Lot 2020. Three bronze graduated bells, ling or niuzhong, Western Zhou dynasty, circa 8th century BC; 5¼, 5 7/8 and 7¼ in. (13.3, 15, and 18.4 cm.) high. Estimate USD 18,000 - USD 25,000. Price Realized USD 55,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014.
The clapperless bells are in graduated sizes, and each is of lenticular section and has an arched lower rim on two sides. The sides are cast in thread relief with a panel of conforming outline that encloses two addorsed dragons with compressed, and vertically arranged, scrolled bodies separated by a center line. The flat top has a central aperture below a faceted, arched suspension loop. Each bell has a mottled green surface, metal stand.
Property from the Jacob and Mary Stein Collection
Provenance: J.J. Lally & Co., New York, January 1988.
Note: Compare a set of Western Zhou bronze bells of similar form and bow-string decoration, from Shaanxi province, and dated to the middle Western Zhou period, illustrated in Shaanxi Chutu Shang Zhou Qingtongqi, vol. II, 1980, no. 75. The same set is illustrated by Minao Hayashi in his compendium, A Study of Shang and Zhou Bronzes, vol. 1, Tokyo, 1984, pl. 392.
Christie's. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, New York, 20 - 21 March 2014