Exceptional Archaic Bronzes At Christie’s And Sotheby’s In September


This September, Asian Art week at both Christie’s and Sotheby’s will feature Archaic bronzes of exceptional provenance that will offer collectors the opportunity to acquire rare and important examples not seen on the market in the past few years.

Christie’s Important Chinese Archaic Bronzes from a Distinguished Private Collection on September 19 will feature 16 extraordinary archaic bronze ritual vessels and fittings dating from the Shang to Han dynasties, 13th century BC – 2nd century AD. This sale will be led by very rare bronze fangyi, or ritual wine vessel and cover, from the late Shang dynasty, 11th century BC which was cast against an embellished ground emphasizing crisp and bold lines which will surely enhance its desirability by collectors.

At Sotheby’s, the single owner sale of Magnificent Ritual Bronzes – Property from the Collection of Julius Eberhardt on 17 September, offers ten pieces which are the finest examples of their type to appear at auction since the Albright–Knox sale of 2007.

Leading the Sotheby’s sale is a Bronze Food Vessel, Zuo Bao Yi Gui from the Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th-10th Century BC. The Gui rises from a square pedestal into the circular vessel which is dominated by large taotie masks with bird handles that boast flamboyant tail flanges. The most striking feature of this vessel is the taotie mask placed on the corners of the square pedestal, a design that is only found on three other pieces. The estimate is $2/3 million.


A Bronze Food Vessel, Zuo Bao Yi Gui
Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th-10th Century BC
Height 9 7/8 in., 25cm. Est. $2/3 million (Sotheby’s)


A Bronze Wine Vessel, Mu Xin Zun
Early Western Zhou Dynasty, 11th-10th Century BC
Est. $400/600,000 (Sotheby’s)


A sperbly cast bronze ritual food vessel, Li Ding.
Late Shang Dynasty, 11TH Century BC
8.1/2 in. (21.7 cm.) high. $400,000-600,000 (Christie’s)

chinese bronze fangyi

An important and very rare archaic bronze ritual wine vessel and cover, Fangyi.
Late Shang Dynasty, Anyang, 12TH-11TH Century BC
8 5/8 in. (22 cm.) high. Estimate on Request (Christie’s)





All images courtesy of Christie’s and Sotheby’s

Joseph Fields