Lot 3641. A bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, Shang dynasty, 13th century BC; 9½ in. (24 cm.) high. Estimate USD 10,000 - USD 15,000. Price Realized USD 11,250. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014.
The vessel has a plain, trumpet-shaped neck above a center section bordered by double bow-string lines and cast with two taotie masks composed of fine tight scrolls and centered on narrow flanges above a scroll border and two further large, similarly cast taotie masks on the spreading foot, which is cast on the interior with a single graph, of dog shape. The bronze has a mottled pale blue-green and brown patina and areas of malachite and azurite encrustation.
Provenance: Sotheby's New York, 6 December 1989, lot 21.
Note: Three similar gu, dated to the 13th century BC, are illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, nos. 25, 26 and 27. These three gu, and the present vessel, share the same kind of finely cast leiwen-like scrolls that define the decoration. Another gu with similar cast decoration was sold at Christie's New York, 13 September 2012, lot 1219.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 20 - 21 March 2014