Eastern Zhou Dynasty, 6th Century B.C.
the deep bowl and domed cover fitting together to form a spherical vessel raised on a pedestal base with openwork foot in the form of entwined serpents, each very finely cast with a horned dragon head and neatly coiled body, the sides of the bowl cast with twelve rows of small bosses above an intaglio dragon-scroll background forming a wide frieze interrupted by two small projecting ring-shaped handles and edged with pendant leaf-shaped reserves filled with key-fret and small bosses, the cover with two bands of small bosses above fine granulation interspersed with spiral and scroll motifs in shallow relief and with a double band of ropetwist around the base of the wide flaring crown which also serves as a foot when the cover is inverted for use as a bowl, the interior of the crown decorated with entwined serpents delicately cast in shallow intaglio on a ground of flat granular pattern, surrounding a complex medallion with a spiral motif of three curving blades filled with key-fret leaving three comma-shaped motifs filled with granulation in the background, all within an interlocking angular scrollwork border, the metal with a smooth gray-green surface around the foot and with lightly encrusted bright blue and green patination around the sides and on the cover.
Height 7 inches (17.8 cm)
Width 7 1⁄4 inches (18.4 cm)
Compare the bronze dou of similar form and design illustrated by Rene-Yvon Lefebrve d’Argencé in Bronze Vessels of Ancient China in the Avery Brundage Collection, San Francisco, 1977, p. 110, pl. XLVII.