A SILVER AND GOLD-INLAID ARCHAISTIC ANIMAL-FORM VESSEL AND COVER, ZUN MING DYNASTY
- Bronze, inlaid with gold and silver, with green pigment
For a discussion on the origins of archaic tapir-shaped wine vessels, see ibid., p. 154, where fig. 1 shows an illustration of such a vessel from the collection of Emperor Huizong (r. 1100-1126) of the Song dynasty. A woodblock impression of a zun which would have served as inspiration for later vessels of this type, and is likely to have been known to late-Ming metalsmiths, is published in the 1528 edition of the Bogu tulu [Illustrated collection of antiques].
Compare a tapir-form bronze vessel, attributed to the Yuan dynasty, but with only the collar in relief, included in the exhibition Through the Prism of the Past: Antiquarian Trends in Chinese Art of the 16th to 18th Century, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 2003, p. 186, cat. no. III-55, where cat. no. III-59 is an inlaid, archaistic fenghuang with a vase on its back; and another related vessel inlaid with metal wire but without the rich relief decoration, published in Le Musée Chinois de l’Impératrice Eugénie, Paris, 1994, p. 28, fig. 20. See also a silver-inlaid bronze vessel in the form of an archaistic mythical beast, attributed to the late Ming / early Qing period, sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 30th May 2006, lot 1519, with the maker’s name Song Yi inscribed on the base.