Lot 33. A fine and unusual silver garment-hook, Six Dynasties (220-589) or earlier; 3.9cm., 1 1/2 in. Weight 74,5g. Estimate 6,000 — 8,000 GBP. Lot sold 24,500 GBP. Photo: Sotheby's 2008

the heavy silver mount superbly cast in the shape of a lizard-like creature, realistically portrayed crouching on the button with sharp-clawed feet, the face with a fierce expression, the small expressive eyes below a thick mane swept back and revealing a pair of horns, the body and back finely detailed with small feather-like scales, the shoulders set with a pair of wings and the long tail curled and ending in a bird's head.

ExhibitedChinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., 1954-55, cat. no. 85.

LiteratureBo Gyllensvärd, Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, Stockholm, 1953, pl. 85.

Chinese Gold and Silver in the Carl Kempe Collection, The Museum of Art and Far Eastern Antiquities in Ulricehamn, Ulricehamn, 1999, pl. 88.

Note: The present piece is unusual in its intricate and finely executed design. A gold garment-hook inlaid with a turquoise and with a similarly crouching beast but attributed to the Warring States period, is illustrated in Celestial Creations: Art of the Chinese Goldsmith. The Cheng Xun Tang Collection, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 2007, cat. no. A10.  

Sotheby's. Masterpieces of Chinese Precious Metalwork, Early Gold and Silver; Early Chinese White, Green and Black Wares, London, 14 May 2008