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.

ProvenanceFrank Caro, successor to C.T. Loo, New York, 29th October 1954.
Collection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).

ExhibitedThe 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