Lot 531. A fine and rare archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, Shang Dynasty, Erligang Period (c. 1510 – c. 1460 BC); 6 7/8 in., 17.5 cm. Estimate 20,000 — 30,000 USD. Lot sold 144,000 USD. Photo: Sotheby's.
the columnar body supported on a tall splayed foot flaring to a wide trumpet mouth, encircled around the mid-section with three raised filets above a narrow band enclosing two taotie masks, each of the faces cast in broad relief with large bosses for eyes and hooked scroll bodies centered by low flanges, all raised on a hollowed foot, pierced with a broad openwork band of enlarged leiwen scrolls, above a further register of taotie masks, the surface covered with extensive malachite encrustation.
Provenance: Collection of a California Gentleman, acquired circa 1970s.
Exhibited: Fine and Rare Chinese Works of Art and Ceramics: Winter Exhibition, Roger Keverne Ltd., London, November 2004, cat.no. 1.
Note: A similar gu was excavated from Panlongcheng in Huangpi, Hubei province, and is illustrated in The Panlongcheng Site: Report of Archaeological Excavation from 1963-1994, The Hubei Provincial Institute of Cultural Relics and Archaeology, Beijing, 2001, pl. XXI, fig. 2 and in Robert Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Cambridge, Mass., 1987, fig. 30.1, p. 232.
Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, including Property from the Collection of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York, 19-20 march 2007