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Lot 139. An archaistic silver-inlaid bronze 'owl' vessel and cover, Ming Dynasty (1368-1644); 35.5cm (14in) high. Sold for HKD 191,250 (Est: HKD 200,000 - HKD 300,000). © Bonhams 2001-2022

Of archaic guang form, finely silver-inlaid around the exterior with floral roundels and geometric bands, set to one side with a small loop handle and to the other with a channelled spout, the cover in the shape of an owl head with hinged beak and secured to the body with linked bars.

Provenance: A private collection formed in the 1950s
Sotheby's London, 5 November 2008, lot 85.

NoteDuring the Ming dynasty, when appreciating and collecting antiques was very much in vogue, archaic bronzes like the present wine vessel were made according to the illustrations in the catalogues published of Xia, Shang and Zhou dynasty bronzes. The shape of the present hu vessel derives from Eastern Zhou dynasty bird-head bronze ritual hu vessels, compare with an early Warring States period bronze bird-head wine vessel excavated in Shandong, illustrated in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji [Complete Collection of Chinese Bronzes], Beijing, 1997, p.28, no.27; compare also with an Eastern Zhou dynasty owl-head ritual hu vessel, previously in the Sakamoto Goró collection, which was sold at Sotheby's New York, 18 March 2014, lot 18.

Bonhams. GANBEI A TOAST TO CHINESE WINE CULTURE, 30 November 2022, Hong Kong, Admiralty