Lot 4130. An archaic bronze ritual tripod vessel, shi jue, Late Shang dynasty, Late Anyang period, 12th-11th century BC, 7 3/4 in. (19.7 cm.) high. Estimate HKD 500,000 - HKD 800,000. Price realised HKD 596,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012
The deep cup is raised on three triangular-section tapering legs, and the sides are cast with two taotie masks and vertical flanges reserved on a leiwen ground below a band of cicada blades and a long blade on the underside of the spout. A single graph, Shi, is cast beneath the loop handle that emerges from an animal mask. A pair of lifting posts rises from the rim which tapers to a point at one end, box.
Provenance: Collection of Rene Huyghe (1906-1997), former curator of The Louvre Museum, Paris, and purchased in 1960s
Note: Compare the similar jue illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington DC, 1987, p. 195, no. 18. The style of casting of the main elements including the cicada blade on the underside of the pouring lip is very similar, as is the shape. It is noted that the shape and decoration indicate a dating later than jue vessels that were excavated from the tomb of Fu Hao, that is, after about 1200 BC, ibid, p. 195. The Sackler jue is inscribed beneath the handle with a four-point star followed by a second bracket-form element which probably forms the maker's name. In this instance, the pictograph on the present jueindicates the maker's name as Shi.
Ritual wine warmer with taotie, Late Anyang period, Late Shang dynasty, ca. early 11th century BCE, Bronze, H x W x D: 24.9 x 22.6 x 13.7 cm (9 13/16 x 8 7/8 x 5 3/8 in), Freer Gallery of Art, Purchase — Charles Lang Freer Endowment, F1925.3 © 2017 Smithsonian Institution
Also compare two similar late Shang dynasty examples, the first from the Sze Yuan Tang Collection, which was sold at Christie's New York, 16 September 2010, lot 817, is cast with a three-character inscription, Zi, a triangle, and a foot with five toes, which may form the clan name Zizheng. The second, in the Shanghai Museum, is cast with an inscription identifying the maker as Yaqi, and is illustrated in Zhongguo Wenwu Jinghua Dacidian, Shanghai cishu chubanshe, 1995, p. 50, no. 174.
A bronze ritual tripod vessel, jue, Late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC, from the Sze Yuan Tang Collection, . Sold for USD 86,500 at Christie's New York, 16 September 2010, lot 817. © Christie's Images Ltd 2010
Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 30 May 2012, Hong Kong, HKCEC Grand Hall