A small bronze square 'lion and grapevine' mirror. Tang dynasty (618-907). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012
Cast in high relief with four lions shown amidst grapevine surrounding the crouching lion knob, and separated by a square border from the birds, dragonflies and butterflies shown amidst further grapevine in the outer border, with dark grey patina; 3 5/8 in. (9.2 cm.) square, 3/8 in. (.9 cm.) thick, box - 435.6g. Estimate $15,000 - $20,000
Provenance: Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, New York, acquired from Alice Boney, Japan, late 1960s.
Notes: A similar mirror is illustrated in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum - Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2006, p. 200, pl. 177. (Fig. 1) Another similar mirror is illustrated by J. Rawson and E. Bunker in Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, Oriental Ceramic Society, Hong Kong, 1990, pp. 260-1, no. 180. Two others are illustrated by T. Nakano et al., Bronze Mirrors from Ancient China: Donald H. Graham Jr. Collection, 1994, pp. 210-13, nos. 75 and 76. Two others are illustrated in Tang Jing, Japan, nos. 25 and 122. See, also, the similar mirror of slightly larger size (11.6 cm.) from the Arthur Mr. Sackler Collections sold in these rooms, 18 March 2009, lot 241, and another sold at China Guardian, 13 May 2011, lot 949.
Christie's. Luminous Perfection: Fine Chinese Mirrors from the Robert H. Ellsworth Collection, 22 March 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza