Lot 137. A very rare gilt-bronze scissors and tweezers set, Tang dynasty (618-907). Length of scissors 5 1/2 in., 13.9 cm. Estimate 8,000 — 12,000 USD. Lot sold 68,750 USD. © Sotheby's.
the scissors with the looped spring handle welded to flat pointed blades, each finely engraved to one side with a striding scaly dragon detailed with a long tail formed from stylized foliate scrolls, the other side with a pair of birds in flight among scrolling foliage, all reserved on a ring-punched ground, the loop end attached to a chain connecting the tweezers similarly decorated on each side with a bird amid foliate scrolls against a stipple ground.
Provenance: Frank Caro, successor to C.T. Loo, New York, 29th October 1954.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).
Exhibited: The Arts of the T'ang Dynasty, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, 1957, cat. no. 123.
Note: It is extremely rare to find Tang gilt-bronze scissors preserved with their original tweezers and chain. Only two other sets appear to be published. One with a pair of slightly different shaped scissors, from the collection of Desmond Gure, London, included in the exhibition catalogue Mostra d'arte cinese [Exhibition of Chinese art], Venice, 1954, cat. no. 277, and a line drawing of the same published in Bo Gyllensvärd, 'T'ang Gold and Silver', The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities Bulletin, no. 29, Stockholm, 1957, fig. 7, 8, no. e; the other with stylized tweezers and chain, in the Hakutsuru Museum, published in Hakutsuru eiga : hakutsuru bijutsukan meihin zuroku [Selected masterpiece of Hakutsuru Museum], Kobe, 1978, pl. 35. Another undecorated set of scissors and tweezers, but missing the original chain, was sold in these rooms, 4th June 1986, lot 250.
Sotheby's. Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China, New York, 19 march 2019, 10:00 AM