AN ARCHAIC BRONZE WINE VESSEL, GU LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH – 11TH CENTURY BC | 商末公元前十二至十一世紀 青銅獸面紋出戟亞牛丁觚 《亞牛丁觚》銘
AN ARCHAIC BRONZE WINE VESSEL, GU
LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12TH – 11TH CENTURY BC
the elegantly curved slender vessel resting on a tall foot-ring, crisply cast on the middle and lower sections with fine zoomorphic masks with prominent eyes, ears, horns centred on notched flanges, against a ground of intricate leiwen spiral, all below the tall trumpet neck decorated with shield blades filled with further masks rising from a band of angular serpents, the inner foot with an inscription probably reading Ya niu ding gu, the inner foot with an inscription probably reading Ya ding gu, wood stand and Japanese wood box
32 cm, 12 ½ in.
As visible in the photos, the vessel has extensive malachite-green encrustation, with some loss to detail. There are small chips, especially at the foot. There is a section of the mouth which has been restored. This is clearly visible in x-ray photos, which are available upon request.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE.
Yamanaka & Co., Ltd.
Collection of Mrs Christian R. Holmes (1871-1941).
Sotheby Parke-Bernet, New York, 14th/15th November 1963, lot 258.
Mayuyama & Co., Ltd, Tokyo.
Hirano Kotoken, Tokyo.
Christian R. Holmes 夫人（1871-1941年）收藏
Umehara Sueji, Shina Kodo Seika/Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America, vol. 1, Osaka, 1933, cat. no. 53.
Selected Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Collection of Mrs Christian R. Holmes, n.d.
Noel Barnard and Cheung Kwong-Yue, Rubbings and Hand Copies of Bronze Inscriptions in Chinese, Japanese, European, American, and Australasian Collections, Taipei, 1978, vol. 7, no. 1080.
《Selected Ancient Chinese Bronzes from the Collection of Mrs Christian R. Holmes》，年份不詳
The present gu is notable for its fine casting which creates an elegant silhouette and with its exquisite ornamentation, is typical of the final stage of the development in Anyang. This style is characterised by the high-raised motifs against the ground patterns. For the most refined examples such as the present piece, the main taotie masks are further detailed by intaglios and the background is interspersed with leiwen spirals.
A closely related gu from the Sackler Collection in the Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Washington D.C., is discussed and illustrated in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Washington, D.C., 1987, p. 255, no. 38; another similar gu vessel, unearthed in 2001 from Huayuanzhuang village, Anyang city, Henan province is illustrated in Yinxu xinchutu qingtongqi [Ritual bronzes recently excavated in Yinxu], Kunming, 2008, p. 152, no. 62; and another example with a pictogram of the clan li dao from the collection of H.E. Alexandre J. Argyropoulos, included in Jean-Pierre Dubosc, Mostra d'Arte Cinese, Venice, 1954, cat. no. 6, was sold in our New York rooms, 17th September 2013, lot 1.