102
102

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE TEXAS COLLECTION

THE TIAN SHI BI XIN GUI
AN IMPORTANT BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL
EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY,
11TH-10TH CENTURY BC
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 581,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
102

PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE TEXAS COLLECTION

THE TIAN SHI BI XIN GUI
AN IMPORTANT BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL
EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY,
11TH-10TH CENTURY BC
Estimate
150,000200,000
LOT SOLD. 581,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

|
New York

THE TIAN SHI BI XIN GUI
AN IMPORTANT BRONZE RITUAL FOOD VESSEL
EARLY WESTERN ZHOU DYNASTY,
11TH-10TH CENTURY BC
the rounded body rising to an everted rim, finely cast on each side with a taotie motif with prominent eyes, C-shaped horns and detached body, flanked by descending kui dragons beneath a band of confronted kui dragons, centered by a pair of animal masks and divided by bovine masks surmounting loop handles in the form of birds with clawed legs and long tails forming pendent extensions, the high splayed foot decorated with a band of dragons with long noses centered and divided by small flanges, the smooth patina of green and dark gray color with malachite encrustation, the interior with a four-character inscription, reading tian shi bi xin
Height 6 1/2  in., 16.5 cm
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Collection of Liu Xihai (1793-1852).
Collection of Wang Yirong (1845-1900).
Collection of Oriental Fine Arts, Inc., acquired from the late Nai Chi-Chang.
Parke-Bernet, New York, 1st December 1949, lot 135.
Property from the collection of Mr. and Mrs. Norman C. Armitage, Spartanburg, South Carolina.
Sotheby's New York, 22nd March 2001, lot 5.

Literature

Liu Xihai, Chang'an huogu bian, (The Records of Acquired Antiquities from Changan), 1905, vol. 1, p. 15. 
Wu Shifen, Meigulu jinwen, (The Records of Pursuing Antiquity: Archaic Bronze Inscriptions), 1850, vol. 1.2, p. 51.
Zhu Shanqi, Jingwuxinshi yiqi kuanzhi, (Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Jingwuxinshi Studio), 1854, vol. 2, p. 33.
Wu Dacheng, Hengxuan suojian suocang jijin lu, (Record of Bronzes seen by and belonging to Hengxuan [Wu Dacheng]), 1885, no. 41.
Wu Dacheng, Kezhai jigulu, (Kezhai's [Wu Dacheng] Records of Collecting Antiquities), 1896, vol. 7, p. 22.
Fang Junyi, Zhuiyizhai yiqikuanzhi kaoshi, (Interpretations of Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Zhuiyizhai Studio), 1899, vol. 6, p. 12.
Liu Xinyuan, Qigushi jijin wenshu, (Bronze Inscriptions in the Hall of Qigu), 1902, vol. 5, p. 17.
Sheng Yu, Yuhuage jinwen, (Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Yuhuage Studio), manuscript in the Beijing University Library, p. 164.
Luo Zhenyu, Yinwencun, (Writings Surviving from the Yin Dynasty), 1917, vol. 1, p. 16.
Luo Zhenyu, Sandai jijin wencun, (Writings Surviving from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties), 1936, vol. 2, p. 33.
Yan Yiping, Jinwen Zongji, (Corpus of Bronze Inscriptions), Taipei, 1983, no. 2011.
The Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Compendium of Yin and Zhou Bronze Inscriptions, Beijing, 1984, vol. 6, p. 96, no. 3223.
Wu Zhenfeng, Shaanxi jinwen huibian (Corpus of Bronze Inscriptions from Shaanxi Province), Xi'an, 1989, vol. 2, p. 138.
Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng, (Compendium of Inscriptions and Images of Bronzes from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties), Shanghai, 2012, vol. 8, p. 281, no. 3999.

Catalogue Note

The first two characters of the four-character inscription cast inside the vessel are a clan sign comprising the character tian and a naturalistic depiction of a wild boar.  The inscription may be interpreted as 'dedicating this vessel to a female ancestor by the name of xinin the heavenly boar clan'.

The present gui was owned by Liu Xihai (1793-1852) who presumably bought it in modern day Xian. In the second half of the 19th century, it passed to another famous collector, Wang Yirong (1845-1900). Wang is believed to be the first person to have discovered the oracle bone inscriptions.

A very similar gui vessel in the Sumitomo Collection is illustrated in Sen-Oku Hakuko Kan: Chinese Archaic Bronzes, Kyoto, 2007, p. 26, no. 22. Compare also a similar gui  vessel excavated from Shaanxi and illustrated in Bronzes of Shang and Zhou Dynasties Unearthed in Shaanxi Province, vol. III, Beijing, 1980, p. 155, no. 150.

Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art

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New York