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Lot 3007. An inscribed archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun, Late Shang - early Western Zhou dynasty; h. 24.7 cm. Lot sold: 504,000 HKD (Estimate: 200,000 - 300,000 HKD). © 2023 Sotheby's.

the interior cast with three characters reading ge fu xin, with 2 x-rays.

ProvenanceCollection of Alan and Simone Hartman, New York, 2010, by repute.

Note: The inscription, ge fu xin 戈父辛, indicates that this zun vessel was dedicated to Father Xin of the ge clan. The ge clan is believed to have invented the dagger-axe ge, and is one of the oldest and most prominent clans in the Shang and Early Zhou dynasties. Various bronze ritual vessels and oracle bones with the pictograph of the ge clan were excavated in Henan, Shaanxi, Shanxi, Hunan, and Hubei. 

For examples of bronze vessels with the ge clan’s mark, see a Ge Fu Gui You 戈父癸卣, excavated in 1991 from Gaojiabu, Jingyang county, Shaanxi province, now in the Jingyang Museum, Shaanxi province, illustrated in Li Xixing, The Shaanxi Bronzes, Xi'an, 1994, pl. 155. There is also a Ge Zu Gui Gu 戈祖癸觚 donated by Walter Hochstadter, now in the British Museum, London (accession no. 1939,0522.2). See two further examples that were sold at Christie’s New York:  a Ge Zu Ji Gui 戈祖己簋 was formerly in the collection of Robert H. Ellsworth, sold at Christie’s New York, 22nd March 2019, lot 1508; and a bronze Yu from the Arthur M. Sackler Foundation, sold at Christie’s New York, 15th September 2017, lot 904. 

The present zun is cast with a bold design of a pair of taotie masks around the bulging midsection. In its proportions and casting it resembles three inscribed early Western Zhou bronzes illustrated in Jessica Rawson, Western Zhou Ritual Bronzes from the Arthur M. Sackler Collection, figs 79:1-3; the first, from the tomb of Hei Bo, Gansu province; the second in the Burrell Collection Glasgow; and the third in the National Palace Museum, Taipei. See also a zun in the Sackler Collection illustrated in ibid., pl. 80. Compare two recently sold examples with a similar design, one from the Dr Wou Kiuan Collection, and the other from the MacLean Collection, both sold in our New York rooms, 22nd March 2022, lot 103, and 23 March 2022, lot 240.

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Lot 3009. An inscribed archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, zun, Late Shang - early Western Zhou dynasty; 29.8 cm. Lot sold: 403,200 HKD (Estimate: 300,000 - 400,000 HKD). © 2023 Sotheby's.

with 1 X-ray.

ProvenanceLaiyantang Collection, Hong Kong.

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Lot 3027. An inscribed archaic bronze ritual wine vessel, gu, Late Shang dynasty; 28.5 cm. Lot sold: 277,200 HKD (Estimate: 100,000 - 150,000 HKD). © 2023 Sotheby's.

the interior of the foot cast with a character reading jing, with 2 X-rays.

ProvenanceIkeda Gallery, Tokyo, 2012.

Sotheby's. Chinese Art Online: A Private Asian Collection, Hong Kong, 19 January 2023