View full screen - View 1 of Lot 120. A very rare bronze inscribed and dated goosefoot lamp, Guigong Yanzudeng, Western Han dynasty, dated Jingning 1st year, corresponding to 33 BC | 西漢 竟寧元年( 公元前33年) 桂宮銅雁足鐙.
120

A very rare bronze inscribed and dated goosefoot lamp, Guigong Yanzudeng, Western Han dynasty, dated Jingning 1st year, corresponding to 33 BC | 西漢 竟寧元年( 公元前33年) 桂宮銅雁足鐙

VAT reduced rate

Estimate:

70,000 - 90,000 GBP

Property formerly in the collection of Dr. David Ho (1911-1986)

A very rare bronze inscribed and dated goosefoot lamp, Guigong Yanzudeng, Western Han dynasty, dated Jingning 1st year, corresponding to 33 BC | 西漢 竟寧元年( 公元前33年) 桂宮銅雁足鐙

A very rare bronze inscribed and dated goosefoot lamp, Guigong Yanzudeng, Western Han dynasty, dated Jingning 1st year, corresponding to 33 BC | 西漢 竟寧元年( 公元前33年) 桂宮銅雁足鐙

Estimate:

70,000 - 90,000 GBP

Lot sold:

138,600

GBP

Property formerly in the collection of Dr. David Ho (1911-1986)

A very rare bronze inscribed and dated goosefoot lamp, Guigong Yanzudeng

Western Han dynasty, dated Jingning 1st year, corresponding to 33 BC 

西漢 竟寧元年( 公元前33年) 桂宮​銅雁足鐙


the annular bowl supported on one side by a straight leg encircled by a band at the centre, and terminating in a foot with three webbed toes set on a square base rounded at the back and chamfered at the front, the underside of the circular bowl with a 43 or 44 character inscription in zhuanshu reading Gui gong yanzudeng, gao liu cun zhong sanjinsan liang, Jingning yuan nian kaogong fu wei nei zhe zao, hujian, zuobo, sefufu. Yuanguang zhu, youcheng gong, lingxiangsheng. Di sayi

Height 13.5 cm, 5¼ in.

Overall very good condition.


中文內容僅供參考,請以英文原版為準。整體品相良好。


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.


我們很高興為您提供上述拍品狀況報告。由於敝公司非專業修復人員,在此敦促您向其他專業修復人員索取諮詢,以獲得更詳盡、專業之報告。

準買家應該檢查每款拍品以確認其狀況,蘇富比所作的任何陳述均為專業主觀看法而非事實陳述。準買家應參考有關該拍賣的重要通知(見圖錄)。

雖然本狀況報告或有針對某拍品之討論,但所有拍賣品均根據印於圖錄內之業務規則以拍賣時狀況出售。

Acquired in New York in 1970 (according to David Ho's notes).

於1970年得自紐約(傳)


Dr. David Ho (Chinese name Ho Hangchi 何昌熾) was born in Canton/Guangzhou in 1911. His father was a well-known dentist in Nanjing who counted Chiang Kai-shek among his patients. David Ho pursued an illustrious career in International Law. He first studied political sciences at the University of Shanghai (1930-1932) followed by comparative and international law studies at Suzhou University. After moving to France, in 1941 he obtained a PhD in law from the University of Paris. In 1962 he joined the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London. From 1949 until his retirement in 1971, David Ho worked as a legal officer at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. He relocated to Geneva in 1971 where he and his wife lived until his death in 1986. 


Interested in Chinese history and art, David Ho was particularly fascinated by objects that were inscribed. His extensive archive and research suggest that it was during his time in New York that he began collecting and researching Chinese artefacts. The bronze ‘Gui Gong’ goosefoot lamp presented here was one of last pieces he acquired from a friend in New York in 1970. It was also the object he most esteemed and whose history and context he researched extensively. 

Lu Zengyang, Baqiongshi jinshi buzhengxi [Epigraphy Supplement of Baqiongshi], 1925, vol 2, pg. 6.

Ke Changsi, Mizhai jinwen taben [Rubbings of Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Mizhai], 1931-1941.

Rong Geng, Hanjinwen Lu [Records of Han Bronze Inscriptions], 1931, vol. 3, pg 22.

Luo Zhenyu, Zhensongtang jigu yiwen, [Gathering of Ancient Writings in the Zhensongtang Studio: addendum], 1931, vol. 13, pg. 25-26.

Luo Zhenyu, Xuetang cang jinwen [Bronze Inscriptions in the Collection of Xuetang], 1931-1940.

Liu Tizhi, Xiaojiaojingge jinwen taben [Rubbings of Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Xiaojiaojingge], 1935, vol. 11, pg. 95.

Dr John Ferguson, Lidai Zhulu Jijinmu/Catalogue of the recorded bronzes of successive dynasties, Shanghai, 1939, no. 1118.

陸增祥,《八瓊室金石補正》,1925年,卷2,第6頁

柯昌泗,《謐齋金文拓本》,1931至1941年,膠州柯氏手寫並黏拓本

容庚 ,《漢金文錄》,1931年,卷3,第22頁

羅振玉,《貞松堂集古遺文》,1931年,卷13,第25-26頁

羅振玉,《雪堂藏金文》,1931至1940年

劉體智,《小校經閣金文拓本》,1935年,卷11,第95頁

福開森,《歷代著錄吉金》,上海,1939年,編號1118

Dr. David Ho (Chinese name Ho Hangchi 何昌熾) was born in Kanton in 1911. His father was a well-known dentist in Nanjing who counted Chiang Kai-shek among his patients. David Ho pursued an illustrious career in International Law. He first studied political sciences at the University of Shanghai (1930-1932) followed by comparative and international law studies at Suzhou University. After moving to France, in 1941 he obtained a PhD in law from the University of Paris. In 1962 he joined the Honourable Society of the Inner Temple in London. From 1949 until his retirement in 1971, David Ho worked as a legal officer at the United Nations Secretariat in New York. He relocated to Geneva in 1971 where he and his wife lived until his death in 1986. 


Interested in Chinese history and art, David Ho was particularly fascinated by objects that were inscribed. His extensive archive and research suggest that it was during his time in New York that he began collecting and researching Chinese artefacts. The bronze ‘Gui Gong’ goosefoot lamp presented here was one of last pieces he acquired from a friend in New York in 1970. It was also the object he most esteemed and whose history and context he researched extensively. 

This rather curious bronze lamp belongs to a small and very distinctive group of bronze utensils made in the late Warring States and Han period. Realistically cast in the form of a single goose foot, this object serves as a lamp and is a rather ingenious design that is both decorative and functional. Known as a 'goosefoot lamp' (yanzu deng), its name derives from its form, and as the number of surviving lamps of this type demonstrate, lamps cast in the form of a single goose foot seem to have been most popular in the late Western and early Eastern Zhou period, as discussed by Ye Xiaoyan, ‘Zhanguo Qin Han de deng ji you guan wenti’, in Wenwu, 1983.7, p. 81. 79-81.


The present lamp represents the standard goosefoot lamp design, with a well-defined single leg ending in three webbed toes resting on a square platform and supporting a circular oil container at the top. This basic design underwent few if any modifications from when it was first made in the late 3rd century BC, as two slightly taller examples excavated from Qin tombs in Ta’erpo. Xianyang, Shaanxi illustrate, see Wenwu, 1975.6, p. 73. Detailed inscriptions on surviving lamps give an idea of how formalised and highly organised the production process of these popular lamps (and other bronze utensils) was, often recording the year the lamp was made, its size and weight, the place where it was made and by whom, and sometimes even the place for which the object was made. The inscription on the base of the present goosefoot lamp's oil container comprises 44 characters in total (plus an illegible 45th character at the end of the inscription), and may be translated as follows 'this Gui Gong bronze goosefoot lamp, six cun tall and 3 jin and 12 (or 3) liang heavy, was made in the first year of the Jingning reign (33 BC), by artisan Fu of the Imperial workshop (kaogong) for the inner office (neizhe), supervised by the manufacturing officers Jian (title hu), Bo (title zuo), Fu (title sefu), Guang (title yuan) and Xiang (title youcheng gong ling)... '.


It is not surprising that in length, style and content, the inscription on this lamp follows a standardised formula found on many other bronze utensils made in the Han period. The present lamp is almost identical in size and weight to a similarly inscribed goosefoot lamp excavated from a Han tomb in Liujia cun, Baoji, Shaanxi, in 1970, now in the collection of the Shaanxi History Museum. In fact, the inscriptions on the two lamps reveal that while both lamps were made by different artisans, these were supervised by the same officialsin the same Imperial workshop. The excavated lamp was made in the 3rd year of the Jianzhao reign (36 BC) while the Gui Gong lamp was made shortly after in the first year of the Jingning reign (33 BC). A third inscribed lamp dated to the first year of the Suihe reign (8 BC) mentions a different artisan and different supervisors yet is cast in the same form and size as the two earlier examples, compare The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 102, no. 86. The similarities between these three goosefoot lamps demonstrate that such objects were made as multiples in official workshops where production was supervised and subjected to a strict quality control.


Bronze goosefoot lamps disappeared from the artistic repertoire after the Han dynasty. They suddenly reappear in the Song period at a time when literati began to take an interest in the material culture of the past. In the Northern Song antiquarian studies led to the establishment of a formal classification system that divided ancient bronzes into different categories. It is in this context that examples of bronze lamps of this type first appear in the works of leading literati-scholars. Ouyang Xiu (1007-1072) records a goosefoot lamp in his Jigulu bawei (Colophones to the Record of Collected Antiquities) while the scholar and intellectual Lü Dalin (1044-1071) describes another example alongside a line drawing of the actual piece in his Kaogu tu (Illustrated Investigations of Antiquity). Interestingly, both lamps bear inscriptions, and the lamp reproduced by Lü Dalin is also very similar in form to the lot offered here.


The Record of Collected Antiquities became a model for later collectors and scholars, and both the Jianzhao goosefoot lamp and the Jingning goosefoot lamp were extensively studied, researched and published in 18th and 19th century antique catalogues and literature that were modelled on Ouyang Xiu’s work, for a comprehensive summary see Pengliang Lu, ‘The 2,000-Year Journey of the Goosefoot Lamp’, Orientatons, vol. 48, no. 2, March/April 2017, pp. 94-102.


The bronze goosefoot lamp offered here is first mentioned in Lu Zengyang’s (1816-1881) Baqiongshi jinshi buzhengxi (Epigraphy Supplement of Baqiongshi), published in 1925. It is mentioned right after the Jianzhao goosefoot lamp and is recorded as the ‘Gui Gong’ goosefoot lamp, Lu Zengxiang, Baqiongshi jinshi buzhengxi, Wuxing, Liu shi xi gu lou, 1925, juan 2, p. 6. The inscription is reproduced, transcribed and extensively annotated, with different versions of the numbers giving the weight. Subsequently, the ‘Gui Gong’ lamp was handled by several eminent scholars and the inscription reproduced, including by Ke Changsi (1899-1952), Rong Geng (1894-1940), Liu Tizhi (1979-1963) and Luo Zhenyu (1866-1940) who included it in two of his works, see Luo Zhenyu, Zhensong tang jigu yiwen, (Gathering of Ancient Writings in the Zhensong Tang Studio), 1931, juan 13, pp. 25-26).


While the Jianzhao and the Jingning goosefoot lamps share a more illustrious collecting and publication history and have been known until this day, the Gui Gong goosefoot lamp has only been documented in writings and rubbings. The collector and scholar Dr. David Ho (Ho Changchi) who acquired the lamp in New York in 1970, delved into the history of this particular lamp which he recognised as the missing goosefoot lamp that was recorded along others in antiquarian writings and studies of the late 19th and early 20th century and believed to be an important discovery. His desire to reveal its history stemmed from his admiration for the scholarly value of Ouyang Xiu’s Record of Collected Antiquities which he saw as the inspiration and foundation of his own pursuit of the ‘Gui Gong’ goosefoot lamp.