A rare archaic bronze 'Bird's-Head' libation cup, yi. Late Warring States Period

The double-lobed deep rounded sides forming a heart shape with the tip pointing towards the handle cast as a bird-raptor's head with bulging eyes and an open protruding hooked beak, all supported on an oval foot. 15.4cm (6in) wide. Estimate: £6,000 - 8,000 - Unsold

Provenance: purchased from an American private collection in Florida, circa 2000

Note: Compare a similar excavated gilt vessel in the Hebei Province Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo qingtong qitu ji, Beijing, 2005, p.202; for another cup, in the San Diego Museum of Art, excavated from Baoshan Tomb no.2, dated as 4th century BC, late Warring States Period, see C.Smith, Ringing Thunder: Tomb Treasures from Ancient China, San Diego, 1999, pl.53. A smaller related vessel was sold at Sotheby's New York, 19 March 2002, lot 103.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, 14 May 2009. New Bond Street www.bonhams.com