247
247
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE GILT-BRONZE DRAGON
SIX DYNASTIES
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 250,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
247
AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE GILT-BRONZE DRAGON
SIX DYNASTIES
Estimate
100,000150,000
LOT SOLD. 250,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China II

|
New York

AN EXCEPTIONALLY RARE GILT-BRONZE DRAGON
SIX DYNASTIES
well cast in a striding posture, its arched body raised on four powerful limbs terminating in three-clawed paws, trailed by a long curling tail, the ferocious head detailed with a single horn above protruding eyes and a long upturned snout exposing its sharp fangs
Length 5 1/2  in., 13.9 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).

Catalogue Note

The present dragon is notable for its arched body and lowered forearms, as if preparing to pounce. Only three other examples appear to be recorded. One from the Avery Brundage Collection, now in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, attributed to the end of Six Dynasties, is published in Réne-Yvon Lefebvre d'Argencé ed., Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture in the Avery Brundage Collection, Tokyo, 1974, pl. 28; the second in the Bristol City Art Gallery, attributed to probably Wei dynasty, is illustrated in P.J. Donnelly, The Animal in Chinese Art, London, 1968, pl. I-c; the third attributed to the Han dynasty, was sold in our London rooms, 2nd December 1974, lot 31.

Another type of gilt-bronze dragon from the Six Dynasties, characterized by the slender form and striding posture, include one from the collection of Stephen Junkunc, III, sold in these rooms, 19th March 2019, lot 116; one from the Grenville L. Winthrop Collection, now in the Harvard Art Museums, included in the exhibition, Grenville L. Winthrop: Retrospective for a Collector, Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1969, cat. no. 54; one in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, illustrated in Ross E. Taggart ed., Handbook of the Collection in the William Rockhill Nelson Gallery of Art and Mary Atkins Museum of Fine Arts, Kansas City, Missouri, 1959, p. 176 (bottom right); and three reputedly discovered at the Jincun tombs in Luoyang, Henan province, in 1928 and documented by Bishop William Charles White in his book Tombs of Old Lo-yang, Shanghai, 1934, pl. LIV, no. 133.

Other related examples include a gilt-bronze dragon with finely incised scales detailing the body and a thin serrated edge following the spine, formerly in the collection of Frederick Mayer, included in the exhibition Mostra d'arte cinese [Exhibition of Chinese art], Venice, 1954, cat. no. 159, and subsequently sold at Christie's London, 24th-25th June 1974, lot 143; one exhibited in Animals and Animal Designs in Chinese Art, Eskenazi, London, 1998, cat. no. 15; a larger example without gilt, included in the exhibition Six Dynasties Art from the Norman A. Kurland Collection, Eskenazi, London, 2018, cat. no. 10; and another modeled with the head and right forearm raised, in the Princeton University Art Museum, exhibited in Art of the Six Dynasties, China House Gallery/China Institute in America, 1975, cat. no. 38.

For Tang dynasty examples, see a slightly larger gilt-bronze dragon, modeled in a striding stance, with finely incised scales and a serrated dorsal fin, exhibited in Gilded Dragons. Buried Treasures from China's Golden Ages, British Museum, London, cat. no. 53, together with one supported on its forearms, excavated in Caochangpo, Xi'an, Shaanxi province, cat. no. 52; a larger example modeled in a climbing pose, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, exhibited in Arts of the T'ang Dynasty, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, 1957, cat. no. 102; a smaller example with a simpler casting, in the Metropolitan Museum of art, acc. no. 30.37.2; and another from the Szekeres Collection, exhibited in Chinese Art: The Szekeres Collection, J.J. Lally & Co., New York, 2019, cat. no. 30.

Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China II

|
New York