the characters Kangxi wushier nian zhi, and the other with wu she

Provenance

Removed from the Yuanmingyuan, Beijing, 1860.
Spink & Son Ltd., 21st November 1932.  The invoice records "From the Summer Palace at Pekin, 1860."
Collection of Lord and Lady Hesketh and the Trustees of Frederick, 2nd baron Hesketh (deceased).

Catalogue Note

The inscription on one side records the date of manufacture and reads 'Kangxi wushier nian zhi' which translates as 'Made in the 52nd year of the Kangxi reign' (corresponding to 1713 A.D.). The reverse is inscribed with two characters 'wu she' which possibly indicate a classical pitch. Bells of this form but dated to different years of Kangxi's reign are believed to have come from a set made for the Temple of Agriculture at Beijing. See one sold in our New York rooms, 24th April 1975, lot 240; and another in these rooms, 17th May 1989, lot 454.

Compare also two bells sold in our New York rooms, one from the collection of Allen J. Mercher, 1st November 1956, lot 40, and lot 41. A related bell of similar handle and dated to the 55th year of Kangxi (corresponding to 1716 A.D.) but with dragons in relief around the body, was included in the exhibition Treasures from the Palace Museum, Tokyo, 1982, cat.no. 3; and another Kangxi bell of the same pattern is illustrated in Zhongguo meishu quanji, vol. 10, Beijing, 1987, pl. 176.

Close