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Lot 563. An extremely rare archaic bronze oil lamp, Han dynasty; 26cm high. Estimate HK$60,000 - 80,000. Sold for HK$ 562,500 (€ 67,049). Courtesy Bonhams.

Cast in the form of a male figure adorned in long tunic, standing assertively on the back of a crouching tiger with left leg on the back and right on its head, his right hand holding a long tubular post supporting a circular bowl with central spike, the subdued tiger depicted with intricately defined stylised scrolls on its body, depicted crouching four square on a rectangular base.

Note: It is extremely rare to find a bronze oil lamp of this form, in which a male figure is depicted standing on a tiger. A number of bronze oil lamps in the form of kneeling servants, dated to the Warring States period, have been preserved in private and museum collections, including an example formerly in the Sze Yuan Tang collection, sold at Christie's New York, 16 September 2010, lot 897. See also a bronze oil lamp from the Raymond Bidwell Collection, in the Springfield Museum, Springfield, no. 1962-2013, sold at Christie's New York, 21 March 2013, lot 2689. See also an unearthed example, possibly a prototype for the current lot, excavated from Pingshan, Hebei province in 1976, in the Cultural Relics Institute, Hebei province, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji 9. Eastern Zhou 3, Beijing, 1997, p.180, no.175. Compare also another excavated example with a kneeling figure supporting an oil lamp dated to the Western Han dynasty, unearthed from a tomb in Hebei province in 1968, in the Hebei Provincial Museum, Hebei province, illustrated in Zhongguo Qingtongqi Quanji 12. Qin Han, Beijing, 1998, p.100, no.98.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, Hong Kong, 24 November 2013