Lot 102. A rare pair of parcel-gilt silver 'Floral' hairpins, Tang dynasty (618-907). Length 13 1/8  in., 33.2 cm. Estimate 10,000 — 15,000 USD. Lot sold 93,750 USD. © Sotheby's.

each of thin silver sheet, composed of a double-pronged pin terminating in a broad leaf-shaped finial worked in mirror image, enclosing three large overlapping leaves engraved with flower sprays and foliate scrolls against a stipple ground, heightened with gilt detail, flanked by two reticulated stems issuing furled leaves and three-petal flowers (2).

ProvenanceFrank Caro, successor to C.T. Loo, New York, 5th June 1958.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978)

NoteElegantly made in the shape of a thin leaf and enhanced by delicately pierced and engraved designs, Tang hairpins of this particular type are extremely rare. Only one other example appears to be recorded, a pair of parcel-gilt silver hairpins, in the Hakutsuru Museum, Kobe, published in Hakutsuru eiga : hakutsuru bijutsukan meihin zuroku [Selected masterpieces of Hakutsuru Museum], Kobe, 1978, pl. 35, and its line drawing is also illustrated in Bo Gyllensvärd, 'Tang Gold and Silver' The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin, no. 29, Stockholm, 1957, fig. 51 b.

Compare a related Tang gilt-silver hairpin with a reticulated design, similarly decorated with the three-petal leaves, excavated in Huijia village, Xi'an, Shanxi province in 1956, now in the Shaanxi provincial museum, Shaanxi province, published in Zhongguo wenwu jinghua daquan. Jinyin yushi juan [Compendium of Chinese art. Gold, silver, jade, and stone], Hong Kong, 1994, no. 115. See a pair of related hairpins, pierced with a floral design, also in the Shaanxi History Museum, included in the exhibition, Gilded Dragons. Buried Treasures from China's Golden Ages, The British Museum, London, 1999, cat. no. 33.

Sotheby's. Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China, New York, 19 march 2019, 10:00 AM