An archaic bronze food vessel (Fangding), Early Western Zhou dynasty | 西周初 青銅饕餮紋方鼎
An archaic bronze food vessel (Fangding)
Early Western Zhou dynasty
of rectangular section supported on four columnar legs and set with a pair of upright U-form handles at the rim, the principal register of each side boldly cast with a prominent taotie mask in high relief, the oval eyes bulging and the horns, jaws, and other facial features emerging in curling tufts all against a leiwen ground, the narrow upper register with stylized birds in relief also against a leiwen ground, the edges and center of each side punctuated by vertical flanges cast with linear patterns, the legs cast with stylized pendent cicada patterns
Height 8¾ in., 22.2 cm
The ding is in overall good condition with some expected general wear and minor casting imperfections. X-Ray available upon request.
For more information on and additional videos for this lot, please contact Randi.Yiu@sothebys.com.
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.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
Wui Po Kok Antique Co, Ltd., Hong Kong, 1999.
In Chinese Bronze Age culture, ding were the most ritually significant among bronze ceremonial vessels, and the most closely associated with kingship and high rank. The vast majority of Shang and Zhou dynasty ding were produced with round bodies, and by contrast those with rectangular bodies (fangding) were comparatively rare. According to legend, the first bronze fangding was cast by Yu the Great, founder of the Xia dynasty. Archaeological evidence has yet to reveal pre-Shang bronze fangding; however, pottery versions from the Erlitou and Erligang periods do survive. In the Shang and Zhou dynasties, bronze fangding were used in ancestral worship and other sacrificial ceremonies, and their ownership appears to have been strictly regulated. Li Xixing notes in The Shaanxi Bronzes, Xi’an, 1994, p. 35 that in the Western Zhou dynasty, the gentry was allowed to acquire three ding, high officers five, dukes seven, and the king nine. This suggests that the present fangding would have originally belonged to one of the most elite members of the Western Zhou nobility.
This fangding is attributed to the early Western Zhou dynasty based on its stylistic characteristics, most notably the flat base and proportions of the body to the legs, and the avian-like features of the creatures in the top register of the sides. Other fangding cast in the same design, varying only slightly in the contours of the taotie, include one in the collection of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, published in Bernard Karlgren, 'Some Bronzes in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities', Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, no. 21, 1949, pl. 1; one in the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, illustrated in Chen Peifen, Xia Shang Zhou qingtongqi yanjiu: Xi Zhou, Shang [Study of Bronzes from the Xia, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties: Western Zhou, vol. 1], Shanghai, 2004, no. 203; and one in the Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo, published in Sugimura Yuzo, Idemitsu bijutsukan sensho, 3: Chugoku kodoki [Selected works from the Idemitsu Museum, 3: Ancient Chinese bronzes], Tokyo, 1966, pp 80-83, pl. 3. Fangding in this style that have sold at auction include one sold at Christie's New York, 22nd March 2012, lot 1508; and one sold at Christie's Hong Kong, 30th May 2017, lot 3109.
For another closely-related fangding, see an example formerly in the collections of Captain Dugald Malcolm and Bella and P. P. Chiu that sold most recently in our London rooms, 7th June 2000, lot 1. See also two others that have slightly more elaborate designs for the flanges and birds: one in the Shanghai Museum, published in Chen Peifen, op. cit., no. 202; the other formerly in the Brenda Zara Seligman Collection and now in the British Museum (acc. no. 1973,0726.3), published in William Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, Rutland, 1962, fig. 27a.
此方鼎斷代西周初期，主要鑒於腹底平坦、足腹之比例，以及器身上緣的鳳紋。可比另一相近紋飾的方鼎，現藏斯德哥爾摩東亞博物館，載於Bernard Karlgren，〈Some Bronzes in the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities〉，《Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities》，編號21，1949年，圖版1。另一類例現藏上海博物館，載於陳佩芬，《夏商周青銅器研究：西周篇 上》，上海，2004年，編號203。再有一例現藏東京出光美術館，收錄於杉村勇造，《出光美術館選書·3：中國古銅器》， 東京，1966年，頁80-83，圖版3。一尊同風格方鼎曾售於紐約佳士得，2012年3月22日，編號1508；另一例售於香港佳士得，2017年5月30日，編號3109。
再比一方鼎類例，曾屬Captain Dugald Malcolm收藏及趙氏山海樓舊藏，售於倫敦蘇富比2000年6月7日，編號1。另有兩例，鳳紋及扉棱更為繁複，其一現藏上海博物館，載於陳佩芬，同上，編號202；另一曾屬Brenda Zara Seligman收藏，現藏大英博物館（藏品編號1973,0726.3），收錄於William Watson，《Ancient Chinese Bronzes》，拉特蘭，1962年，圖27a。