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Auction Description for John Nicholsons Fine Art Auctioneer & Valuer: The Max Lowenson Collection of Animals in Chinese Art
Auction Description:
Max Lowenson (1879–1945) was born in Riga, Latvia, and as a young man came to Cardiff, Wales, to marry his wife. He was  soon  followed  by  his two brothers who married her sisters. He was the director of the Produce Trading Company and travelled extensively in Europe and the Far East. He was a skilled linguist,being fluent in Russian,English, French and Italian. He was a cultured man with a wide range of interests in literature, theatre, art, as well as Elizabethan and Chinese history. Lowenson became an avid collector of Chinese works of art, with a primary focus on early works from the Han and Tang Dynasties. He collected Chinese terracotta, and bronzes from the Han, Warring States, Ordos, Dian, Luristan and Tang periods, as well as Jades from Neolithic to 18th century,  all collected with     a connoisseur’s  eye.  He  bought  from  countries he visited as well as from country house sales during the first half of the 20th century. The pieces currently being auctioned represent a cross section characterise his wide ranging taste in Chinese art.   Now a selection from his collection will appear in a special auction on November 11, to coincide with the Asian Art in London festival of auctions, gallery shows, talks and museum exhibitions.   A selection of bronzes and jades have been chosen to illustrate the different ways in which animals have been depicted in Chinese art, over time. They reveal the astonishing skill with which artists throughout the ages,have depicted these beautiful creatures.     The varied animals depicted in Chinese art  can  be  divided into three major categories--domestic animals, wild animals and mythical beasts. All of these are represented in the objects selected for this auction. They include water buffalo, rabbit, ducks, deer, camels, goats, pigs, rams, horses, lions, bears, tigers, rhinoceros, monkey,  snakes,  birds,  phoenix,  and mythical beasts such as dragons and phoenix. They also show people interacting with animals who are being ridden,  or hunted. The taotie are also represented in this selection of bronzes and Jade.   To discover what animals represent to people within any culture,it is necessary to understand what they have symbolized over time. Whether imaginary or real, animals are a recurring decorative and symbolic element of ancient Chinese art. They are not just part of the natural world. They represent beliefs, hopes and fears for present and future times. Animals within the Zodiac indicate aspects of personality and destiny. Many real or mythical animals represent human attributes such as strength, courage, happiness, power, love, benevolence, wisdom, longevity, and fidelity.Animals also represent seasons, colours, elements and directions. Knowledge of this symbolism enriches our understanding of the relevance animals have had within Chinese culture over thousands ofyears.   The objects come from many different periods including Neolithic, Warring States, Han, Tang, Song, Ming, and the 17th and 18th centuries. The materials found in these items include jade, bronze, copper, agate, turquoise, jet, silver, gold, iron  and lead.   Some of the animals like the phoenix are highly stylised. Others such as the felines are astonishingly realistic and demonstrate a total understanding of anatomy and movement. The silverHan bear and Warring States waterbuffalo, show all the features of the animal, within a small circular area. In doing so, the artists have demonstrated great skill and creativity. The Han parcel gilt bronze tiger is stylistic but is extraordinarily expressive. The many mythical beasts depicted show a richness of imagination rarely equalled in other cultures.   bi discs have been included because in Chinese art they represent heaven and earth wherein all creatures real or mythical were believed to exist.  The Liangzhu bi disc depicts   a mask and a bird, whose symbolism is now lost in the mists  of time.
Viewing Notes:
Special London view Monday 7th November 10am - 8pm Tuesday 8th November 10am - 8pm Champagne reception both days 6pm - 8pm by kind permisson of David Brower Antiques 113 Kensington Church Street London W8 7LN View at Fernhurst Wednesday 9th November 10am - 5pm Thursday 10th November 10am - 5pm Friday 11th November, the morning of the sale from 9am or by special appointment
Sale Notes:
www.invaluable.co.uk/johnnicholsons

The Max Lowenson Collection of Animals in Chinese Art (38 Lots)

by John Nicholsons Fine Art Auctioneer & Valuer


38 lots with images

November 11, 2016

Live Auction

Haslemere, United Kingdom

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17th Century Jade Rhinoceros

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Description: A dark green Jade rhinoceros, with detailed scrolled and linear decorations over the body and sides of the head and ears. There is a Bluett label on the base. Dimensions: Length 11cms, height 4.5cms, weight 225 grams.

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Warring States Jade Dragon Phonix

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Description: This is a Jade phoenix and dragon carving representing symbols of yang and yin. The iconography suggests the power of the female over the male. This is a round carving with fine curved decorations over the body and heads of the phoenix and dragon. The dragon is delicately carved with its head and body on one side of the phoenix, and legs and tail on the other side, with a carved out space between. The phoenix has curved appendices and the jade has beautiful translucency. Dimensions: Length 4cms, height 4.5cms, weight 10 grams Warring States period (475 – 221 BC)

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Han Dynasty Agate Bear

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC - –220 AD) A Han agate bear with bands of fine decorative lines around breasts, back, limbs and tail. Two tear shaped holes behind the neck indicate that this was a toggle. One raised arm is scratching an ear. The limbs have sharp claws. The agate a soft gray pink colour. This beautifully carved bear looks very anxious. Han agate bears are rare. Dimensions: Height 3.5cms, weight 100 grams Reference 1. See Gilded Dragon Carol Michaelson p52 no.22. 2. Rawson 1995a, no.26.3, p.359. Also see comparison between this bear and the British Museum bear, p350. 3. Munakata 1990, p.70, no.16

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Pair of Neolithic Bi Discs

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Description: Neolithic period A pair of neolithic jade bi discs, with red and green colours and surfaces showing a cloud-like pattern. The jade is highly polished, translucent, and carved in a concave shape with very thin, slightly irregular borders. Dimensions: diameter 9cms, weight 115 grams

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Neolithic Jade Bi Disc

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Description: Exceptional large neolithic bi disc. It has a subtle range of colours including blue, green, grey, black and creamy white. The surface pattern shows cloud like effects with streaks of lines and in places the stone has a stippled appearance. There are dark and light areas and the surface is highly polished. The central drilling is conical and was re-polished to remove all drilling traces. There are corrosive areas most evident on one side. This type of jade and the techniques used to drill the hole, suggests a late neolithic date. Dimensions: diameter 26cms, hole 5.7cms, thickness 1mm – 10mm, weight 1820 grams Reference A two segment disc in a similar type of bluish, speckled jade is in the Harvard Art Museum collection acc. No. 1943.50.597, online image at http://www.harvardartmuseums.org/collections/ob- ject/204625?position=0

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Ming Dynasty Jade Horse

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Description: Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644 AD) A beautiful 16th – 17th century Ming horse. The predominantly brownish/grey stone carving follows the shape of the original pebble. The recumbent horse has its head turned back showing the finely delineated mane and tail curved at the front. The face is composed and expressive. The base is formed from an inclusion of deep russet colour and is carved in low relief with cloud scrolls. It has its original carved wooden stand. Dimensions: Length 8.5cms, weight 300 grams Reference 1. See jade Ming horse Lot 194, Mallams auction October 2014.

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18th Century Jade Ram Group

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Description: An 18th century white jade group of 3 rams, the jade of pure mutton fat colour carved almost in the round to show a ram, head with luxuriant beard turned around, seated next to his partner and with a young ram perched on his back, the base finely carved to show detailed line decoration of the underside of the legs and hooves. Coupled with its original ivory stand, carved as a slice of a tree trunk with foliage. Three Rams’ (sanyang) design is commonly found represented in Chinese art, particularly in Jade. The ram is a traditional emblem of good luck, since the Chinese term for ram (or goat), yang, is a homophone of yang, ‘sun’, and represents the male or positive principle in the yin-yang duality. The Chinese character for ram is also used as a variant for a similar character pronounced xiang, which means happiness. Three rams, san yang, are considered a particularly auspicious symbol, evoking the expression sanyang kaitai, the awakening of nature in spring, which signifies good luck and happiness. Dimensions: Length 9cms, height 5cms, weight 375 grams References 1. See `The complete Collection of Treasures at the Palace Museum’ jade ware 111, pl.88. 2. Christies sale of Hartman jade 28th Nov 2006 lot 1418. 3. Sothebys sale of ram group March 2015 Lot 298

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Large Liangzhu Period Neolithic Bi Disc

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Description: Liangzhu period (3400 – 2250 BC) This jade bi disc is of exceptional size and decoration. The inner and outer edges are smooth. There is a chip on the inner hole which has been smoothed down. It is drilled from both sides with a slightly uneven join, characteristic of Liangzhu period discs. The decoration comprises of lightly incised birds on pedestals, sitting on four round objects which may represent eggs. There are two parallel lines above and below monster masks with oval eyes and headdress, and a distinctive trapezoidal inlay plate. This has been developed from the shaped crown worn by a deity or ancestor and is an iconic decoration used by the Liangzhu people. The design is repeated on both side. The stone is light and dark green, cream, orange, and dark brown, with semi- translucent light green areas. Many decoration details appear to be worn away or were lightly incised. Geological condition The stone is nephrite, which under magnification, shows numerous crevices, weathering, colour change, loss of translucency, loss of lustre, whitening in grooves, crystal formation, crystal enlargement, surface dissolution, and porosities. Dimensions: diameter 37cm, thickness 1cm reducing to 3mm at edge, weight 3060 grams. References 1. British Museum had a large disc with similar bird design on display until 2015 when it was removed. 2. Chinese Jade Neolithic to Qing Jessica Rawson p132. 3. Chinese Jades, Study of Jades of the Liangzhou Culture. Colloquies on Art and Archeology No 18, 1997. Rosemary Scott 4. See Teng Shu-ping, Chinese Jades Edited by Rosemary Scott p19.

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Tang Dynasty Silver Cup

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Description: Tang dynasty (618 –- 907 AD) This silver cup has concave sides, flares widely at the mouth, and stands on an everted foot-rim. The upper band is decorated with vines and leaves. The large central section is decorated with beautifully detailed animals and birds on a background of vines and leaves. There is a lower border of vines and leaves which is similar to the upper border. The cup has a foot-rim with a vine design. The handle is in the form of a feathered bird and the base is decorated with a finely detailed duck. Dimensions: Height 7cms, diameter 7cms excluding handle, weight 75 grams

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Tang Dynasty Silver Cup with Gilt Handle

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Description: Tang Dynasty (618 – 907 AD) This cup is cast and hammered silver with a chaste and ring-punched decoration. There is a gilt handle and the body of the cup shows extensive decoration with birds, flowers and grapevines. The base has a floral decoration. Dimensions: Height 6.5cms, weight 125 grams References 1. Identical one seen in Smithsonian Luxury Goods Silver Gallery. 2. See similar Tang cup Christies New york sale 2339 Lot 1006 2010. 3. Tang cup 4.7cm Christies sale 7964 King St 10.5.11 Lot 185.

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Silver Tang Dynasty Gilt Cup

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Description: Tang dynasty (618 –- 907 AD) A silver gilt lobed Tang cup supported by eight lotus petals opening out from the base. The lobes have alternate scenes of women and hunting, separated by gilt ribbed borders. The lobes depicting women in four different activities including, playing with children, getting dressed and putting on makeup, and playing music. The other panels follow a hunt. The cup is finished with beading on the rim, edge of the foot and the curve of the handle. On the top of the round handle is a disc, beneath which is a curved tail. The disc is in the form of a ruyi cloud in the centre of which is a horned deer. Dimensions: diameter 8cms, height 4.5cms, weight 90 grams. Reference For similar example see Gilded Dragon Carol Michaelson p124, no.88.

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Bronze Han Dynasty Leopard

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Description: Han dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD) This small gilt bronze leopard has a fierce appearance with prominent eyes, and finely delineated eyebrows and ears. There is a band of fine lines along each side of the head with punctate decoration either side of the nostrils. The sides of the head are decorated with circular dotted areas. There are leaf shaped dotted areas over the whole body and legs. The massive front claws are in a line typical of Han Dynasty bronze felines, and fine linear decorations above the claws. The hollow underside has a blackened patina. Dimensions: Length 7.5cms, height 4cms, weight 115 grams.

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Bronze Lion, Ming to early Qing Dynasty

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Description: Ming to early Qing Dynasty 17th century This bronze lion has a powerful head with a wide open mouth revealing teeth and tongue. The penetrating eyes are surmounted by finely lined curled furry mane which also surrounds the sides of the head, jaws and under the chin. Each side of the face is decorated with dotted circular motifs. The top of the head has a diagonal shaped pattern over the gilding, and there are two large curled areas on either side of the back of the head. There are swathes of fur on either side of the knobbed central spine which terminates in a trifoil tail. The legs show powerful talons decorated with fine lines. There is extensive corrosion on the sides of the base and within the hollow body. Lions were not indigenous animals to China, but were sent as gifts as early as 87 AD via the Silk Road; they later became known as `protectors of Buddhism’ and were associated with royalty (1) . bronzes such as this one were used either as paperweights on the scholar’s desk, or used as finials on the lids of larger containers. A comparable gilt bronze Ming seated lion was included in the 1986 exhibition Arts from the Scholar’s Studio (2) Dimensions: Height 7cms, width 8cms, weight 360 grams References 1. Bjaaland Welch, p, Chinese Art: A Guide to Motifs and Visual Imagery, Tuttle publishing, Hong Kong. 2008, p.135 2. Moss, H and Tsang, G, Arts from the Scholar’s Studio, Oriental Ceramic Society, Hong Kong, 1986, no.51, p.90 3. For comparison see Bonhams Fine Chinese Art auction 12.11.15 Lot 58. 4. Ben Janssens Art of the Chinese Craftsman Nov 2014 p22.

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Warring States Period Button Hook

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Description: Warring States period (475 –- 221 BC) A small button shaped bronze belt hook. The inlay includes bronze, gold, silver, turquoise, and lapis lazuli. belt hooks of this kind are usually long while this example is round like a button and the hook, typically zoomorphic, is very short. The dragon’s head is finely inlaid with turquoise eyes, a heart shaped design on top of the head, and small oval ears. There are two chilong either side, with turquoise eyes and long ribbed lapis lazuli bodies. The sharp claws are inlaid with gold and silver. There is a central lapis stone which forms part of a taotie mask incorporating a gold moustache. The turquoise and lapis lazuli stones have an aged appearance. The underside shows a blue green patination. Dimensions: Length 6.7cm, weight 95 grams.

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Eastern Zhou - Warring States Period Inlaid Bronze Belt Hook

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Description: Eastern Zhou - Warring States period .A large tiger bronze belt hook inlaid with gold and silver. It has four clawed feet, an open mouth, prominent teeth, and a tail evolving into a dragon’s head. This has alternating gold and silver inlays on its top and sides. The head, body, legs and feet are all inlaid with gold and silver scroll work in a zoomorphic pattern which is flush with the bronze. The beast has a collar which consists of gold inlaid strips above which is another row of diamond shaped motifs. There is a turquoise eye. The back of the figure shows green corrosion, the hook button is missing, and there are two small corrosion holes below the collar. Dimensions: Length 22cms, height 11cms, weight 185 grams comparisons See Bonham’s auction March 16th 2015 Warring States inlaid tiger belt buckle which is similar in shape. However that one had 2 legs while this one has four. The Bonham’s catalogue is the source of the published examples given below. Published 1. Giuseppe Eskenazi, Animals and Animal Designs in Chinese Art, New York, March 1998: catalogue no. 5. Fold-out cover of catalogue 2. Maurizio Scarpani, Ancient China, vercelli, Italy, 2006, p 141 3. Giuseppe Eskenazi, A Dealer’s Hand, London, 2012, pp 194-1195 4. A belt hook of distinctly similar design and execution, formed as a rhinoceros, and inlaid with gold and silver, was excavated in Sichuan in 1954 and is now held by the National Museum of China, Beijing The museum’s description attributes this type of large, elaborately inlaid, animal-form belt hook to the ancient Ba state, located in what is now eastern Sichuan. 5. In ‘Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania,’ Barbara West describes the tiger cult of the Ba people, in which deceased kings were believed to transform into tigers. The National Museum of China also notes that ba is described in the literature of the Chu state as being a region with a highly developed artistic culture. 6. During this period, bronze vessels and ornaments, like this piece, stood as dazzling and luxurious symbols of the individual power of warlords the elite consumed metalwork designed for festivities, diplomatic gifts, dowries and personal adornment. The highest quality adornments such as this belt hook would have been produced for the most exalted classes of Warring States period elite. 7. There also exists a group of silver-inlaid cast bronze animal-form fittings, of similar silhouette, which served as corner supports for furniture and which display decorative schemes that have much in common with the patterns evident on the present belt hook. This may suggest a common date or geographic origin. The beast’s neck is inlaid with a geometric border, perhaps representing a cowrie shell collar. See a related pair of corner supports, formerly in the collections of Stephen Junkunc iv and Alice Boney, sold at Christie’s New york, June 4 1992, lot 194. A further example is now in the Miho Museum and was exhibited in the museum’s 1999 exhibition, ‘Animals in Ancient China.’

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Jin Dynasty Twin Carp Mirror

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Description: Jin Dynasty (1115 -– 1234 AD) This mirror is heavily cast in high relief with two carp swimming on top of a swell of waves. The large twisting bodies in an almost square configuration, fill the entire space surrounding the knob. There is a very naturalistic appearance to the twisting movement. The body surface are cast to resemble fish scales. The fish have prominent heads and large powerful fins along the ridge of the bodies and at the end of the tails. The waves of the sea are well depicted especially where they churn around the large central boss. There is heavy green patina, and on the front the silver is well preserved. The double carp design was one of the auspicious symbols in use from the Han dynasty onwards. Among these, the carp, thought to transform itself into a dragon, carried a particular congratulatory meaning. Dimensions: diameter: 19cms, Rim 0.5cms, weight 1070 grams References 1. See the similar mirror illustrated in the book Circles of Reflection by Ju-his Chou p89, no 86. Twin fish motif typical during the Jin dynasty, probably based on the same design on the Song Dynasty mirrors. 2. Compare related mirror of same size illustrated in Ancient Bronze Mirrors from the Shanghai Museum, Shanghai, 2005, p350 – 1, no 236. 3. Also see Circles of Reflection p89, no 86. 4. See Chinese Bronze Mirrors by o J Todd. 1935, p 212 plate X1X. 5. Robert Ellsworth Collection see Luminous Perfection sale Christies New york March 2012 Lot 1466. 6. Bronze mirrors from Ancient China donald H Graham. p43. 7. World in Mirror: Selected Bronze Mirrors from Lloyd Cotsen’s Donation p136 pl 59.

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Tang Dynasty Mother-of-pearl Inlaid Mirror

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Description: Tang Dynasty (618 -– 907 AD) This is a very rare mother of pearl octafoil mirror. It has a flat undecorated rim, within which is the central section showing mother of pearl inlays of hunter with bow, animals, birds, trees, clouds, and flowers. The mother of pearl is set in lacquer on bronze. The front of this mirror is silver with heavy green corrosion. There is a similar mirror in the British Museum and the information note says that mother of pearl inlaid mirrors of this period are rare because they are fragile and most were destroyed. Dimensions: diameter 20cms, weight 660 grams £5000 - £8000 References World in Mirror: Selected Bronze Mirrors from Lloyd Cotsen’s Donation p110 - 112, plates 46, 47, 48.

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Bronze Warring States Monkey Belt Hook

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Description: Warring States Dynasty (475 -– 221 BC). This elegant belt hook has a top finial with an alert looking monkey with detailed features, agate eyes and a long curled tail. The shaft of the buckle is inlaid with deep coloured turquoise in a geometric pattern. The central section is in the form of a rabbit with agate inlays in eyes and forehead. The other end of the buckle terminates in a dragon head with agate eyes. There is a plain gilt button on the back of the buckle. ?? Dimensions: Length 21cms, weight 115 grams References 1. See Christies Sale 2726 Lot 1498 2. Also Christies Sale 2689 lot 1132

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Tang Dynasty Phoenix Bowl

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Description: Tang Dynasty (618 -– 907 AD) A hexafoil silver and gold gilt dish with an iron core. There is an outer band which contains six raised gilt sections containing flowers alternating with grapes and leaves. The next band consists of a concave section delineated by six raised ridges sloping down towards the central section. The central raised roundel is surrounded by an outer border of ferns within which are two silver gilt phoenix. These show detailed feathered wings and two flowers either side of the detailed heads. There are traces of gold gilt with blue green patina in some areas. The flat back shows silver areas broken up by areas of heavy green patina. Dimensions: diameter 24.5cms, height 2.5cms, weight 1570 grams. References See Gilded Dragons Carol Michaelson p97, no 58 Tang dish.

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A Pair of Western Han Dynasty Bronze Fittings

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Description: Western Han Dynasty 2nd -– 1st century BC. A pair of large bronze fittings. The central head has a conical hat, with detailed eyes, nose, mouth and beard. on either side of the head is a lithe dragon with powerful limbs, below which is a taotie mask ending in a beak-like ring supporting the curved handle. This has a twisted shape, and is decorated with small circular motifs. This bronze has a fine green brown patina. The reverse shows heavy corrosion. This pair of bronze fittings are unusual because of their design and size. Dimensions: Length 34cms, width 17.5cms weight 2400 grams.

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Western Han Dynasty Dian Bronze Boar Hunt

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Description: Western Han Dynasty 2nd -– 1st century BC. A bronze plaque from the Dian culture in Yunnan province dating from late Warring States to early Western Han. it shows a wild boar attacking one of the hunters who is holding a small animal. Both hunters wear the typical tunics head coverings of the Dian period. The base of the plaque consists of a long snake. Dimensions: Length 18cms, height 10cms, weight 340 grams References 1. See identical example from Yunnan Provincial Museum: Hunting pig 2. http://hua.umf.maine.edu/china/bronzes/index.htm 3. Also see book The Chinese Bronzes of Yunnan p213 plate 247.

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Western Han Dynasty Dian Dancing Jugglers

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Description: Western Han Dynasty 2nd -– 1st century BC. A Dian culture bronze plaque of dancing jugglers. Both energetic male dancers wear tight fitting costumes with long sleeves. They have long swords buckled to the waists with stretched out hands holding two plates. They dance vigorously with heads held high and knees flexed. They trample on a long snake which is biting one of the dancer’s legs. The kingdom of Dian in Yunnan province, which reached its height during the second and first centuries BC, was one of the richest ancient civilizations in southwestern China. The frank realism and exotic imagery of the bronzes from the Dian kingdom illustrate the foreign heritage of its people and the huge distances, both culturally and artistically, that separate them from the Han court. Dian bronzes were cast using the lost-wax technique, which allows intricate, highly sculptural designs. Dimensions: Length 15cms, height 10cms, weight 225 grams References 1. Similar bronze in the Yunnan Provincial Museum. It is called dancing jugglers and is cast gilded bronze. See below quote and picture: 2. Also see Chinese Bronzes of Yunnan p214 plate described as Western Han.

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Warring States Period Inlaid Belt Hook

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Description: Warring States period (475 -– 221 BC). A belt hook with a top section in the form of a dragon attached lower down to a bearded mythical creature with long horns, a curled tail, and powerful limbs terminating in sharp talons. The dragon’s beautifully shaped head shows very detailed inlaid features. The whole bronze is finely inlaid with silver and gold, in scrolls and geometric designs typical of Warring States period. The underside has an inlaid button and a heavy dark green patina. Dimensions: Length 18cms, width 7cms, weight 265 grams.

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Warring States Period Inlaid Belt Hook

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Description: Warring States period (475 -– 221 BC). This belt hook is identical in design with Lot 23. It has a top section in the form of a dragon attached lower down to a bearded mythical creature with long horns, a curled tail, and powerful limbs terminating in sharp talons. The whole bronze is finely inlaid with silver and gold, in scrolls and geometric designs which differ from the inlay on the other Warring States hook. The underside has a button with a gold and silver inlay design identical to that of Lot 8. It has heavy dark green corrosion. Dimensions: Length 17.5cms, width 6 cms, weight 285 grams.

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Han Dynasty Silver Bear Scrool Weight

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD). A Han silver bear with fierce expression and a large tongue hanging out of one side of the mouth. It has huge paws with sharp claws and a tail curled up over the trunk. Fine linear engravings enhance the features of the head, ears, and eyebrows. Every feature of the bear is encapsulated in the finest detail this small silver scroll weight. Dimensions: diameter 5cms, height 1.5cms, weight 275g

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A Pair of Song Dynasty Camel Weights

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Description: Song Dynasty (960 -– 1279 AD). A pair of Song gilded bronze recumbent camel weights with linear and scrolled surface decorations. Dimensions: Length 7cms, width 5cms, height 5cms, weight 940 grams.

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Han Dynasty Parcel Gilt Bronze Tiger Scroll Weight

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD) This parcel gilt bronze scroll weight shows a tiger with its sharp claws forming the front edge of the bronze. The parcel gilt provides a dramatic depiction of the stripes of the tiger. The head is turned facing the tail. The most remarkable feature of this animal is its highly intelligent appearance with eyes that always seem to follow the viewer. Dimensions: Length 8cms, height 4cms, weight 450 grams.

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Han Dynasty Bronze Dragon Fitting

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD). A gilt bronze in the form of a dragon head with jet inlaid eyes. It has a long snout, divided into three curved sections, a curled nose, elongated ears and distinctive eyes and lined eyebrows. There are long horns over the head extending beyond the ears. The fitting ends in a circular hollow ring decorated with an intricate geometric pattern. This bronze may possibly have fitted onto a chariot handle. Even though there is considerable corrosion, the remaining gilding is in excellent condition. The un-gilded base has a green, brown, red patina. Dimensions: Length 20cms, width 6.5cms, weight 820 grams References See Met Museum of Art online Asian bronze No 17.25.2.

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A Pair of Large Warring States Period Gilt Bronze Belt Hooks

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Description: Warring States period (475 -– 221 BC). A pair of dragon headed gilt belt hooks. The head of the dragon has fine detailed eyes, curled lined eyebrows, mouth, nostrils and ears. There is a flared area on either side of the head behind the ears. The head has a raised curved engraved projection. The long neck enters the mouth of a monster whose head has areas of gilt engraved with fine lines, and raised stippled areas within which is a rounded boss. The lower section of the hook shows another large head with prominent eyes, curved lined eyebrows, and curled nostrils. There is a decorated central boss, and the ears are formed by two dragons. The reverse has a large central maroon stud with extensive green corrosion and some white areas. Warring States belt hooks of this size were usually found near the waist in tombs dating to 4th century BC. Dimensions: Length 22cms, weight 880 grams.

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Silvered Bronze Tang Dynasty Lion and Grape Mirror

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Description: Tang Dynasty (618 -– 907 AD). The circular mirror is cast in high relief, with a crouching lion knob encircled with grape vines and six further lions in different postures amidst grapes and vine scrolls. The outer field is decorated with pairs of four different animals including pheasants, cranes, deer and lions amidst similar vine scrolls, within a band of floral designs encircling the rim. The bronze has a silvery patina. One of a pair This is the remaining mirror from a pair of identical mirrors, both of which come from the Max Lowenson collection. The other one of this pair was sold at Christies Hong Kong sale on 28.11.12 (6). This is the remaining mirror from the Max Lowenson pair. Dimensions: diameter 16.5cms, rim thickness 1.7cm weight 1230 grams References 1. See mirror with similar central and rim design in the Palace Museum, Beijing, illustrated in The Palace Museum’s Collections of Bronze Mirrors, Beijing, 2008, pl.33. 2. Compare also to three examples with similar decorative theme but with more lions and mythical beasts in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated in Shanghai Bowuguan cang qingtong jing, Shanghai, 1987, pls.83-85. 3. See similar example Christies New york sale March 2013 4. Lot 1142. Raymond A Bidwell (1876-1954) Collection. The Springfield Museums, Springfield, MA, accessioned in 1962. 5. Also Christies sale 2689 lot 1142. 6. Christies Hong Kong 28.11.12 sale 2963. Lot 2232

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Bronze Thai Sukhothai period Buddha Head

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Description: Sukhothai period 15th century Thailand A finely modelled Sukhothai bronze Buddha head with a serene facial expression. This head depicts an image produced in one of the major centres of bronze casting in the Kingdom of Lan Na (13th – 16th century) and was made by the lost wax method. The downcast eyes are set below eyebrows that run into the nose bridge. The smiling lips, elongated earlobes, prominent chin and hair in loose snail shell curls are all characteristic of the period. The patination of the bronze shows rich colours of maroon, green, black and traces of gold gilding. Although this is only a fragment, it has great beauty and spirituality. Dimensions: Height 25cms, width 20cms, weight 4010 grams References 1. Compare with Lot 418 Christies sale 19th March 2013. 2. See Head of Buddha Thailand Museum no.IM80-1927 3. Compare with very similar head on display in British Museum

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A Pair of Qing Dynasty Qianlong Period Cloissonne Mirrors

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Description: Qing Dynasty, Qianlong period (1736 -– 1795) Each mirror has a tapered cylindrical body and a detailed pattern of a double phoenix in flight. The brilliant colours of the birds include shades of blue, pink, maroon, red, green, white and yellow. The background consists of leafed branches with colourful flower blooms, trees, and foliage, all on a turquoise background. There is a gilt border with a geometric design. The mirror is surrounded by a band of cloisonné consisting of flowers and vines. The central boss has Qianlong Dynasty Four Script -KaiShu- characters and the underside shows a smooth gilt surface. Dimensions: diameter 18.5cms,rim 2cms, weight 2160 grams References For an identical mirror see Compendium of the Palace Museum Collection. Enamels 2012. vol 3. p51.

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Tang Dynasty Dragon Bowl

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Description: Tang dynasty (1368 – 1644) A lobed dish depicting a dragon chasing a pearl. Ruyi clouds surround a border of floral blossoms. The bowl has some residual gold gilt on a silvery background. The dragon has a raised stippled body with a tail that loops around the left leg which is characteristic of Tang dragons. There is a raised base decorated with flowers amidst scrolling tendrils and it has extensive areas of green corrosion. Dimensions: diameter 24cms, height 4cms, weight 970 grams references 1. See lobed mirror with dragon and clouds. Freer Gallery of Art. F1938.8 Smithsonian institute. 2. Also see www.asia.si.edu/explore/asia/silkroad/mir ror.asp

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Han Dynasty Water Buffalo Scroll Weight

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD). A rare inlaid gilt bronze water buffalo scroll weight. The animal is lying on a frieze of undulating waves and rests on an almost circular base. The alert expressive head is inlaid with jet and agate, and the nostrils, mouth, horns and ears are depicted in fine detail. There is an extensive inlay of turquoise crescents and agate, along either side of the ridge of the back, and around the base below the waves. The ridge along the back ends in a curled tail. The legs are folded under the body but details of the hooves are evident. The underside shows the lead which forms its weight. it is unusual to find a Han bronze with all of its original inlay and gilt. This is a beautiful depiction of a water buffalo. Dimensions: Length 6.5cms, height 3cms, weight 235 grams.

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Gilt Bronze Han Dynasty Bird Box

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC -– 220 AD). Han Dynasty gilt box in the shape of a bird. The head has a powerful beak and detailed eyes with prominent curved delineated eyebrows. There is a fine linear pattern over the curved sections on either side of the head, with a horn over the back of the head terminating in a feathered motif. The sides of the bird show a delicate curved pattern leading to lined side and long tail feathers. The finely decorated gilt surface is continued on the underside, which shows folded legs with long talons, and a different pattern of tail feathers. The interior is covered in heavy green patina. This box demonstrates the outstanding quality of workmanship achieved during this period. Dimensions: Length 11cms, height 8cms, width 5cms, weight 325 grams. Test report This bronze was tested by Peter Northover and his conclusion is: `The intimate mixing of cuprite and earthy materials in the corrosion products on this bird box is strong evidence in support of its antiquity and authenticity.’ The full report is available.

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Han Dynasty Bronze Feline

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Description: Han Dynasty (206 BC - 220 AD). It is rare to find a Han bronze animal of such large size. Moreover, it is unusual to see such a naturalistic pose giving the impression of stealthy movement. It shows great strength and power. It has a fierce expression on the face with an open mouth revealing teeth and tongue. There are curved bands with incised lines either side of head, prominent eyes, detailed nostrils and small round ears. The gilding is partially covered by encrustations on a maroon black patination. The body shows powerful musculature with detailed curved markings above the large claws. The left hind leg is slightly raised giving the impression of motion. The long curved triangular shaped tail terminates in a curled end. The base shows a hollow body with much heavy black encrustation. It is interesting to compare this Han feline with the inlaid Warring States feline. Test results Dr Peter Northover has tested the bronze and spectroscopic examination results support the Han dating. He concludes that: `The composition of this feline is fully consistent with a Han Dynasty origin.’ The full report is available. Dimensions: Length 25cms, width 6.5cm, weight 835 grams. References 1. powerful figures of strident felines are also found among the monumental stone sculptures of Han Dynasty spirit roads, three of which are illustrated in paludan, The Chinese Spirit Road, 1991 pls.36-8, one in the Guanlinmiao Museum, Luoyang, two in the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, Xi’an. 2. See Chinese Art: Bronze, Jade Sculpture, Ceramics Daisy Lion-Goldsmith and Jean Claude Moreau Gobard,. pl.43

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Inlaid Bronze Warring States Period Feline

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Description: Warring States period (475 -– 221 BC). A gold and silver inlaid bronze feline in a naturalistic pose which suggests it was made by an artist with first-hand knowledge of such animals. It has a strong stalking movement, and the impression of motion is enhanced by a slightly raised right hind leg. The figure shows powerful musculature and has a fierce animated expression with an open mouth revealing teeth and tongue. The fine inlay on a black ground, is typical of Warring States Dynasty, and extends over tail, back, legs, claws, head, ears and nostrils. It has gold and silver scrolled and geometric designs with silver crescents on either side of the head. The legs have thick and thin silver scrolls. The design shows a strict bilateral symmetry throughout, continuing over the limbs and large claws. The long curved tail is inlaid with silver and gold blocks separated by thin horizontal silver lines. The underside shows areas of malachite green corrosion which are also present on the surface of the body. The style of this figure is similar to that of the Han feline also in this sale. In expression, power, shape and movement the two bronzes show similar features. Dimensions: Length 22cms, width 9.5cm, weight 1170 grams. References 1. A similar inlaid Warring States feline table support is on display in the British Museum. 2. Compare the silver-inlaid bronze on the `phoenix’ finial in the Palace Museum Beijing, illustrated in The complete Collection of Treasures of the Palace Museum: Bronze Articles for Daily Use, Hong Kong, 2007, p.35, no 31 3. Also compare the silver –inlaid bronze illustrated by Rawson and Bunker in the special exhibition and catalogue organized by the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong, Ancient Chinese and Ordos Bronzes, Hong Kong, 1990, no.81. 4. Compare with Lot 8 Dreweatts auction May 2015 5. A comparable feline was included in Eskenazi’s 1998 exhibition, published in Giuseppe Eskenazi, 1998, Animals and Animal Designs in Chinese Art , New York: catalogue no. 5, foldout cover of catalogue ; 6. Another example Bonham’s for sale in New York on 16th March 2015, 7. A pair of mat or “sleeve weights” cast in form of gold and silver inlaid tigers, were included in Christian Deydier’s exhibition at the XXVIII biennale des Antiquaries, Paris, September 2014, published in Christian Deydier, 2014, Ancient Chinese Bronzes , Paris, catalogue n. 9, p. 49. 8. For additional References see Shawn Eichman, 2000, Taoism and the arts of China , Chicago, p. 129; Lukas Nickel, 2000.

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Bronze Western Han Period Phoenix

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Description: Western Han period 2nd -– 1st century BC. This gilt bronze phoenix is cast with finely engraved linear detailing. The head shows a powerful beak with open mouth. Eyes inlaid with jet and with fine lines along the curling eyebrows, either side of the head and the delicate pointed ears. There are feather-tufts sweeping back on each side behind the eyes. Arising from the head is a curved feather plume inlaid with agate, and topped with a smaller curved plume. The prominent body would have had a central stone on its chest (now missing). There is a pointed delineated triangular tuft of feathers in front extending down from the rounded chest. The two large wings with different feather patterns, sweep backwards. between these, arises the large tail cast as four plumes of diminishing size, arranged symmetrically each terminating in a curled end with a gilt boss. The tail rises between six shorter tail feathers curled down in matching groups of three on each side. The back shows a square shaped hollow section which suggests that this bronze may have been a decorative fitting. The powerful legs have large talons and the phoenix stands on a base which has swirled engraving and is inlaid with agate and turquoise stones. Much of the original gilding remains but there is heavy green patination and corrosion in places and on the underside of the base. Han gilt bronze depictions of phoenix are very rare, especially in free standing form. This elegant bronze is a magnificent depiction of everything the phoenix represents in Chinese art. Dimensions: Height 21.5cms, width 9cms, weight 795 grams. References: 1. See illustration in Kandai no Bijutsee col.pl.60. 2. Also, see Exhibition of Art of the Han 1979 Chinese Institute in America. New York catalogue no.49. 3. Comparison see Eternal China: Splendors from the First Dynasties. Dayton, 1998, p66-67, no.5 phoenix Qin Dynasty (221 - 206 BC). 4. Chinese, Korean and Japanese Sculpture: The Avery Bundage Collection, Asian Art Museum of San Franscisco, Tokyo, 1974, pp.60-61, no.16 where author cites another example from a Han Dynasty tomb in Ding county, Herbei province, published in Wenwu, 1964, No.12,pl.1-3. 5. See gilt bronze phoenix finial in exhibition catalogue Setagaya Museum of Art exhibition catalogue, Shin no Shik tei to sono jidaiten (Exhibition of the Archaeological Relics of the Emperor Qin Shihuang), Tokyo, 1994, no.115. 6. Ancient Chinese Bronzes by J.J.Lally and Co. 2011. pl.20

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