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Lot 170. A bronze openwork brazier, Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD); 9 ½ in. (24.1 cm.) long. Estimate GBP 4,000 - GBP 6,000. Price realised GBP 9,375. © Christie's Image Ltd 2017

The upper, oval section has openwork sides cast with the animals of the Four Directions, and has four tab supports that rise from the rim. The lower section, which is of tapering rectangular shape, is raised on four crouching human supports, and has an openwork grate to the base. A flattened handle at one end curves up to a leaf-shaped terminal. 

ProvenanceChristie's London, 5-6 July, 1983, lot 108.
The Michael Michaels Collection of Early Chinese Art.

Note: Similar braziers are illustrated in Ancient Chinese Arts in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1961, pl. 209; and in Chinese Bronzes from the Buckingham Collection, The Art Institute of Chicago, 1946, pls. LXV, LXVI and LXVII. These examples retain the ear cup that would have rested on the supports at the rim, and also the tray on which the brazier would have stood. A brazier of this type was sold at Christie's New York, 13-14 September 2012, lot 1252. 

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 7 November 2017