Lot 62. A very fine small silver ladle, Tang dynasty, late 7th-early 8th century, 26cm., 10 1/4 in. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 GBP. Lot sold 96,500 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's.
the deep petal-lobed bowl delicately chased and engraved with small birds amongst flowering scrolling foliage on a regularl ring-matted ground, the generously gauged and elegantly curved bird-headed handle similarly decorated on the front with a sinuous foliate meander. Weight: 67.5g.
Exhibited: Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1954-55, cat. no. 105.
Chinese Gold, Silver and Porcelain. The Kempe Collection, Asia House Gallery, New York, 1971, cat. no. 50, an exhibition touring the United States and shown also at nine other museums.
Literature: Bo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, pl. 105.
Bo Gyllensvärd, 'T'ang Gold and Silver', Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, no. 29, 1957, pl. 15a, fig. 95g.
Han Wei, Hai nei wai Tangdai jin yin qi cuibian [Tang Gold and Silver in Chinese and overseas collections], Xi'an, 1989, pl. 198.
Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 1999, pl. 110.
Note: A closely related ladle was included in the exhibition Chinesisches Gold und Silber. Die Sammlung Pierre Uldry, Museum Rietberg, Zurich, 1994, cat. no. 157; another fine silver ladle of this elegant form similarly chased and engraved with small birds amongst flowering scrolling foliage on a fine ring-punched ground, from the collection of the Hon. Hugh Scott and included in the China Institute in America exhibition Early Chinese Gold and Silver, China House Gallery, New York, 1971, cat. no. 72, and illustrated in Hugh Scott, The Golden Age of Chinese Art, Rutland, Vermont, 1967, pl. 13, was sold at Christie's New York, 4th December 1982, lot 399. See also two silver ladles with plain terminals and simpler engraving sold in our New York rooms, 4th June 1986, lots 248 and 249.
Sotheby's. Masterpieces of Chinese Precious Metalwork, Early Gold and Silver; Early Chinese White, Green and Black Wares, London, 14 May 2008