Lot 1257. A copper-inlaid bronze wine vessel and cover, bianhu, Warring States period (475-221 BC); 12¼ in. (31.1cm) high and wide. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000. Price realised USD 242,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2011.
The flattened sides raised on a spreading rectangular pedestal foot and cast in relief with panels of tight abstract curl patterns arranged in five registers and bordered by bands of copper inlay, the narrow sides similarly decorated and applied with taotie mask and ring handles, all below a dogtooth band on the waisted neck and a copper band on the flared mouth, with allover light green encrustation and heavier encrustation on the interior.
Provenance: In London by 1989.
Christie's, New York, 19 September 2007, lot 213.
Exhibited: Christian Deydier, London, 1989.
Note: Similar vessels are in prominent museum collections including one excavated in 1975 at Shancunling, Sanmenxia, Henan, and now in the Henan Provincial Museum, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji, vol. 8, Beijing, 1995, pl. 143l; in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Shanghai Bowuguan Cang Qingtongqi, Shanghai, 1964, pl. 91; in The Art Institute of Chicago, illustrated by C.F. Kelley and Ch'en Meng-Chia, Chinese Bronzes from the Buckingham Collection, 1946, pl. LVII; in the Kunstindustrimuseum, Copenhagen, illustrated by M. Loehr, Ritual Vessels of Bronze Age China, The Asia Society, New York, 1968.
In her discussion of a hu with similar decorative bands and copper inlay, no. 50, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1995, pp. 278-80, the author, Jenny So, suggests that the hu, the similarly decorated bianhu in the Art Institute of Chicago, fig. 50.3, and another hu, ibid., no. 44, as well as other vessels of the same period with copper inlay might have "belonged to the same workshop tradition, most likely a centrally located one, as indicated by the Sanmenxia finds".
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art Part I and Part II Including Property from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, New York, 24 March 2011