Lot 801. An archaic bronze ritual tripod food vessel, Ding, Early Western Zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century BC; 9 ¼ in. (23.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price realised USD 56,250. © Christie's Image Ltd 2019.

The deep bowl is raised on three legs issuing from taotie masks and is cast in relief with a band of taotie masks below with a pair of inverted U-shaped handles that rise from the rim. The interior is cast with a two-character inscription, Zu Ding (Ancestor Ding).

The Robert B. and Beatrice C. Mayer Family Collection.

Provenance: Lantin and Farhadi, New York, 1958.

Note: ding of smaller size (21.5 cm. high), also dated to the early Western Zhou dynasty and with similar taotie masks bisected with knife-like flanges on the legs, is illustrated by Jessica Rawson in Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. IIB, Cambridge, 1990, p. 250, no. 9. The Sackler ding has a deeper body than the present ding, and the legs are taller and thinner. The taotie masks in the band encircling the body are also more consolidated and have C-shaped horns on the Sackler ding, while the taotie masks on the current vessel are dismembered and have pointed, projecting horns. Rawson illustrates, op. cit., pp. 252-3, four additional related early Western Zhou bronze ding from Shaanxi Baoji Zhuyuangou, two of which have bands of dismembered taotie masks similar to those seen on the present vessel.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 13 September 2019