A bronze ritual tripod food vessel, liding, Late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC 

Lot 1517. A bronze ritual tripod food vessel, liding, Late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC, 7¾ in. (19.7 cm.) high. Estimate USD 200,000 - USD 300,000Price realised USD 626,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2012

Raised on three columnar supports, the body lobed above each leg and cast in relief with three taotie masks centered on a flange and reserved on a leiwen ground, below a narrow band of cicadas also on a leiwen ground and arranged in threes confronted on shorter flanges, with a pair of bail handles rising from the rim, with mottled olive-brown and milky green patinawood stand, Japanese wood box inscribed by Zoroku.

Provenance: Private collection, Japan, acquired in the late 19th/early 20th century. 

Note: A bronze liding with a similar frieze of cicadas below the rim and related taotie masks cast in relief on the sides is illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington DC, Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1987, pp. 484-5, where it is dated 12th-11th century BC. See, also, the liding with similar taotie masks cast in relief, but with a freize of stylized dragons in profile below the rim, illustrated in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the National Palace Museum Collection, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, pp. 216-9, no. 24. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art (Part I), 22 - 23 March 2012, New York