Shang Dynasty, 12th - 11th Century B.C.
the deep cup of circular section with rounded base raised on the three slender splayed blade-shaped legs, with two taotie masks filling a broad band encircling the steep sides, each taotie with raised oval eyes under flat brows and scroll-horns above open jaws shown as incurved ‘C’-scrolls, and with small ears and vertical quills at the sides, the features all cast as plain flat ribbons on a dense leiwen ground, one mask centered on an evenly scored shallow vertical flange, the other divided by a simple loop handle issuing from a bovine head and arched over a pictogram cast in intaglio, the long gutter-shaped spout flanked by half-round posts surmounted by conical nippled bosses decorated with comma-spirals and a line border, the plain pointed tail rising opposite the spout, the surface showing bright green malachite encrustation with widely scattered areas of reddish cuprite and sections of very smooth gray-green patination.
Height 8 inches (20.3 cm)
The pictogram may be read as 正 (zheng), a clan sign.
From the Collection of Chung Wah-Pui, Hong Kong
J. J. Lally & Co., New York, 1987
Hong Kong, Hong Kong Museum of Art, Anthology of Chinese Art: Min Chiu Society Silver Jubilee Exhibition, 1985–86
Anthology of Chinese Art: Min Chiu Society Silver Jubilee Exhibition, Hong Kong, 1985, p. 425, no. 218
A similar late Shang jue in the Sackler Collection, cast with the same clan sign under the handle, is illustrated by Bagley, ‘Shang Ritual Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections’ Ancient Chinese Bronzes in the Arthur M. Sackler Collections, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1987, pp. 196–97, cat. no. 19.
商 正爵 高 20.3 厘米