Lot 2015A bronze ritual wine vessel, zun,Western Zhou dynasty, 10th-9th century BC; 7 7/8 in. (20 cm.) highEstimate USD 15,000 - USD 25,000. Price Realized USD 52,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014. 

The vessel is raised on three columnar supports and is crisply cast in relief on the sides with three taotie masks positioned between the legs, and centered on and separated by flanges. The horns of the masks are formed by dragons, and the masks are on a leiwen ground below two bail handles that rise from the slightly inward-canted rim. A two-character inscription, Gao Tian, possibly a personal name, is cast on the wall of the interior. The patina is of dark grey color and there is some malachite encrustation, two Japanese wood boxes, one with an inscription by Zoroku (1898-1984) dated to 1929, wood stand.

Provenance: Acquired in Kansai, Japan in the 1940s, and thence by descent within the family.

NoteA very similar, but smaller (16.8 cm.), zun is illustrated by Ming S. Wilson in "Archaic Chinese Bronzes in the Victoria & Albert Museum," Chinese Bronzes, Selected Articles from Orientations 1983-2000, Hong Kong, 2001, p. 192, fig. 9, where it is dated Western Zhou dynasty, 10th-9th century BC.

Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 20 - 21 March 2014