A very rare gilt-bronze bird-form weight. Tang dynasty (618-907). Photo: Christie´s Images Ltd 2010

Possibly a sleeve weight, finely cast as two birds nestling against one another, their claws and tail feathers interlocked and their wings overlapping on the reverse; 2 7/8 in. (7.3 cm.) long - Estimate $65,000 - $75,000

Provenance: L. Wannieck, Berlin.
W.W. Winkworth Collection, London.
The Fabbri Collection, Milan; Sotheby's, London, 10 June 1986, lot 36.
J.J. Lally & Co., New York.

Literature: R. Kleiner, Chinese Jades from the Collection of Alan and Simone Hartman, Hong Kong, 1996, no. 31 (detail).

Exhibited: Ausstellung Chinesischer Kunst, Berlin, January-April 1929, no. 93. Mostra d'Arte, Venice, 1954, no. 162.
J.J. Lally & Co., New York, May 1988, no. 28.
Christie's, New York, 13-26 March 2001.
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 2003-December 2004.

Notes: This rare weight is similar to one from the Eumorfopoulos Collection and now in the British Museum, illustrated by O. Sirén, The History of Early Chinese Art, II, Han and Six Dynasties, Paris/Brussels, 1929, pl. 116 (b and c). One from the collection of Mrs. Walter Sedgwick was sold at Sotheby's, London, 2 July 1968, lot 30; and another was included in the exhibition, Ancient Chinese Bronze Vessels and Early Ceramics, Eskenazi Ltd., London, 13 June-14 July 1973, no. 20, where it was described as a sleeve weight.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art. 16 - 17 September 2010. New York, Rockefeller Plaza www.christies.com