Two archaic bronze 'taotie' masks, Late Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties

Lot 3. Two archaic bronze 'taotie' masks, Late Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties. Estimate £3,000 - 5,000 (€3,400 - 5,600). Sold for £6,250 (€7,051). Photo: Bonhams.

The first modelled in the form of a taotie mask detailed with pierced bulging eyes, prominent nostril and horns; the second cast with twisted robe borders framing the reticulated eyes, ears and nostril, the reverse set with two pairs of rings for fitting. The larger 19.3cm (7 5/8in) wide (2).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s

A gilt-bronze and a gold, silver and precious-stone-inlaid music turners, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC)

Lot 4. A gilt-bronze and a gold, silver and precious-stone-inlaid music turners, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC). Estimate £4,000 - 6,000 (4,500 - 6,700). Sold for £6,500 (€7,333). Photo: Bonhams.

Each of circular form raised on a square hollow shaft, the gilt bronze turner cast with three radiating lotus petals alternating with small tiger heads, a hemispherical boss at the centre; the other similarly modelled with six petals inlaid with amber and interspersed with small turquoise pieces, bordered with geometric scrolls inlaid in gold and silver, stands. The larger 4.7cm (1 7/8in) diam. (4).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

NoteCompare a similar bronze peg for a stringed instrument, Se, Western Han dynasty, excavated at tomb No.2 at Dongdongshan, Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province, of similar petal shape inlaid with gold, silver and other precious stones, illustrated by J.Lin ed., The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China, Cambridge, 2012, p.136, no.32. 

Related gold and silver-inlaid bronze music turners, Western Han dynasty, of similar petal shape but the inlaid precious stones missing, was sold in Christie's New York, 19-20 September 2013, lot 1503.

A rare gold and silver-inlaid bronze fitting, Western Han dynasty, 2nd-1st century BC 

A rare gold and silver-inlaid bronze fitting, Western Han dynasty, 2nd-1st century BC. Sold for 20,000 USD at Christie's New York, 19-20 September 2013, lot 1503.

A rare pair of gilt-bronze inlaid 'taotie mask' ring handles, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC)

 

Lot 4. A rare pair of gilt-bronze inlaid 'taotie mask' ring handles, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC). Estimate £4,000 - 6,000 (€4,500 - 6,700). Sold for £21,250 (€23,975). Photo: Bonhams.

Each modelled in the form of a taotie mask with bulging eyes, prominent eyebrows and claws, the beak cast as a ring holding a loose ring inlaid with gold and silver scroll patterns, stand. Each 11.5cm (4 1/2in) high (3).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

NoteFor a pair of similar taotie mask ring handles, in the Miho Museum, Kyoto, of similar form but larger, see Ancient Art from The Shumei Family Collection, New York, 1996, p.105, no.44. Another related pair of taotie ring handles in the Rietberg Museum, Zurich, is illustrated by H.Brinker, Chinesisches Gold und Silber, Zurich, 1994, p.79, no.21.

A rare set of gold, silver and hardstone-inlaid bronze harness fittings, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC)

Lot 6. A rare set of gold, silver and hardstone-inlaid bronze harness fittings, Eastern Zhou Dynasty (770-256 BC). Estimate £5,000 - 8,000 (5,600 - 9,000). Sold for £10,625 (€11,987). Photo: Bonhams.

Comprising a triangular plaque with scrolling decorations; two pairs of connected ring fittings formed with twisted robe design; a pair of S-shaped fittings cast with notches to each end; six rings decorated with scrolling foliage; and three oval-shaped caps; all inlaid with gold, silver and semi-precious hardstones. The largest 27.8cm (16in) long (14).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

A very rare set of four archaic gilt-bronze axle caps, Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220)

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Lot 7. A very rare set of four archaic gilt-bronze axle caps, Han Dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Estimate £8,000 - 812000 (9,000 - 13,000). Sold for £37,500 (€42,309). Photo: Bonhams.

The hollow caps each of cylindrical form, surmounted to one end with a five-lobed flower shaped cover centred on a recumbent bear, the exterior decorated in relief with a dragon and phoenix striding amidst vine scrolls. Each 11.5cm (4 1/2in) high (4).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

An archaic bronze halberd blade, ge, Western Han Dynasty, Dian culture

Lot 8. An archaic bronze halberd blade, ge, Western Han Dynasty, Dian culture. Estimate £3,000 - 5,000 (€3,400 - 5,600). Unsold. Photo: Bonhams.

The curving blade cast with geometric pattern and swirls leading to a pair of forked wings, the shaft set with two narrow rectangular slits for attachment. 21.7cm (8 5/8in) long.

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

NoteCompare a similar bronze halberd blade, excavated from Jiangchuan, Yunnan Province, illustrated in The Complete Works of Yunnan National Fine Arts. Bronze Arts of the Dian Kingdom, Kunming, 2000, p.123, no.113.

An archaic bronze openwork 'dragon' halberd blade, ge, Late Eastern Zhou Dynasty

Lot 9. An archaic bronze openwork 'dragon' halberd blade, ge, Late Eastern Zhou Dynasty. Estimate £2,000 - 3,000 (€2,200 - 3,400). Sold for £7,500 (€8,461) . Photo: Bonhams.

The bevelled and pointed blade cast emerging from a finial in the form of a reticulated dragon and its kin, rising from a hollow oval socket. 12.5cm (4 7/8in) long.

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

A rare archaic bronze 'phoenix' ritual wine vessel and cover, hu, Zhou Dynasty

Lot 10. A rare archaic bronze 'phoenix' ritual wine vessel and cover, hu, Zhou Dynasty. Estimate £4,000 - 6,000 (€4,500 - 6,700). Sold for £6,000 (€6,769). Photo: Bonhams.

Supported on a pronounced spreading foot, cast to each side of the body with two wide registers each containing a pair of confront phoenixes reserved on a dense leiwen ground, detailed with bossed eyes and stylised plumage, separated by two further bands with similar decorations, the gently tapering neck flanked by a pair of tubular handles, surmounted by a cover with everted rim cast with a pair of rectangular apertures. 40.8cm (16in) high (2).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

Three rare archaic bronze 'mountain' musical turners, Han Dynasty

Lot 11. Three rare archaic bronze 'mountain' musical turners, Han Dynasty. Estimate £5,000 - 8,000 (€5,600 - 9,000). Sold for £6,875 (€7,756). Photo: Bonhams.

Each well cast in the form of an Immortal island with protruding mountain peaks emerging from a ground of crashing waves, interspersed with mythical animals, the finials cast on hollow square shafts. The largest 6.9cm (2 5/8in) high (3).

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

NoteCompare with four similar gilt-bronze bridges for stringed instruments, Western Han dynasty, excavated from the tomb of the King of Nanyue in 1983, Xianggangshan, Guangzhou, similarly cast in the shape of layered mountains interspersed with mythical animals, illustrated by J.Lin ed., The Search for Immortality: Tomb Treasures of Han China, Cambridge, 2012, p.246, no.117.

A rare silver filigree openwork perfumier, Tang Dynasty (618-907)

A rare silver filigree openwork perfumier, Tang Dynasty (618-907)

Lot 12. A rare silver filigree openwork perfumier, Tang Dynasty (618-907). Estimate £3,000 - 5,000 (€3,400 - 5,600). Sold for £11,250 (€12,692). Photo: Bonhams.

Of spherical form, the reticulated exterior of the vessel worked with an intricate pattern of scrolling foliage issuing small blossoms, the interior set with two concentric rings holding a suspended hemispherical cup. 6.2cm (2 1/2in) diam.

Provenance: the Sze Yuan Tang collection, acquired in Hong Kong circa 1980s-1990s.

NoteCompare with two similar silver openwork incense burners, Tang dynasty, both of spherical form similarly decorated with leafy tendrils but interspersed with birds, illustrated in B.Gyllensvard, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, New York, 1971, p.49, pl.44; later sold at Sotheby's London, 14 May 2008, lots 56 and 57.

116861475

A rare silver spherical censer, Tang dynasty, 8th-9th century, 5cm., 2in. Sold for 84,500 GBP at Sotheby's London, 14 May 2008, lot 56. Photo: Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A rare silver spherical censer, Tang dynasty, 8th-9th century

116861475

A rare silver spherical incense burner, Tang dynasty, 7th-8th century, 4.3 cm., 1 5/8 in. Sold for 46,100 GBP at Sotheby's London, 14 May 2008, lot 57. Photo: Sotheby's.

Cf. my post: A rare silver spherical incense burner, Tang dynasty, 7th-8th century

BonhamsFINE CHINESE ART, 9 Nov 2017, 10:30 GMT, LONDON, NEW BOND STREET