Important Chinese Art

Important Chinese Art

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 4. An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel (Jia), Middle Shang dynasty | 商中期 青銅饕餮紋斝.

Important Archaic Bronzes from the MacLean Collection

An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel (Jia), Middle Shang dynasty | 商中期 青銅饕餮紋斝

Auction Closed

September 22, 04:06 PM GMT


50,000 - 70,000 USD

Lot Details


An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel (Jia)

Middle Shang dynasty

商中期 青銅饕餮紋斝

the compressed globular body with a slightly convex base, resting on three blade-shaped legs and rising to a tall trumpet neck, set with a D-form handle at one side and a pair of posts with conical finials at the rim on the opposite side, the body and the neck each cast with a register comprising three units of taotie masks, the creatures' distinctive oval eyes emerging in high relief against the abstracted curvilinear facial features, each mask bordered above and below by a narrow band of raised circles, the well of the body with three triangular apertures revealing the hollow interior of the legs, the patina gray with areas of green oxidation

Height 11¼ in., 28.6 cm

Wui Po Kok Antique Co, Ltd., Hong Kong, 2000.



Richard A. Pegg and Zhang Lidong, The MacLean Collection: Chinese Ritual Bronzes, Chicago, 2010, pl. 10. 


彭銳查及張立東,《The MacLean Collection: Chinese Ritual Bronzes》,芝加哥,2010年,圖版10

The present jia can be attributed to the Middle Shang period (circa 1400-1250 BC) based on its form and decoration. Jia of this period have more dynamic profiles, more detailed relief patterns, and more heft than their Erlitou predecessors, but are less ornate than jia of the mature Anyang phase. A Middle Shang jia of this type, attributed to the late 14th - early 13th century BC, is in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (acc. no. 14.85). Another jia of this form and period, also with the apertures where the legs meet the base of the body, was formerly in the collection of Avery Brundage, is now in the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (obj. no. B60B45). A related jia produced circa the end of the Middle Shang period, which bears the same design elements as the present jia, but has more finely detailed taotie and lacks the dotted borders, from the collection of Yolanda and Paul Lippens is published in Christian Deydier, The Lippens Collection of Ancient Chinese Bronzes, Hong Kong, 2019, cat. no. 12.