Shang Dynasty, 13th - 12th century B.C.
the pear-shaped beaker of oval section cast with four notched flanges pierced with ‘T’-shaped slots rising from the recessed ring foot onto the domed cover, the main register on the rounded belly of the vessel decorated with pairs of long-horned dragons with sharp fangs confronted to form taotie, below a narrow band cast with confronted long-tailed birds and a collar of scroll-filled cicada-blades rising on the neck, the straight sides of the foot decorated with kui dragons with heads turned sharply back, the cover decorated with twin taotie facing right and left, perpendicular to the taotie on the body, with a wedge-shaped finial rising on a squared stem at the center of the cover, the decoration all cast in flat relief on dense leiwen grounds, the taotie, dragons, and birds with rounded protruding eyes, with scattered bright green malachite over smooth reddish-brown cuprite patination.
Height 8 1⁄4 inches (21 cm)
J. J. Lally & Co., New York, 2002
A very similar covered zhi decorated with taotie in flat relief but lacking the notched flanges is in the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, illustrated by Karlgren in A Catalogue of the Chinese Bronzes in the Alfred F. Pillsbury Collection, Minneapolis, 1952, pp. 87–88, pl. 45, no. 30.
A smaller covered zhi of similar form and design but lacking the flanges is in the Shanghai Museum, illustrated by Chen in Xia Shang Zhou qingtongqi yanjiu: Xia Shang pian, Xia (Study of Bronzes of the Xia, Shang, and Zhou Dynasties: Xia and Shang Dynasties II) Shanghai, 2004, pp. 254–255, no. 124.
商 觶 高 21 厘米