Lot 1231. A small bronze ritual tripod food vessel, ding, Late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC; 7 1/8in. (18 cm.) high. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000. Price realised USD 242,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011
The waisted bulbous body cast in low relief with three pairs of dragons separated by flanges and confronted on taotie masks cast in high relief, above a band of pendent blades, each enclosing a cicada reserved on a leiwen ground similar to that of the band above, with a pair of bail handles rising from the flared rim, the cicada blade motif repeated on the three columnar supports, all of the details inlaid in a now blackish material which contrasts against the pale, mottled grey-green patina, box.
Provenance: The Jingguantang Collection II; Christie's, New York, 20 March 1997, lot 39.
Exhibited: Gems of Chinese Art: Selections of Ceramics and Bronzes from the Tsui Art Foundation, The Empress Place Museum, Singapore, 1992, no. 1.
Empire of the Dragons: Chinese Art Treasures Through 4000 Years from Hong Kong, Sweden and Denmark, Aarhus Kunstmuseum, 9 September - 26 November 1995, pl. 63, cat. no. 6.
Note: Compare the ding cast with very similar decoration on both the legs and the body, but lacking the taotie masks in relief within the narrow band below the mouth rim, illustrated in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the National Palace Museum Collection, National Palace Museum, Taipei, 1998, pp. 182-3, no. 16, where it is dated late Anyang period (12th-11th century BC).
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011