Lot 662
  • 662


60,000 - 80,000 USD
60,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Height 6 3/4  in., 17 cm
each of square section, cast with the slightly tapering sides raised on four angled feet with bracketed openings in between, decorated around the body in low relief with two bands of highly stylized animals, detailed with diagonal hooked wings and large oblong-shaped eyes at the corners, all reserved on a finely executed leiwen ground, the interior with a five-character inscription reading Bo Feng zuo lü yi, the surface patinated with malachite encrustation (2)


Collection of Pauline B. (1910-2000) and Myron S. Falk, Jr. (1906-1992), acquired from the German dealer, Plaut, in Beijing, 1937.
Christie's New York, 16th October 2001, lot 170.


Art: Genuine or Counterfeit, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, 1940, cat. no. 30b.
Arts of the Chou Dynasty, Stanford University Museum, Palo Alto, 1958, cat. no, 22.


Chen Mengjia, Meidiguozhuyi jielue de woguo Yin Zhou tongqi jilu [Compilation of Yin and Zhou archaic bronzes in America], Beijing, 1962, nos A634, R322 and R323.
Zhou Fagao, Sandai jijin wencun bu [Supplements of surviving writings from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasties] Taipei, 1980, no. 323.
Yan Yiping, Jinwen Zongji [Corpus of bronze inscriptions], Taipei, 1983, nos 4956 and 4957.
Minao Hayashi, In Shū Jidai seidōki no kenkyū. In Shū seidōki souran [Research of bronze ware of the Shang and Zhou dynasties], Tokyo, 1984, pl.45.
Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, ed., Yinzhou jinwen jicheng [Compendium of Yin and Zhou bronze inscriptions], Beijing, 2007, no. 03270.
Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng [Compendium of inscriptions and images of bronzes from the Shang and Zhou dynasties], vol. 24, Shanghai, 2012, no. 13520 (one of the pair).

Catalogue Note

The present pair of fangyi, each inscribed with a five-character inscription to interior, is exceedingly rare, and no other examples appear to be recorded. Compare several related fangyi of similar style, including one with its cover, decorated around the exterior with pendent blade motifs below a band of scrolls, attributed to be 11th / 10th century B.C., sold in our London rooms, 15th December 1981, lot 9; one also with its cover, decorated around the mouth and foot with bands of taotie divided by vertical flanges, catalogued in late Shang dynasty, in the Meiyingtang Collection, published in Wang Tao, Chinese Bronzes from the Meiyingtang Collection, London, 2009, pl. 66; and another from the 11th / 10th century B.C., from the Oeder Collection, sold in our London rooms, 19th June 1987, lot 13; one decorated with bands of kuilong, dating to the late Shang to early Western Zhou dynasty, formerly in the collection of J. Lionberger Davis Art Trust, now in the Saint Louise Art Museum, St. Louis, illustrated in Steven D. Owyoung, Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Saint Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, 1997, pl. 19; and another decorated with only a single band of taotie around the mouth, late Shang, from the Sakamoto Collection, published in Sakamoto Collection. Chinese Ancient Ritual Bronzes, Nara, 2002, pl. 64. Of all ritual bronze shapes, fangyi is one of the rarest due to its relatively short production period. Vessels of this type first appeared in the early to mid-Anyang period. The earliest fangyi excavated from archaeological sites associated with the Yinxu period already show the formal and decorative features. Cast in the form of a casket of rectangular section, the characteristic features shared by these early fangyi are the straight vertical sides and the distinctive foot with a wide arched opening. For examples, see Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. 1, Washington, D.C., 1987, pp 432-433, figs 77.1-77.9. Already by the time of the burial of Lady Hao, consort to the King Wu Ding at around 1200 BC at Xiaodun, Anyang, fangyi appear to have been well established in the Shang bronze casting repertory, demonstrated by the number of fangyi discovered in her tomb. Following the fall of the Shang dynasty and its extravagant drinking culture, fangyi also declined in use and eventually disappeared after the Western Zhou dynasty.