Lot 16. An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun, Late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC22.5cm., 8 7/8 inEstimate 20,000 — 30,000 GBP. Lot Sold 36,050 GBP© Sotheby's

the rounded body rising from a high spreading foot to an angled shoulder and broad flaring mouth, the shoulders cast in high relief with three bovine masks set against a stylised bird band, all above three large taotie masks with boss 'eyes' divided by vertical flanges, the foot and neck encircled by bowstring lines, the metal patinated to a dark gun-metal tone with an overall light and fairly even malachite encrustation.

Provenance: Sotheby's London, 13th November 2002, lot 34.

Note: A similar zun in the Hunan Provincial Museum is illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji, vol. 4, Beijing, 1998, pls 117 and 118; and another was sold in these rooms, 10th December 1968, lot 29.

Sotheby's. Fine Chinese Ceramics & Works of Art, London, 12 May 2010