Lot 657
  • 657


100,000 - 150,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Height 13 in., 33 cm
the slightly compressed body rising to a short tapering neck set with two bowstring bands below the everted rim, the rounded sides well cast in shallow relief against a leiwen ground with a central band of taotie masks, each centered by a low narrow flange, below a band of confronting kuilong divided by three raised beast masks, the tall splayed foot with two pierced apertures above a band of addorsed birds and beast masks, the surface with gray patina mottled with some areas of malachite encrustation


Sotheby's New York, 7th December 1983, lot 49.
New York Private Collection.
Offered at Christie's New York, 4th June 1992, lot 179.
Canadian Private Collection.
Sotheby's New York, 20th March 2002, lot 18.

Catalogue Note

Pou first appeared in the Shang bronze casting repertory at the end of the Erligang phase and had disappeared before the beginning of the Western Zhou. The present piece is notable for its large size and dignified form. Its surface is intricately covered with an elaborate design of taotie and kuilong meticulously cast in low relief and accentuated with three prominently raised bovine heads and pairs of protruding eyes. A closely related pou, from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, is published in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., 1987, pl. 57, fig. 57, where the author also illustrated two related pou, one excavated in Chengguxian, Shaanxi province, p. 335, fig. 57.1, and the other formerly in the collection of Brenda Zara Seligman, now in the British Museum, London, p. 336, fig. 57.2. A similar pou of this type, but with a two-character inscription, in the Cernuschi Museum, Paris, is published in Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng [Compendium of Inscriptions and Images of Bronzes from Shang and Zhou Dynasties], vol. 25, Shanghai, 2012, no. 13963.

For examples of pou sold at auction, see a closely related example of a slightly smaller size sold at Christie's New York, 24th March 2011, lot 1239; one formerly in the Sano Art Museum, Mishima City, Japan, was sold in these rooms 14th September 2011, lot 265; four further examples sold at Christie's New York, 29th March 2006, lot 349; 19th September 1996, lot 207; 4th June 1992, lot 179; and 2nd December 1989, lot 27; one sold twice in these rooms, first 7th December 1983, lot 49, and later 20th March 2002, lot 18; and another sold in our London rooms, 6th February 1970, lot 16.