Lot 1122. An unusual small bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, late Shang dynasty, 12th-11th century BC; 8 3/8 in. (21.5 cm.) high. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price realised USD 111,750© Christie's Images Ltd 2013

The vessel is cast in relief on a plain ground with cicada blades on the trumpet-shaped upper section above a band of serpents, two taotie masks on the middle section, and two taotie masks below pairs of small dragons on the lower section. The taoties are divided and separated by narrow flanges. A six-character inscription is cast on one side of the interior of the upper section. The bronze has a mottled patina and some malachite encrustation.

Provenance: Raymond A. Bidwell (1876-1954) Collection.
The Springfield Museums, Springfield, Massachusetts, accessioned in 1962.

LiteratureThe Raymond A. Bidwell Collection of Chinese Bronzes and Ceramics, Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, 1965, pp. 12-13.

NoteThe inscription cast on the interior of the neck reads Shi [] zuo Fu Jia yi (Scribe [] made this vessel for Father Jia).

gu of larger size (29.4 cm.) dated to the late Shang dynasty, ca. 14th-11th century BC, and cast with very similar decoration on a plain ground is illustrated in A Catalogue of Shang Dynasty Bronze Inscriptions, National Palace Museum, Taiwan, 1995, p. 104, no. 21.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of ArtNew York21 - 22 March 2013