THE TIAN MIAN FU YI JIAO
AN IMPORTANT AND VERY RARE BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL
LATE SHANG DYNASTY, 13TH-11TH CENTURY BC
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the deep ovoid body resting on three splayed blade-like legs, finely cast in relief on each side with a taotie mask with protruding eyes, curly fangs, C-shaped horns and clawed forelegs, all on an intricate leiwen ground, divided on one side by a notched flange, and on the other by a vertical panel cast with an inscription beneath the loop handle issuing from a bovine head, the slightly waisted neck rising to two high flaring points on opposite sides, each cast on the underside with a pair of dragons with prominent circular eyes forming an inverted taotie mask, the three legs decorated with graduated concentric D-motifs within a single outline, a three-character inscription cast under the handle, reading yuan fu yi, the surface with a smooth grayish-green patina
Height 9 3/8 in., 23.8 cm
Qing Imperial Collection.
Collection of Liu Tizhi (1879-1962).
Collection of Yu Xingwu (1896-1984).
Collection of Liang Shangchun (1888-?).
Sotheby's New York, 31th May 1989, lot. 21.
Christian Deydier Oriental Bronzes Ltd., London, 6-20th December 1995, cat. no. 10.
Wang Jie, by the order of Emperor Qianlong, Xiqingxujian jiabian (Sequel A of the Xi Qing Gu Jian), 1793, vol. 12, p. 16.
Xu Tongbo, Conggutang kuanzhixue, (Studies of Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Conggutang Studio), 1854, vol. 11, p. 16.
Liu Tizhi, Shanzhai jijin lu, (The Records of Auspicious Bronzes in the Shanzhai Studio), 1934, vol. 7, p. 59.
Wang Chen, Xu Yinwencun, (Continuation of the Surviving Writings from the Yin Dynasty), 1935, vol. 2, p. 33.
Liu Tizhi, Xiaojiaojingge jinwen taben, (Rubbings of Archaic Bronze Inscriptions in the Xiaojiaojingge Studio), 1935, vol. 6, p. 80.
Rong Geng, Shanzhai yiqi tulu, (Catalogue of Archaic Bronzes in the Shanzhai Studio), 1936, no. 162.
Yu Xingwu, Shuangjianchi guqiwu tulu, (Catalogue of Ancient Objects in the Shuangjianchi Studio), 1940, vol. 1, pp. 71-72.
Rong Geng, Shangzhou yiqi tongkao, (A General Study of Archaic Bronzes in the Yin and Zhou Dynasties), 1941, vol. 2, p. 234, no. 443.
Liang Shangchun, Yanku jijin tulu, (Catalogue of Auspicious Bronzes in the Yanku Studio), 1943, vol. 1, pp. 24-25.
Yan Yiping, Jinwen Zongji, (Corpus of Bronze Inscriptions), Taipei, 1983, no. 4229.
Hayashi Minao, In Shu jidai seidoki no kenkyu: In Shu seidoki soran ichi, (Conspectus of Yin and Zhou Bronzes), Tokyo, 1984, vol. 2, pl. 191, jiao, no. 19.
The Institute of Archaeology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, Yinzhou jinwen jicheng, (Compendium of Yin and Zhou Bronze Inscriptions), 1984, vol. 14, p. 29, no. 8396.
Wu Zhenfeng, Shangzhou qingtongqi mingwen ji tuxiang jicheng, (Compendium of Inscriptions and Images of Bronzes from the Shang and Zhou Dynasties), Shanghai, 2012, vol. 17, p. 191, no. 8754.