The Ji Ran Gui

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Lot 11. The Ji Ran Gui. A bronze ritual food vessel, Late Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC.Height 5 3/4  in., 14.6 cm; Width 10 3/4 in., 27.3 cm. Estimate 50,000 — 70,000 USD. Lot sold 87,500 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.

the rounded sides decorated below the flared rim with a band of eight kui dragons, centered by an animal-mask in high relief on two sides and divided by two loop handles springing from animal heads with raised circular eyes, oblong ears and bottled horns, the splayed foot cast with a matching band of kui dragons divided by shallow flanges, a two-character inscription on the interior, the patination of mottled green with light malachite encrustation.

ProvenancePrivate Japanese collection.

ExhibitionDigital Museum III, The University Museum, University of Tokyo, 12 January-24 February 2002

NoteBronze gui vessels of this type are typical of the late Shang and early Western Zhou dynasties. A closely related guivessel excavated from Shaanxi is illustrated in Bronzes of Shang and Zhou Dynasties Unearthed in Shaanxi Province, vol. III, Beijing, 1980, no. 183 and another similar gui excavated from Liujiazhuang village, Anyang city, Henan province is illustrated in Yinxu xinchutu qingtongqi (Ritual Bronzes Recently Excavated in Yinxu), Kunming, 2008, p. 381, no. 206. It is notable that the inscription on the present vessel is identical to the inscription on a similar gui vessel illustrated in a Song dynasty publication; see Xuanhe bogu tu (Illustrated Catalogue of the Conspectus of Antiquities of the Xuanhe Era), vol. 8, pp. 7-8. These two vessels could possibly be related.

The box for this lot is inscribed with a research note written by Professor Matsumaru Michio, dated 2001.

Sotheby's. Archaic Bronzes and the Wu Dacheng Jijintu Scroll. New York. 18 march 2014