A very rare and unusual bronze bell, Zheng. Eastern Zhou dynasty ((770-256 BC). Photo: Christie's Images Ltd 2012
Heavily cast and of elliptical section with deeply arched rims, each side deeply cast with a panel of two confronted dragons, their scrolling bodies incorporating two further dragon heads, the hollow cylindrical shank pierced on two sides with a rectangular slit, with extensive malachite and some azurite encrustation; 10 in. (25.5 cm.) high, lucite stand. Estimate $60,000 - $80,000. Price Realized $698,500
Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong in 2000.
Notes: While no other bronze zheng with similar designs of stylized dragons with intertwined scrolling bodies appears to be published, very similar designs can be found on bronze vessels dating to the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC) which have been unearthed in Shandong province. See, for example, the ding excavated in 1974 in Laoying village, Zhailihe, Ju county, illustrated inZhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji - 9 - Dong Zhou (3), Beijing, 1997, p. 69, no. 66, and the dingillustrated, p. 82, no. 79, which was excavated in 1972 in Doujitai, Zeshang, Zou county.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art (Part I), 22 - 23 March 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza