An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Jue, Shang Dynasty (circa 1600-1046 BCE)


Lot 3. An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, Jue, Shang Dynasty (circa 1600-1046 BCE); 20.1cm (8 1/8in) high. Estimate £4,000 - £6,000. Sold for £ 25,062 (€ 28,447). © Bonhams 2001-2019

The vessel with a deep U-shaped body rising from three splayed triangular blade legs to a pointed rim opposite a guttered spout flanked by a pair of posts capped with conical 'fire-whorl' medallions, the exterior boldly cast with two taotie masks with bulging eyes separated by flanges, one side set with a loop handle issuing from a bovine mask, a pictogram under the handle.

Note: A bronze jue, 12th-11th century BC, of similar form and decoration is illustrated by R.Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, Washington D.C., 1987, p.195, pl.18 and p.251, fig.36.2. Further examples can be found in the collection of the British Museum, see W.Watson, Ancient Chinese Bronzes, London, 1977, pl.10b; and in the Shanghai Museum, see Shanghai Museum: Ancient Chinese Bronze Gallery, Shanghai, p.9. See also two jue with similar taotie designs, illustrated by C.Deydier, Archaic Chinese Bronzes, Paris, 1995, p.250, pl.3.

A related bronze jue, Shang dynasty, was sold at Bonhams Hong Kong, 26 May 2014, lot 193.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art, London, 16 May 2019