Lot 2023. A bronze ritual wine vessel and cover, hu, Late Spring and Autumn period, late 6th-5th century BC16½ in. (41.9 cm.) high with handleEstimate USD 40,000 - USD 60,000. Price Realized USD 125,000. © Christie's Images Ltd 2014. 

The slender pear-shaped body is raised on a spreading pedestal foot and crisply cast in relief with five bands of S-shaped scrolls with curled tips set between plain borders. A band of upright blades is flat-cast on the tall, slightly waisted neck and overlaid with a pair of taotie mask loop handles suspending loose rings. Each ring is attached to linked chains that slide through corresponding rings suspended from loops on the domed cover, which are also attached to loop terminals at the ends of the dragon-form handles. The vessel has a grey and milky green patina, and some green encrustation.

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong, 1997.
The Tsui Museum of Art, Hong Kong.

Note: For a hu of similar proportions and with chain-link handle, but with an undecorated body, from Shandong Qufu Xian M3 and dated to the 4th century B.C., see J. So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1995, p. 277, fig. 49.2. See, also, another hu of similar form with chain-link handle, but with flat-cast decorative bands and taotie mask and loose ring handles on the lower body, from Hubei Jiangling Yutaishan, dated to the late 4th-3rd century B.C., illustrated op. cit., p. 287, fig. 51.3.

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