Lot 1217. An archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, Shang dynasty, 13th-12th century BC; 11½ in. (29.2 cm.) high. Estimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price realised USD 60,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013
The tall slender vessel is divided into three sections. The trumpet-shaped upper body is crisply cast with four upright cicada blades, and the central section and spreading foot are decorated with a dense leiwen and taotie-pattern band divided by four vertical ribbed flanges, and separated by two bow-string bands. The surface has a pale green-grey patina with areas of malachite encrustation. The interior of the base is cast with an inscription.
Provenance: Christie's London, 15 June 1998, lot 34
Note: The inscription cast on the interior of the base reads Kui Ran, a personal name.
The present gu is associated with the 'mature' style of gu from Anyang (late 13th to early 12th century BC) which all exhibit the same distinctive structure and the same decorative sequence of motifs. A similar example is illustrated by R. W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, Washington D.C., 1987, pp. 239-41, no. 33.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 21 - 22 March 2013