A rare and important archaic bronze goblet, Jia Early Shang dynasty | 商期 青銅饕餮紋斝
A rare and important archaic bronze goblet, Jia
Early Shang dynasty
the tripod goblet with a characteristic trumpet-shaped upper and rounded lower section with a flat base, decorated with taotie borders and broad scrolling ribbons standing out against plain recessed areas, organized as elongated scroll bands centred on a single eye, confronting each other to form a double-eyed mask opposite the handle
H. 26.5 cm, 10 3/8 in.
Rare et important gobelet en bronze, Jia, début de dynastie Shang, attribué à la période Erligang
This impressive vessel is in overall good condition. There is typical malachite and cuprite encrustations as visible on the catalogue photos, but the details of the cast decoration remain generally crisp. The top of the handle may have detached and been re affixed over the course of the time (the vessel has not been expected under X-rays).There are some small old dents to the rim and to the end of the edge of the raised knob, but overall the presentation of the vessel is great and its shape very powerful.
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An old Spanish family collection, the goblet was part of the furnishing of the family's Buen Retiro mansion in Madrid.
Archaic bronze goblets of this characteristic jia form with trumpet-shaped upper and rounded lower section with a flat base, and with similar taotie borders and whorls, have been recovered from important early Shang sites like that of the capital city Zhengzhou in Henan and the southerly palace city Panlongcheng in Hubei province, and can be attributed to the Erligang period. The almost abstract design bands of this period are characterized by broad scrolling ribbons that clearly stand out against plain recessed areas. On this goblet shape, the setup of the taotie band takes into account the attached handle on one side and is organized as elongated scroll bands centred on a single eye, confronting each other to form a double-eyed mask opposite the handle.
Jia of this exact type as well as examples of similar form with slightly different design bands or lacking the whorl motifs have been found in large number at Panlongcheng sites. The closest were located in stages 5 and 6, representative of the first and second phase of the Upper Erligang Culture, which can be attributed to the late 15th and 14th century BC. Mould fragments found nearby show that the bronzes buried at Panlongcheng were also cast there. The excavation report Panlongcheng. 1963 – 1994 nian kaogu fajue baogao/The Panlongcheng Site. Report of Archaeological Excavation from 1963 – 1994, Beijing, 2001 includes a number of very similar jia recovered in and around Panlongcheng, for example, from Lijiazui, vol. 1, fig. 131: 2, and vol. 2, col. pl. 22: 2 and 4, and pl. 58: 2; from Wangjiazui, vol. 1, fig. 87 and vol. 2, pl. 36: 3; from Yangjiawan, vol. 1, fig. 184, and vol. 2, pl. 75: 2; and from the city site itself, vol. 1, fig. 307, and vol. 2, pl. 136: 3.
A similar jia excavated at Zhengzhou and now in the Zhengzhou Municipal Museum is illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji [Complete series on Chinese bronzes], vol. 1, Beijing, 1996, pls 85 and 86; and again in Henan chutu Shang Zhou qingtong qi/The Unearthed Bronzes of Shang-Zhou Dynasty in Henan Province, vol. 1, Beijing, 1981, pl. 49; another from Huixian, north of Zhengzhou, now in the Xinxiang Museum, ibid. pl. 116.
A similar piece without whorls, also attributed to the 15th-14th century BC, is published in Robert W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington, D.C., 1987, no. 2, where it is compared to a jia from Panlongcheng, p. 79, fig. 49, and another in the British Museum, illustrated fig. 50.
湖北省盤龍城遺址發現多例，與本品相同或相近。與本品最接近者出土於五及六期，即二里崗文化上層早及晚期，斷代公元前十五世紀末和十四世紀。該處附近發現模具破片，顯示盤龍城出土之青銅器鑄於該地。《1963 – 1994年考古發掘報告》，北京，2001年引述，盤龍城及鄰近地點曾出土斝例，與本品非常相近，一例出土自李家嘴，卷1，圖131: 2，及卷2，彩色圖版22: 2及4，以及圖版58: 2；王家嘴亦出土數例，卷1，圖87及卷2，圖版36: 3；再比數例，楊家嘴出土，卷1，圖184及卷2，圖版75: 2；盤龍城城址亦出土數例，卷1，圖307及卷2，圖版136: 3。
另比一賽克勒收藏作例，無渦紋，圖載於羅伯特•貝格利，《Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections》，華盛頓，1987 年，編號2，作者將之與一件盤龍城出土斝例比較，頁79，圖49，另一例現藏於大英博物館，圖50。