Lot 1514. A bronze jar and cover, hu , Warring States period (475-221 BC); 16 ½ in. (42 cm.) high. Estimate USD 18,000 - USD 25,000. Price realised USD 22,500© Christie's Images Ltd 2020.

The jar is cast with bands of flower heads, those on the body between narrow borders of interlaced dragons, and is flanked by a pair of taotie masks suspending loose rings. The low, conical cover has similar decoration and four hooked projections that function as supports when the cover is inverted. The cast decoration retains traces of black inlay.

Provenance: Acquired in Hong Kong, 1990.

Note: During the late Eastern Zhou period, 6th-3rd century BC, various inlays were sometimes used to decorate bronze vessels. These inlays included copper, silver, gold, turquoise and a black matrix, which is seen on the present hu where it fills the decoration. This kind of inlay can also be seen on two vessels of Warring States date illustrated by Jenny So, Eastern Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, vol. III, The Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, 1995: one a faceted hu with burnished copper inlays in a ground of black matrix, pp. 261-62, no. 45; the other a stemmed fang hu from Shanxi Taiyuan Jinshengcun M251, p. 263, fig. 45.5. A black matrix inlay can be found on bronze vessels as early as the Shang dynasty.

Christie's. Important Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 25 September 2020, New York