The inscription on the present bell set consists of nine characters, which can also be found on the cover of an early Western Zhou dynasty bronze you. The cover is cast to the interior wall with a long inscription, which begins its sentence with the same nine characters. See Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng [Compendium of Inscriptions and Images of Bronzes from Shang and Zhou Dynasties], vol. 24, Shanghai, 2012, no. 13345.
Surviving Western Zhou dynasty bronze bells are rarely found in sets. Only a few examples appear to be published, including a set of eight known as the Zuo Zhong, from the middle to late Western Zhou dynasty, excavated in Qijia village, Fufeng county, Shaanxi province in 1960, now in the Shaanxi History Museum, Xi'an, published in Bronzes of Shang and Zhou Dynasties Unearthed in Shaanxi Province, Beijing, 1980, pls 156-163; another set of sixteen bells known as the Jinhou Mu Zhong, dated to the reign of King Li of Zhou (890-828 BC), discovered from tomb no. 8 in Qu village, Quwo county, Shanxi province in 1992, fourteen of which are now in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, and the remaining two in the Shanxi Archaeology Institute, Taiyuan, published in Chen Peifen, Xiashangzhou qingtongqi yanjiu. Xizhou [Study of bronze from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou dynasty. Western Zhou], vol. 2, 2004, pl. 427.
Examples of sets of bronze bells at auction are incredibly rare, and no other Western Zhou dynasty bell sets appear to have been sold. For later examples, see a set of nine Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period, niuzhong, sold in our London rooms, 17th November 1999, lot 706; and a set of eleven niuzhong, from the Spring and Autumn period, sold at Christie's New York, 25th March 1998, lot 42.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale