Lot 165. A moulded yellow-glazed archaistic tripod libation cup, jue, 18th-19th century; 6 7/8 in. (17 cm.) high. Estimate: £5,000 - £8,000 (USD 6,515 - USD 10,424). © Christie's Images Ltd 2019.

This vessel is supported on three elegant splayed legs, and is decorated with two stylised taotie masks either side of the beast-head handles between raised bow string bands, a pair of mushroom-capped posts rising from the rim. There is a four-character archaistic seal script mark below the mouth reading Shang fu mu jue that is enclosed within a stylised geometric border.

Provenance: Private English Collection, formerly in a private collection in France, most of which was purchased in Paris during the 1960s and 1970s, and thence by descent to the present owner.

NoteThe form of this unusual porcelain vessel is based on an archaic bronze wine vessel, jue, used for heating and pouring wine during Shang dynasty rituals. The jue was often dedicated for temple use as an altar vessel and from the Ming dynasty porcelain jue were preferred to metal. The Ming dynasty Emperor Hongwu (1368-1398) issued an edict in 1369 designating different colours for ritual use within the palace.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, London, 14 May 2019