Shang Dynasty, 11th Century B.C.
the deep bowl with convex sides divided into three lobes, each cast with the dispersed elements of a taotie with slotted oval eyes under large ‘C’-shaped horns, flanked by hooked scrolls and small kui dragons on either side, all cast in smooth rounded relief on a ground of very finely delineated leiwen and centered by a notched vertical flange above a shield-shaped relief panel with hooked sides, the lobes separated by shallower notched flanges all beneath a collar of kui dragons in pairs facing away from the center of each mask, raised on slightly tapered columnar legs decorated in intaglio with linear cicada-blades infilled with hooked scrolls, the wide elliptical mouth with square-edged bevelled rim supporting a pair of upright ‘U’-shaped handles, the surface showing a mottled gray-green ‘water patina’ with scattered areas of reddish cuprite encrustation, the plain interior cast with three pictograms on the side.
Width 6 1⁄4 inches (15.8 cm)
Height 7 3⁄8 inches (18.8 cm)
The pictograms may be read as: 刀父丁 (dao fu ding)
From the Collection of Heinrich Hardt, Berlin
From the Oeder Collection, Priemern, Altmark
Sotheby’s London, 19 June 1984, lot 19
Eskenazi Ltd., London, 1987
Kümmel, Otto. Jörg Trübner zum Gedächtnis, Ergebnisse seiner letzten chinesischen Reisen, Berlin, 1930, pp. 22-23, pls. 6(a) and 7, together with the companion vessel from the van der Mandele Collection, pl. 6(b)
Umehara, Sueji. Ōbei shūcho shina-kodō seika (Selected Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Europe and America), Kyoto, 1933, pt. 1, Vol. I, pl. 90
Karlgren, Bernhard, “New Studies on Chinese Bronzes,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, 1937, No. 9, pl. X, no. 254
Chen, Mengjia. Haiwai zhongguo tongqi tulu; di yi ji (Chinese Bronzes in Overseas Collections: vol. I), Beijing, 1946, pl. 1
Karlgren, Bernhard. “Notes on the Grammar of Early Bronze Décor,” Bulletin of the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities, Stockholm, 1951, No. 23, pl. 17, no. 358
The companion liding from the van der Mandele Collection, cast in the same form with matching decoration, and with the same inscription, was included in the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, London, 1935 and is illustrated in The Chinese Exhibition: A Commemorative Catalogue of the International Exhibition of Chinese Art, Royal Academy of Arts, November 1935- March 1936, pl. 2, no.183, listed as “lent by van der Mandele, Bloemendaal, Holland”. The same companion liding from the van der Mandele Collection is illustrated by Visser, Asiatic Art in Private Collections of Holland and Belgium, Amsterdam, 1948, pl. 2, no. 3.
The inscription on the van der Mandele liding, matching that on the present vessel, is recorded by Barnard and Cheung, Rubbings and Hand Copies of Bronze Inscriptions in Chinese, Japanese, European, American and Australasian Collections, Taipei, 1978, p. 863, no. 1568.
商 刀父丁鬲鼎 寬 15.8 厘米 高 18.8 厘米