02 décembre 2020

A rare and large bronze gold-and-malachite-inlaid ritual wine vessel, fanghu, Warring States Period


Lot 109. A rare and large bronze gold-and-malachite-inlaid ritual wine vessel, fanghu, Warring States Period; 45.1cm (17 3/4in) high. Estimate HK$ 500,000-800,000. Sold for HK$ 940,000 (€ 101,321). Photo: Bonhams.

Of pear form and square section, rising to a tall neck with lipped rim and supported on a straight-sided base, a pair of mask handles to either side with pendent ring handles, decorated overall with an intricate geometric design of three rows of a zigzag framework filled with symmetrical configurations of angular scrolls and hooks alternating with bands of C-scroll confronted dragon-head profiles, the pattern delineated by finely-inlaid gold wire and highlighted with small pieces of inset malachite, wood stand, wood box.

ProvenanceTakayuki Masaki (1895-1985)
Masaki Art Museum, before 1991
Sotheby's New York, 11-12 September 2012, lot 100.

Takayuki Masaki (1895-1985) was one the most highly regarded art collectors in Japan during the post-World War II period and the founder of the Masaki Art Museum in Osaka, Japan. Accumulated in just one generation, his collection consists of approximately 1300 objects including Chinese and Japanese lacquer ware, ink paintings, calligraphy and objects related to the tea ceremony.

Published and IllustratedOsaka Municipal Museum of Art, Chinese Art of the Warring States Period, Osaka, 1991, p.59, no.57.

ExhibitedNihombashi Takashimaya, Chūgoku Inshū dōki ten, Tokyo, 1958, no.76.
Shinsaibashi Daimaru, Kodai Chūgoku seidōki meihin ten, Osaka, 1960, no.54.
Osaka Municipal Museum of Art, Chūgoku senkoku jidai no bijutsu, Osaka, 1991, no.57.

NoteExamples of finely inlaid bronze fanghu vessels of this size and decoration are rare. Compare a smaller bronze inlaid fanghu (38.8cm high), Warring States period, excavated in Changde city, Hunan Province in 1993, with a similarly decorated zigzag design but without malachite inlay, illustrated in Zhongguo kaoguxue nianjian: 1996, Beijing, 1998, p.208. It appears that bronze vessels with malachite and copper inlay were more popular in Northern China, see for example a bronze copper and malachite inlaid fanghu with leiwen design excavated in Hebei in 1997, Warring States period, illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji, vol.9, Beijing, 1997, p.158, pl.155. Another related copper and malachite inlaid fanghu with geometric design was excavated in Henan, and is now in the National Museum of China, illustrated in ibid., vol.8, p.126, pl.142. See also three related examples in the Shanghai Museum: a copper and malachite inlaid fanghu with leiwen design, and two silver and malachite inlaid fanghu vessels with an overall diamond pattern, late Warring states period, illustrated by Chen Peifen, Xia shang zhou qingtongqi yanjiu: dongzhou bian 2, Shanghai, 2004, pp.438-442, pls.624-626.

Bonhams. Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art, 1 Dec 2020, Hong Kong, Admiralty

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