A bronze ritual food vessel, gui, Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th-10th Century BC

Lot 903. A bronze ritual food vessel, gui, Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th-10th Century BC; 11 ¾ in. (30.5 cm.) wide across handles. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000Price realised USD 93,750. © Christie's Images Ltd 2017 

The vessel is raised on a tall foot encircled by a band comprised of eight dissolved taotie with raised, oblong eyes. The upper body is decorated with a band of birds with crests and long tails centered on two sides by a small animal mask cast in relief, and interrupted on the other two sides by a pair of handles issuing from horned animal masks. The cover is similarly decorated with a band of birds centered on low flanges below the circular, collared handle, which is pierced on two sides. The vessel and cover are cast with two matching six-character inscriptions, which may be translated as 'X Fu made this precious ritual vessel'. The patina is of a mottled dark greyish-green color.

ProvenanceJ. T. Tai & Company, New York, prior to 1992. 

NoteAn early Western Zhou gui and cover of similar form, but decorated with a band of stylized taotie around the upper body, was sold at Christie's Paris, 21-22 June 2016, lot 375.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 14 - 15 September 2017, New York