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Lot 40. An archaic bronze bell (Bo), Eastern Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period. Height 10 in., 25.3 cm. Estimate: 40,000 - 60,000 USDLot sold: 32,760 USD. © Sothebys.

ProvenanceChristie's London, 24th June 1968, lot 168.
Collection of Dr Wou Kiuan (1910-1997).
Wou Lien-Pai Museum, 1968-present, coll. no. E.8.38. 

LiteratureRose Kerr et al., Chinese Antiquities from the Wou Kiuan Collection. Wou Lien-Pai Museum, Hong Kong, 2011, pl. 27.

Note: Exquisitely cast with confronting dragons on its handle and a large taotie mask on the lower register, this magnificent bell (bo) is a fine example of bronzes created during the Eastern Zhou dynasty (770-256 BC). Known as bo zhong for their level rims and loop handles, bronze bells of this type would have been suspended from a frame and sounded by striking with a hammer.

The present piece is closely related to a set of nineteen bo zhong of graduated sizes, unearthed from the tomb of Zhaoqing, a high-ranking official of the Jin state during the late Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BC), in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, now in the collection of Shanxi Archaeology Institute, illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji / The Complete Collection of Chinese Archaic BronzesEastern Zhou, vol. 8, Beijing, 1995, pls 111-114. Compare also a larger bronze bell preserved in the British Museum, London (acc. no. 1965,0612.1), included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, London, 1935, cat. no. 181. Compare a similar, slightly larger bell sold in these rooms, 21st September 2021, lot 39.

Sotheby's. A Journey Through China's History. The Dr Wou Kiuan Collection Part 1, New York, 22 March 2022