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AN IMPORTANT AND VERY RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE WINE VESSEL, YOU
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About the item

AN IMPORTANT AND VERY RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE WINE VESSEL, YOU\nLATE SHANG DYNASTY, 12th-11th CENTURY BC\nThe vessel has a broad oval-shaped body standing on a short splayed foot ring, and cast with a loose over-head arched handle terminating in bovine masks; the high domed cover is surmounted by a bud finial. It is decorated around the main body in relief with large taotie masks on the front and back against a leiwen ground. The shoulder, neck and foot are similarly decorated with bands of confronting kui dragons, and the cover with two taotie masks. The inside of cover and the interior base of vessel are cast with an inscription in intaglio. The metal has a dark silvery green patina with areas of malachite and azurite encrustations.\n12 3/4 in. (32.3 cm.) high, Japanese wood box
HK
HK
HK

notes

The stout oval-bodied you, an important wine vessel for religious rituals in the late Shang Dynasty, did not appear until the first century of the Anyang period. The sophisticated decorative style found on the current vessel, with its captivating taotie masks cast in high relief against a dense leiwen ground and its confident and well-proportioned shape, place it in the mid to late Anyang period. As with other examples of the same period, the large masks of the main decorative band fill the swelling body, flanked by shaped flanges on either side to accentuate its face and drawing the viewers' attention to its lower section. This arrangement can also be found on a smaller you excavated in Hunan Ningxiang, illustrated in Kaogu, 1963.12, pp.646-7, figs.1-2. The Hunan example is very similar to the current example, except for its neck, which is decorated with a band of upright blades. Compare also to a you in the Sackler Collection, which is smaller and squatter in proportion, but with very similar arrangements of decorative bands, illustrated by R. Bagley in Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Washington D. C., 1987, p. 372, no. 64. The Sackler example, however, has the handles placed on the shorter axis, rather than on the side as is on the current vessel.

A slightly smaller you dated to the Late Shang/Early Western Zhou Dynasty, was sold at Christie's New York, 20 September 2005, lot 151, which has slightly more slender proportions and with more dissolved motifs. Another bronze you, also sold at Christie's New York, 21 September 2004, lot 147, has its handle on the shorter axis.

A Technical Examination Report is available upon request.

title

AN IMPORTANT AND VERY RARE ARCHAIC BRONZE WINE VESSEL, YOU

medium

The vessel has a broad oval-shaped body standing on a short splayed foot ring, and cast with a loose over-head arched handle terminating in bovine masks; the high domed cover is surmounted by a bud finial. It is decorated around the main body in relief with large taotie masks on the front and back against a leiwen ground. The shoulder, neck and foot are similarly decorated with bands of confronting kui dragons, and the cover with two taotie masks. The inside of cover and the interior base of vessel are cast with an inscription in intaglio. The metal has a dark silvery green patina with areas of malachite and azurite encrustations.

prelot

THE PROPERTY OF AN IMPORTANT COLLECTOR

keywords

All other categories of objects

department

CHINESE CERAMICS AND WORKS OF ART

dimensions

12 3/4 in. (32.3 cm.) high, Japanese wood box

literature

The 15th Anniversary Catalogue, Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo, 1981, p. 241, no. 1053

Ancient Chinese Arts in the Idemitsu Collection, Tokyo, 1989, no. 65

provenance

The Idemitsu Museum, Tokyo, prior to 1989


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


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