Lot 1244. A rare large bronze bell, bo zhong, late Spring and Autumn period, 6th-5th century BC; 24¼ in. (61.6 cm.) high. Estimate 80,000 - USD 120,000. Price realised USD 81,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2013
Of lenticular section, the bell is unusually cast in thread relief with with rows of interlaced, angular serpent scroll alternating with rows of raised bosses cast with whorl motifs flanking a plain panel on both sides. The dragon scroll is repeated in the gu panel below, on the flat top, and on the scrolling bodies of the two addorsed dragons that form the elaborate, openwork handle. There is a small coiled dragon cast above the bottom rim on each side.
Provenance: Kinpei Takeuchi (1873-1960).
Ryuichi Sano (1889-1977), acquired in Tokyo, 1950s.
Sano Art Museum, Mishima, Japan.
Literature: Shu Kan Iho (Relics of Han and Pre-Han Dynasty), Tokyo, National Museum, 1932, pl. XXXIX.
Sekai Bijutsu Zenshu, vol. 12, China (1), Shang, Zhou and Warring States, Japan, 1962.
Sano Art Museum, 10 November 1966, no. 135.
Ichimatsu Tanaka and Muzuno Seiichi, Toyo Bitjutsu Dai Gokan, Doki (Asiatic Art in Japanese Collections, vol. 5, Chinese Archaic Bronzes), Tokyo, 1968, no. 95.
Sano Bijutsukan zohinsho, Sano Art Museum, 1986, p. 76, no. 101.
Selected Works from the Collection of the Sano Museum of Art, Sano Art Museum, 1991, p. 39, no. 61.
Exhibited: Shu Kan Iho (Relics of Han and Pre-Han Dynasty), Tokyo, National Museum, 1932, pl. XXXIX.
Note: A similar, but slightly smaller (58 cm. high), bell of this unusual type, was lent by the Chinese Government to the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy, London, 1935-36, no. 66. Another very similar bell of slightly smaller size (60 cm. high) is illustrated by C. Delacour, De bronze, d' or et d'argent, Arts somptuaires de la Chine, Paris, 2001, p. 43, where it is dated 7th-6th century BC.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Furniture, Archaic Bronzes and Works of Art, New York, 21 - 22 March 2013