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Lot 1037. An archaic bronze relief-decorated 'demons and mythical beasts' vase, Eastern Han dynasty (25 AD-220 AD); h. 31 cm. Estimate: 160,000 - 220,000 HKDLot Sold: 819,000 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

Note: This rare vase is most interesting in its combination of demon-like mythical creatures on the body and naturalistic animal combat scenes on the neck, which are reminiscent of bronzes from the Ordos region in the northeast of China. The vase was probably created for gaming or other entertainment.  

A bronze vase of very similar form but with geometric designs and a cylindrical vessel, lian, with related animal designs are illustrated in John Alexander Pope, The Freer Chinese Bronzes, Washington D.C., 1967, pls 112 and 114. Bronzes of these two groups, with animal motifs and with geometric designs such as quatrefoils and dogtooth borders, including this bottle form, are discussed in Jessica Rawson in her article, A Group of Han Dynasty Bronzes with Chased Decoration and Some Related Ceramics, 1973, where they are attributed to the late Western or early Easten Han dynasty and to the southern provinces of China, particularly to Hunan. 

The present lot was once in the collection of Julius Eberhardt (1936-2012), an Austrian architect and avid collector of ancient Chinese works of art. Julius Eberhardt had been fascinated by the art and culture of ancient China since the time of his studies. But he returned to this interest only late in life, after a trip to the Far East. Being particularly intrigued by the early dynasties of China's past, he assembled at the end of the 20th century a significant collection ranging from the Neolithic (from the 4th millennium BC) to the Tang (618-907). 

Aware of the paucity of similar material in his native Austria, Julius Eberhardt set up a private museum in Vienna, making the collection available to scholars and researchers. The Museum, generously appointed, exquisitely and sensitively laid out, and accompanied by a small library, offered a congenial environment to enjoy and study these objects. It was the first major private collection of ancient Chinese art to be assembled and made public in Austria. Part of his endeavour to make his collection available to the public was his commissioning of a bi-lingual catalogue which was published in 1999, with a first addendum in 2004, and a second one being planned at the time of his death (Regina Krahl, Sammlung Julius Eberhardt. Fruhe chinesische Kunst/Collection Julius Eberhardt. Early Chinese Art, 2 vols, Hong Kong, n.d. [1999] and 2004). Like the Museum, the books were produced to a very high standard, thanks to his long­ time advisors Lothar and the late Christina Wesemann.


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Lot 1046. An archaic bronze figure of an ox, Western Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD); 36 cm. Estimate: 60,000 - 80,000 HKDLot sold: 201,600 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

Provenance: Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong.

Note: Freestanding bronze figures of oxen are known from Western Han tombs in Yunnan province; compare, for example, a bronze ox excavated at Shizhaishan, Jinning county, and illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji [Complete collection of Chinese bronzes] vol. 14, Beijing, 1993, pl. 162, together with heads of oxen with similar crescent-shaped horns but supporting additional creatures, also from the Shihzhaishan site, pls 163 and 164. Another rare bronze ox was sold in our London rooms, 20th June 2001, lot 4, and another more recently in these rooms, 2nd July 2021, lot 5022.

A bronze 'phoenix' mirror, Han dynasty

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Lot 1051. A bronze 'phoenix' mirror, Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD); d. 13.6 cm. Estimate: 20,000 - 30,000 HKDLot sold: 25,200 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

Provenance: Sotheby's London, 29th February 1972, lot 203.

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Lot 1078. A pair of gilt-bronze tiger-form chariot fittings, Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD); 8.5 cmEstimate: 30,000 - 50,000 HKD. Unsold. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

ProvenanceAcquired in Japan, 1990s.


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Lot 1086. A rare set of four gilt-bronze zither string anchors, Western Han dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD); d. 4.9 cm. Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 HKDLot sold: 81,900 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

Provenance: Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 1990s.

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Lot 1092. A bronze 'figure riding a beast' oil lamp, Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD); w. 12.2 cm; h. 10 cm, Japanese wood boxEstimate: 30,000 - 40,000 HKDLot sold: 201,600 HKD(C) 2021 Sotheby's

Provenance: Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 1999

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Lot 1094. A rare bronze model of a well, a miniature jug, and a cooking vessel, Han dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD); w. 12.2 cm; h. 10 cm, Japanese wood box. Estimate: 30,000 - 50,000 HKD. Lot sold: 16,380 HKD. (C) 2021 Sotheby's

Comprising: - a rare bronze model of a well, 24.8 cm;
- a miniature bronze jug, 6 cm;
- a bronze two-part cooking vessel, Yan, overall h. 35 cm.
ProvenanceThe well and miniature jug: Michael Goedhuis Ltd, London (inventory no. Y3270).
Bonhams San Francisco, 24th June 2013, lot 1128.

The cooking vessel: Muwen Tang Collection, 1990s.

Sotheby's. Chinese Art Online, including Song Ceramics from the Kai-Yin Lo Collection, Hong Kong, 26 August 2021