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)
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).
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.