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21.8 cm high

The present cast bronze vessel is elegantly shaped as an archaic wine vessel known as jue 爵. Supported by three elongated, tapered legs, the vessel features two short posts cast on the mouth rim and a loop handle with a mythical animal head. The body is decorated with a band of archaic taotie motifs on a leiwen background, divided by two raised flanges. The underside of the vessel bears the archaic inscription Boshen zuo baoyi, which could be translated as 'Boshen made this treasured wine vessel’. The entire surface is patinated to a rich golden brown colour and covered with irregular gilt splashes.

For the literati scholar, archaic bronzes and their inscriptions, together with jades, constituted a unique source to access a distant pass, and to display knowledge and culture. For this reason, wine vessels referencing the libation vessel jue from the Shang and Zhou dynasties were produced and collected during the Ming and Qing dynasties. The taste for archaic bronzes was expressed not only by mimicking the shape of ancient vessels, but also the content and style of the inscription. 


A nearly identical bronze wine vessel was part of the Oriental Ceramic Society of Hong Kong Exhibition and is illustrated in Gerard Tsang and Hugh Moss, Arts from the Scholar's Studio, 1986, pl. 161. A further example can be seen in Gerard Hawthorn Oriental Art, Oriental Works of Art, 2001, cat. no. 24; and another near identical vessel was sold at Christie’s Hong Kong, 27 November 2013, lot 3591.



Formerly in the collection of Hedda and Lutz Franz


Christie's Hong Kong, 30 April 2001, lot 771


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