Lot 2: Bronze Vessel GUI, Spring and Autumn Period, 7th-5th C. BC
October 22, 2016
Berlin, Berlin, GermanyLive Auction
Bronze with strong greenish blue patina
China, Zhou dynasty, Spring and Autumn period (7th-5th century BC)
Bulbous ritual vessel GUI
On a circular, constricted foot
Below the mouth rim a wide border in relief with stylized mythical creatures on profiled ring bands
Sculpturally handles in the shape of horned mythical creatures flank the sides
Weight: 1.4 kg
Height: 9 cm
Diameter: 14.5 cm
Similar GUI vessels of the Spring and Autumn period are found in the National Museum of China and in the Henan Museum.
Literature: Cf. Bernhard Karlgren/ J. Wirgin, Chinese Bronzes in the Natanael Wessén Collection, Stockholm 1969, p. 52f.
The bronze vessel is in good condition for its age and shows a striking, authentic patina. The edge shows an old restoration The height measures 9 cm and the diameter is 14.5 cm.
The GUI vessel was used for the storage of food and has the form of a deep kettle with a width foot rim. On the sides opposing handles, mostly designed in the shape of animal, are visible. Pieces without handles have been cast mainly in the 12th/11th centuries. Since the 9th century the GUI is preferably provided with a square base, which was frequently cast as a one piece with the vessel.
The Bronze Age in China began with the Shang Dynasty when elaborate objects, including many ritual vessels, were crafted. Shang bronzesmiths usually worked in foundries outside the cities to make ritual vessels, and sometimes weapons and chariot fittings. The bronze vessels were receptacles for storing or serving various solids and liquids used during sacred ceremonies. The most popular shapes include the HU, the JUE, the DING and the very rare ZHI form. It is typical of the developed Shang style that all available space is decorated, most often with stylized forms of real and imaginary animals. The most common motif is the taotie, which shows a mask with a frontal, bilaterally symmetrical design.
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