Lot 2017. An unusual bronze ritual wine vessel, jue, late Shang dynasty, 13th-12th century BC; 9 in. (22.8 cm.) high. Estimate USD 60,000 - USD 80,000. Price Realized USD 112,500. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014.
The deep body is raised on three tall blade-form supports, and the sides are finely cast with two taotie masks formed by pairs of addorsed birds facing and separated by narrow flanges. One mask is flanked by small descending birds and centered on a further flange, while the other mask is centered on an inscription cast under the loop handle, which issues from a small bovine mask. Above is a band of small blades and longer blades on the underside of the spout and the flared collar. A pair of capped posts rises from the rim. The bronze has a mottled milky green patina and some malachite and azurite encrustation, wood stand, Japanese wood box.
Provenance: Private collection, Japan, acquired in the late 19th/early 20th century.
Note: The inscription cast under the handle consists of an altar positioned below two figures kneeling before a fire. A similar inscription can be found on a late Shang jue in the Shanghai Museum illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji - 3 - Shang (3), Beijing, 1997, p. 26, no. 26.
Three jue dated to the 13th-12th century BC, of similar tall proportions and with similar cast decoration, are illustrated by R.W. Bagley, Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1987, pp. 180-86, nos. 12-14.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 20 - 21 March 2014