Lot 351. A bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, Shang dynasty, 13th-12th century BC; 10 5/8 in. (27.3 cm.) high. Estimate USD 30,000 - USD 50,000. Price Realized USD 32,500. © Christie's Image Ltd 2008
The flared trumpet-shaped neck with four upright blades flat cast with inverted and elongated taotie masks above a narrow scroll band, the middle section with two taotiemasks divided and separated by notched flanges repeated on the spreading foot between four dragons with large eyes shown in profile below a further scroll band, the interior of the foot cast with a graph, with mottled green patina and malachite encrustation, with some azurite encrustation inside the foot, wood box.
Provenance: Christie's, South Kensington, London, 23 June 2005, lot 499.
Note: The shield-like graph cast on the interior of the foot of this gu is partially obscured by surface accretions, but might possibly be deciphered as you, one of the twelve Earthly Branches of the celestial calendar.
A gu of similar proportions and with similar cast decoration in the collection of Mrs. O.H. Kahn is illustrated by P. Ackerman, Ritual Bronzes of Ancient China, New York, 1945, pl. 41.