10th Dec, 2022 11:00

Asian Art Holiday Sale

 
  Lot 1
 

1

A RARE AND IMPORTANT BRONZE RITUAL AXE-HEAD, YUE, EARLY SHANG DYNASTY, CIRCA 1500-1400 BC
公元前1500-1400年商代早期銅鉞

Starting price
€7,500
Estimate
€15,000
 

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Lot details

Opinion: Except for the different size, the present lot has remarkable similarities with a yue that bears a near-identical relief decoration surrounding the central hole, but lacks the taotie at the haft. This yue was excavated in 1974 from Lijiazui Tomb M2 in Panlongcheng and is now in the Hubei Provincial Museum. Discovered in 1954, Panlongcheng is a city-site that dates from the early Shang Dynasty. Located on the bank of Panlong Lake in Huangpi District, it covers an area of roughly 15 acres. The city conforms to the top-layer culture (circa 1500 BC) of the Shang site of Erligang in terms of bronze-making techniques, burial customs, styles of jade-wares, and features of pottery. It might have been a state built by Shang people in the middle reaches of the Yangtze to exploit resources in the south. Its discovery confirmed for the first time that the Shang culture of the Central Plains had reached the valley of the Yangtze River already during the early Shang Dynasty. The discovery of the yue in tomb 2 also confirms the function of the city as a military stronghold. Given the many features and striking resemblances that the present lot shares with the larger yue from Panlongcheng, and the provenance history described below, it seems possible, if not likely, that our yue was once found at the same site.

China, ca. 1500-1400 BC. The wide flattened blade with a beveled edge, crisply cast in deep relief with Kui dragons with raised eyes flanking a large central aperture below two small rectangular holes, the haft similarly cast with taotie masks.

Provenance: Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 1989. Acher Eskenasy, Paris, acquired from the above (invoice lost). Martin Doustar, Brussels, acquired from the above in 2011. An American gentleman, acquired from the above. A copy of a handwritten letter, signed by Acher Eskenasy, confirming his purchase of the present lot from Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, in 1989 and its sale to Martin Doustar in 2011, accompanies this lot. Acher Eskenasy is a noted French scholar and collector of Asian and tribal art. Major works previously owned by him are now in important collections and museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
Condition: Superb condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, signs of weathering and erosion, corrosion, minor nicks, cracks and scratches. Fine, naturally grown patina with malachite encrustation overall.

Weight: 838.8 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Length 24.9 cm (excl. stand)

With an associated metal stand. (2)

The yue was an ancient long-handled weapon and instrument of execution, symbolic of noble authority. Evidence suggests that these axes played a part in ritual beheadings in addition to being symbols of power. Almost central holes also dominate several other early bronze axes, including two from Panlongcheng in Hubei province.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related bronze yue, with near-identical relief decoration and central hole, but of larger size (41.4 cm) and lacking the taotie at the haft, excavated in 1974 from Lijiazui Tomb M2 in Panlongcheng and now in the Hubei Provincial Museum, illustrated by Wen Fong, The Great Bronze Age of China: An Exhibition from The People’s Republic of China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013, page 104, no. 7. Another closely related bronze yue, with near-identical relief decoration and central hole, but of larger size (35.2 cm) and lacking the taotie at the haft, is in the Jiangxi Provincial Museum. Compare a closely related bronze yue, also with a large central hole, excavated in 1995 from Guojiazhuang Southeast, Tomb M26, and now in the Yin Ruins Museum. Compare a related bronze ceremonial axe, dated to the Eastern Zhou dynasty, 11th century BC, illustrated by Christian Deydier Oriental Bronzes Ltd., Le Banquet des Dieux, Bronzes Rituels de la Chine Ancienne, Paris, January 1996, page 37, no. 12. Compare a related yue axe, also decorated with taotie masks, dated to the Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC, from the collection of the King of Sweden, illustrated by Christian Deydier, Chinese Bronzes, Fribourg, 1980, page 86, no. 59. Compare a related qi axe with a human mask on the blade, in the collection of the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, dated to the Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC, illustrated ibidem, page 88, no. 63.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Sotheby’s New York, 20 March 2012, lot 3
Price: USD 80,500 or approx. EUR 100,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: An archaic bronze ritual axe-head (yue), Shang dynasty, 12th/11th century BC
Expert remark: Compare the related form, though slightly flared, similar relief decoration, and the taotie masks to the haft. Compare also the closely related rectangular holes. Note the smaller size (16.4 cm).



公元前1500-1400年商代早期銅鉞
中國,公元前約1500-1400年。器體呈梯形,長方形內直,肩部平直,兩側有對稱的長方形孔,弧刃,兩側略外張,器身中部有較大的圓孔,肩下及兩側各飾夔紋,柄上有饕餮紋。

專家注釋:本拍品除尺寸不同以外,其中央洞口周圍相似的紋飾與1974年盤龍城李家嘴M2墓出土的銅鉞極爲相似,那件銅鉞現藏湖北省博物館。盤龍城遺址被發現於1954年,是商代早期的城址m位於黃陂區盤龍湖畔,佔地約15畝。它在製銅工藝、墓葬習俗、玉器風格、陶器特色等方面均符合二里崗商遺址的頂層文化(約公元前1500年)。這可能是商人在長江中游建立的一個國家,以開發南方的資源。它的發現第一次證實了中原商文化早在商代初期就已經到達長江流域。2號墓的發現也證實了這座城市作為軍事據點的功能。鑑於本拍品與盤龍城較大的銅鉞有許多驚人的相似之處,以及下文描述的出處歷史,我們的銅鉞似乎有可能在同一地點被挖掘出來。

來源:香港Mandala Fine Arts, 1989年;巴黎Acher Eskenasy購於上述藝廊 (發票遺失);布魯塞爾Martin Doustar 2011年購於上述收藏;一位美國紳士購於上述收藏。隨附一封手寫的信,Acher Eskenasy簽名,確認此拍品于1989年購於香港Mandala Fine Arts,2011年賣于 Martin Doustar。Acher Eskenasy是一位著名的法國學者和亞洲和部落藝術收藏家。 他以前擁有的主要藏品現在都在重要的博物館收藏中,例如紐約大都會藝術博物館和巴黎的 Musée du Quai Branly。
品相:狀態極佳,與年齡相稱。大面積磨損、風化和侵蝕、輕微劃痕和裂縫。細膩的包漿,孔雀石色結殼。

重量:838.8 克 (不含底座)
尺寸:長24.9 厘米 (不含底座)

金屬支架。

文獻比較:
比較一件非常相近的青銅鉞,於1974年在盤龍城李家嘴M2墓出土,現存於湖北省博物館,其浮雕裝飾和中心孔幾乎完全相同,但尺寸更大(41.4厘米),柄上沒有饕餮紋,見Wen Fong《The Great Bronze Age of China: An Exhibition from The People’s Republic of China》,紐約大都會藝術博物館,2013年,第104頁,第7號。另一件非常相近的青銅鉞,收藏於江西省博物館,其浮雕裝飾和中心孔洞幾乎相同,但尺寸更大(35.2釐米),柄部沒有饕餮紋。比較一間非常相近的青銅鉞,於1995年在郭家莊東南M26號墓出土,也有一個大的中心孔,現存於殷墟博物館。比較一件相關的東周時期青銅禮器斧頭,西元前十一世紀,見Christian Deydier Oriental Bronzes Ltd.、Le Banquet des Dieux,《Bronzes Rituels de la Chine Ancienne》,巴黎,1996年1月,頁37,編號12。比較一件相近的商代鉞斧,西元前十三至十一世紀,也飾有饕餮紋,來自瑞典國王的收藏,見《Christian Deydier, Chinese Bronzes》,弗里堡,1980年,頁86,編號59。比較一件相近的商代戚,西元前十三至十一世紀,收藏於柏林東亞藝術博物館,刀刃上有一個人形面具,見同上本書,頁88,編號63。

拍賣結果比較:
形制:相近
拍賣:紐約蘇富比,2012年3月20日,lot 3
價格:USD 80,500 (相當於今日EUR 100,500
描述:公元前十二或十一世纪商代青銅鉞
專家評論:比較相近的形式,雖然略微外擴,類似的浮雕裝飾,以及斧頭上半部的夔紋。也可以比較一下密切相關的長方形孔。請注意它的尺寸較小(16.4厘米)。

 
 

Opinion: Except for the different size, the present lot has remarkable similarities with a yue that bears a near-identical relief decoration surrounding the central hole, but lacks the taotie at the haft. This yue was excavated in 1974 from Lijiazui Tomb M2 in Panlongcheng and is now in the Hubei Provincial Museum. Discovered in 1954, Panlongcheng is a city-site that dates from the early Shang Dynasty. Located on the bank of Panlong Lake in Huangpi District, it covers an area of roughly 15 acres. The city conforms to the top-layer culture (circa 1500 BC) of the Shang site of Erligang in terms of bronze-making techniques, burial customs, styles of jade-wares, and features of pottery. It might have been a state built by Shang people in the middle reaches of the Yangtze to exploit resources in the south. Its discovery confirmed for the first time that the Shang culture of the Central Plains had reached the valley of the Yangtze River already during the early Shang Dynasty. The discovery of the yue in tomb 2 also confirms the function of the city as a military stronghold. Given the many features and striking resemblances that the present lot shares with the larger yue from Panlongcheng, and the provenance history described below, it seems possible, if not likely, that our yue was once found at the same site.

China, ca. 1500-1400 BC. The wide flattened blade with a beveled edge, crisply cast in deep relief with Kui dragons with raised eyes flanking a large central aperture below two small rectangular holes, the haft similarly cast with taotie masks.

Provenance: Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, 1989. Acher Eskenasy, Paris, acquired from the above (invoice lost). Martin Doustar, Brussels, acquired from the above in 2011. An American gentleman, acquired from the above. A copy of a handwritten letter, signed by Acher Eskenasy, confirming his purchase of the present lot from Mandala Fine Arts, Hong Kong, in 1989 and its sale to Martin Doustar in 2011, accompanies this lot. Acher Eskenasy is a noted French scholar and collector of Asian and tribal art. Major works previously owned by him are now in important collections and museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.
Condition: Superb condition, commensurate with age. Extensive wear, signs of weathering and erosion, corrosion, minor nicks, cracks and scratches. Fine, naturally grown patina with malachite encrustation overall.

Weight: 838.8 g (excl. stand)
Dimensions: Length 24.9 cm (excl. stand)

With an associated metal stand. (2)

The yue was an ancient long-handled weapon and instrument of execution, symbolic of noble authority. Evidence suggests that these axes played a part in ritual beheadings in addition to being symbols of power. Almost central holes also dominate several other early bronze axes, including two from Panlongcheng in Hubei province.

Literature comparison:
Compare a closely related bronze yue, with near-identical relief decoration and central hole, but of larger size (41.4 cm) and lacking the taotie at the haft, excavated in 1974 from Lijiazui Tomb M2 in Panlongcheng and now in the Hubei Provincial Museum, illustrated by Wen Fong, The Great Bronze Age of China: An Exhibition from The People’s Republic of China, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013, page 104, no. 7. Another closely related bronze yue, with near-identical relief decoration and central hole, but of larger size (35.2 cm) and lacking the taotie at the haft, is in the Jiangxi Provincial Museum. Compare a closely related bronze yue, also with a large central hole, excavated in 1995 from Guojiazhuang Southeast, Tomb M26, and now in the Yin Ruins Museum. Compare a related bronze ceremonial axe, dated to the Eastern Zhou dynasty, 11th century BC, illustrated by Christian Deydier Oriental Bronzes Ltd., Le Banquet des Dieux, Bronzes Rituels de la Chine Ancienne, Paris, January 1996, page 37, no. 12. Compare a related yue axe, also decorated with taotie masks, dated to the Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC, from the collection of the King of Sweden, illustrated by Christian Deydier, Chinese Bronzes, Fribourg, 1980, page 86, no. 59. Compare a related qi axe with a human mask on the blade, in the collection of the Museum für Ostasiatische Kunst, Berlin, dated to the Shang dynasty, 13th-11th century BC, illustrated ibidem, page 88, no. 63.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Sotheby’s New York, 20 March 2012, lot 3
Price: USD 80,500 or approx. EUR 100,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: An archaic bronze ritual axe-head (yue), Shang dynasty, 12th/11th century BC
Expert remark: Compare the related form, though slightly flared, similar relief decoration, and the taotie masks to the haft. Compare also the closely related rectangular holes. Note the smaller size (16.4 cm).



公元前1500-1400年商代早期銅鉞
中國,公元前約1500-1400年。器體呈梯形,長方形內直,肩部平直,兩側有對稱的長方形孔,弧刃,兩側略外張,器身中部有較大的圓孔,肩下及兩側各飾夔紋,柄上有饕餮紋。

專家注釋:本拍品除尺寸不同以外,其中央洞口周圍相似的紋飾與1974年盤龍城李家嘴M2墓出土的銅鉞極爲相似,那件銅鉞現藏湖北省博物館。盤龍城遺址被發現於1954年,是商代早期的城址m位於黃陂區盤龍湖畔,佔地約15畝。它在製銅工藝、墓葬習俗、玉器風格、陶器特色等方面均符合二里崗商遺址的頂層文化(約公元前1500年)。這可能是商人在長江中游建立的一個國家,以開發南方的資源。它的發現第一次證實了中原商文化早在商代初期就已經到達長江流域。2號墓的發現也證實了這座城市作為軍事據點的功能。鑑於本拍品與盤龍城較大的銅鉞有許多驚人的相似之處,以及下文描述的出處歷史,我們的銅鉞似乎有可能在同一地點被挖掘出來。

來源:香港Mandala Fine Arts, 1989年;巴黎Acher Eskenasy購於上述藝廊 (發票遺失);布魯塞爾Martin Doustar 2011年購於上述收藏;一位美國紳士購於上述收藏。隨附一封手寫的信,Acher Eskenasy簽名,確認此拍品于1989年購於香港Mandala Fine Arts,2011年賣于 Martin Doustar。Acher Eskenasy是一位著名的法國學者和亞洲和部落藝術收藏家。 他以前擁有的主要藏品現在都在重要的博物館收藏中,例如紐約大都會藝術博物館和巴黎的 Musée du Quai Branly。
品相:狀態極佳,與年齡相稱。大面積磨損、風化和侵蝕、輕微劃痕和裂縫。細膩的包漿,孔雀石色結殼。

重量:838.8 克 (不含底座)
尺寸:長24.9 厘米 (不含底座)

金屬支架。

文獻比較:
比較一件非常相近的青銅鉞,於1974年在盤龍城李家嘴M2墓出土,現存於湖北省博物館,其浮雕裝飾和中心孔幾乎完全相同,但尺寸更大(41.4厘米),柄上沒有饕餮紋,見Wen Fong《The Great Bronze Age of China: An Exhibition from The People’s Republic of China》,紐約大都會藝術博物館,2013年,第104頁,第7號。另一件非常相近的青銅鉞,收藏於江西省博物館,其浮雕裝飾和中心孔洞幾乎相同,但尺寸更大(35.2釐米),柄部沒有饕餮紋。比較一間非常相近的青銅鉞,於1995年在郭家莊東南M26號墓出土,也有一個大的中心孔,現存於殷墟博物館。比較一件相關的東周時期青銅禮器斧頭,西元前十一世紀,見Christian Deydier Oriental Bronzes Ltd.、Le Banquet des Dieux,《Bronzes Rituels de la Chine Ancienne》,巴黎,1996年1月,頁37,編號12。比較一件相近的商代鉞斧,西元前十三至十一世紀,也飾有饕餮紋,來自瑞典國王的收藏,見《Christian Deydier, Chinese Bronzes》,弗里堡,1980年,頁86,編號59。比較一件相近的商代戚,西元前十三至十一世紀,收藏於柏林東亞藝術博物館,刀刃上有一個人形面具,見同上本書,頁88,編號63。

拍賣結果比較:
形制:相近
拍賣:紐約蘇富比,2012年3月20日,lot 3
價格:USD 80,500 (相當於今日EUR 100,500
描述:公元前十二或十一世纪商代青銅鉞
專家評論:比較相近的形式,雖然略微外擴,類似的浮雕裝飾,以及斧頭上半部的夔紋。也可以比較一下密切相關的長方形孔。請注意它的尺寸較小(16.4厘米)。

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Auction: Asian Art Holiday Sale, 10th Dec, 2022

Reduced Prices!

Just in time for the holidays, we're delighted to present a selection of fine Chinese, Southeast Asian, and Indian art with newly reduced prices. Porcelain, bronzes, sculptures, and jades are among the 274 items on offer. Notable provenances include Hisazo Nagatani, Acher Eskenasy, A & J Speelman Oriental Art, Marchant & Son, Sam Bernstein, and many more.

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