1566283098340634_204

Lot 204. A very rare gilt-bronze 'Mythical beast' weight, Han dynasty (206 BC-AD 220). Diameter 2 1/4  in., 5.8 cmEstimate 30,000 — 50,000 USDCourtesy Sotheby's.

finely cast in the form of a coiled feline creature grasping a lingzhi sprig in its mouth, its head detailed with a pointed beard, a broad snout, almond-shaped eyes and bushy brows below long finely incised mane swept against its back.

ProvenanceCollection of Stephen Junkunc, III (d. 1978).

NoteModeled in the form of a feline beast, with a distinct round, almost snake-like coiled body and a lingzhi sprig in its mouth, the present piece is an exceptionally rare example of a Han dynasty weight. While no other gilt-bronze weights of this design appear to be published, several related examples of a similar form are known, such as a pair of larger gilt-bronze weights, each similarly cast in the form of a coiled feline creature with a round body, but depicted without the long mane and beard and the lingzhi in the mouth, attributed to the Western Han dynasty, exhibited Inlaid Bronze and Related material from Pre-Tang China, Eskenazi, London, 1991, cat. no. 15.

Compare also a related gold and silver-inlaid bronze weight of a larger size, with the animal's head raised and mouth agape, attributed to the Han dynasty, from the Qing Imperial Collection, now in the Palace Museum, Beijing, published in The Complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum. Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2006, pl. 128; and another of slightly larger size, cast with a similarly coiled body of rounded form, carved with an inscription to the underside, from the Sze Yuan Tang Collection, exhibited in The Glorious Traditions of Chinese Bronzes, Asian Civilisations Museum, Singapore, 2000, pl. 96, and later sold at Christie's New York, 16th September 2010, lot 886.

2010_NYR_02508_0886_000(a_rare_gold_and_silver-inlaid_bronze_tiger-form_weight_eastern_han_dyn)

From the Sze Yuan Tang Collection. A rare gold and silver-inlaid bronze tiger-form weight, Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD); 2 5/8 in. (6.7 cm.) across. Estimate 60,000 - USD 80,000 USD. Price realised 182,500 USD at Christie's New York, 16th September 2010, lot 886. © Christie's Image Ltd 2010.

 Cf. my post: A rare gold and silver-inlaid bronze tiger-form weight, Eastern Han dynasty (25-220 AD) 

Sotheby's. Junkunc: Arts of Ancient China II, New York, 10 Sep 2019