Lot 861. An unusual frog-shaped openwork buckle, Western Han dynasty, circa 3rd century BC; 3¾ in. (9.6 cm.) long. Estimate USD 2,500 - USD 5,000. Price realised USD 6,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2010.
Cast as a frog as if seen from above, with tiny circles on the body, its sides being bitten by two snakes with linear decoration, their scrolling bodies framing the back legs before meeting at the hook and then terminating in coiled tails, with a loop between the front legs on the convex underside, with malachite encrustation, box.
Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong, November 1991.
Exhibited: The Glorious Traditions of Chinese Bronzes, Singapore, 2000, no. 85.
Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth, Hong Kong Museum of Art, 2002-2006.
Note: This unusual buckle is similar to a pair illustrated by E. Bunker, "Two Snakes and a Frog, A Warring States Period Bronze Belt Buckle from Eastern Inner Mongolia", Orientations, January 1987, pp. 42-5, fig. 1, where the author notes, p. 43, that "the combined frog and double snake motif appears to have been an auspicious motif of eastern Inner Mongolia and the lower Liao River Valley". The same motif can be seen in related buckles and plaques, also illustrated, figs. 5-7.
Christie's. The Sze Yuan Tang Archaic Bronzes from the Anthony Hardy Collection, New York, 16 September 2010