1st Mar, 2024 10:00

The No Reserve Dragon Sale

 
  Lot 76
 

76

A RARE WHITE MARBLE CARVING OF A PHALLUS, WESTERN HAN DYNASTY
西漢漢白玉玉勢

Starting price
€300
Estimate
€600
Current bid
€550
(2bids)
 

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Lot details


Please note this Lot is to be sold at No Reserve. 本拍品不設底價

China, 206 BC-8 AD. The realistically carved elongated phallus is decorated with rings along the shaft and with a cross-hatched decorative band at the base. The base has a domed recess inside that is pierced horizontally for suspension. This recess has a second aperture that extends to the tip of the phallus.

Provenance: Bonhams, Hong Kong, December 16th, 2022, lot 351. Note that Bonham’s experts originally dated this lot to the Tang dynasty.
Condition: Good condition commensurate with age. Signs of wear, weathering, and erosion. Minor nicks and losses. Soil encrustations overall, issuing from an extended period of burial. These encrustations cannot be easily removed, and they have left distinct marks to the mineral. The stone with natural inclusions and fissures, some of which have developed into hairline cracks. Fine, naturally grown golden-brown patina overall.

Weight: 431.7 g
Dimensions: Length 18.9 cm

Please click here to read the full description

Expert’s note: Similar to the few known phallus sculptures from ancient China, the heavy encrustation from extensive burial is evidence of its (eventual) use as a grave good. The elaborate carving with great attention to detail and the two apertures, one for suspension and one for added realism, suggest the elite status of the person with which this was buried.

Phallic objects carved from stone, or cast from metal or terracotta, are common subjects of any major ancient culture. Throughout time, the phallus was seen as an emblem of life and procreation. Not only did it have the power to induce fertility, but it also had an equally important role as an auspicious emblem which would ward off diseases. The practice of castration and the employment of court eunuchs, likely established in China during the Sui dynasty, added a secondary role of model phalli: the restoration of manhood after death (court eunuchs would be buried with their detached genitalia). However, this multifaceted subject remains somewhat of a taboo, which has contributed to relatively scarce publications about ancient Chinese erotic sculpture.

Phalluses of various materials, believed to be associated with fertility rites, have been made in various prehistoric cultures in the Yellow River basin. Later in the Shang dynasty, when pictographic language emerged, the character zu (ancestor) closely resembled the male sexual organ, indicating the significance of the male role in ancient Chinese ancestry.

Literature comparison:
Compare two similar bronze phallus excavated from a tomb in the Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu, dated to the Western Han dynasty, in the Nanjin Museum, included in the exhibition Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 17 February-28 May 2017. Compare two bronze V-shaped double-phalli, excavated in the tomb of Prince Zhongshan (Liu Sheng), dated to the Han dynasty, published in Mancheng Han mu Fajue Baogao (Excavation Report of the Han Dynasty tomb at Mancheng), Beijing, 1980, vol. 1, pp. 100. The former was unearthed together with a pair of matching stone pebbles, illustrated ibid., vol. 2, pl. LXI, fig. 2.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 29 April 2022, lot 3670
Estimate: HKD 140,000 or approx. EUR 16,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A bronze phallus, Han dynasty
Expert remark: Note the similar wrinkle-like rings at the top of the shaft. Note the size (17.2 cm).

点此阅读中文翻译 (Chinese Translation)

西漢漢白玉玉勢
中國,公元前206年至公元八年。雕刻逼真的細長陽具,底部飾有交叉紋飾帶。底座內部有一個圓頂凹槽,水平穿孔用於懸掛。凹出有延伸至陰莖尖端的第二個孔。

來源:香港邦翰思,2022年12月16日。請注意邦翰思專家認爲這件拍品來自唐代。
品相:狀況良好,有磨損、風化和侵蝕的跡象,輕微劃痕和缺損。總體而言,土壤結殼是由於長期在地下而產生的。這些結殼不容易去除,並且在大理石上留下了明顯的痕跡。石料具有天然内沁和裂隙,有的已發展成裂紋。整體呈精美的金棕色包漿。

重量:431.7 克
尺寸:長18.9 厘米

文獻比較:
比較兩件戰國時期青銅勢,出土於江蘇大雲山江都王陵,收藏於南京博物館,展覽於《Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty,Asian Art Museum》,舊金山,2017年2月17日 -5月28。比較兩件漢代V形雙陽具,出土於中山王墓,出土於《滿城漢墓發掘報告》,北京,1980年,卷1,頁100。其中一件與一對相配的鵝卵石一起出土,見上書,卷2,圖LXI,圖2。

拍賣結果比較:
形制:相近
拍賣:香港蘇富比,2022年4月29日,lot 3670
估價:HKD 140,000(相當於今日EUR 16,500
描述:漢青銅祖
專家評論:請注意相似的環。請注意尺寸(17.2 厘米)
 


Please note this Lot is to be sold at No Reserve. 本拍品不設底價

China, 206 BC-8 AD. The realistically carved elongated phallus is decorated with rings along the shaft and with a cross-hatched decorative band at the base. The base has a domed recess inside that is pierced horizontally for suspension. This recess has a second aperture that extends to the tip of the phallus.

Provenance: Bonhams, Hong Kong, December 16th, 2022, lot 351. Note that Bonham’s experts originally dated this lot to the Tang dynasty.
Condition: Good condition commensurate with age. Signs of wear, weathering, and erosion. Minor nicks and losses. Soil encrustations overall, issuing from an extended period of burial. These encrustations cannot be easily removed, and they have left distinct marks to the mineral. The stone with natural inclusions and fissures, some of which have developed into hairline cracks. Fine, naturally grown golden-brown patina overall.

Weight: 431.7 g
Dimensions: Length 18.9 cm

Please click here to read the full description

Expert’s note: Similar to the few known phallus sculptures from ancient China, the heavy encrustation from extensive burial is evidence of its (eventual) use as a grave good. The elaborate carving with great attention to detail and the two apertures, one for suspension and one for added realism, suggest the elite status of the person with which this was buried.

Phallic objects carved from stone, or cast from metal or terracotta, are common subjects of any major ancient culture. Throughout time, the phallus was seen as an emblem of life and procreation. Not only did it have the power to induce fertility, but it also had an equally important role as an auspicious emblem which would ward off diseases. The practice of castration and the employment of court eunuchs, likely established in China during the Sui dynasty, added a secondary role of model phalli: the restoration of manhood after death (court eunuchs would be buried with their detached genitalia). However, this multifaceted subject remains somewhat of a taboo, which has contributed to relatively scarce publications about ancient Chinese erotic sculpture.

Phalluses of various materials, believed to be associated with fertility rites, have been made in various prehistoric cultures in the Yellow River basin. Later in the Shang dynasty, when pictographic language emerged, the character zu (ancestor) closely resembled the male sexual organ, indicating the significance of the male role in ancient Chinese ancestry.

Literature comparison:
Compare two similar bronze phallus excavated from a tomb in the Dayun Mountain, Xuyi, Jiangsu, dated to the Western Han dynasty, in the Nanjin Museum, included in the exhibition Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, 17 February-28 May 2017. Compare two bronze V-shaped double-phalli, excavated in the tomb of Prince Zhongshan (Liu Sheng), dated to the Han dynasty, published in Mancheng Han mu Fajue Baogao (Excavation Report of the Han Dynasty tomb at Mancheng), Beijing, 1980, vol. 1, pp. 100. The former was unearthed together with a pair of matching stone pebbles, illustrated ibid., vol. 2, pl. LXI, fig. 2.

Auction result comparison:
Type: Related
Auction: Sotheby’s Hong Kong, 29 April 2022, lot 3670
Estimate: HKD 140,000 or approx. EUR 16,500 converted and adjusted for inflation at the time of writing
Description: A bronze phallus, Han dynasty
Expert remark: Note the similar wrinkle-like rings at the top of the shaft. Note the size (17.2 cm).

点此阅读中文翻译 (Chinese Translation)

西漢漢白玉玉勢
中國,公元前206年至公元八年。雕刻逼真的細長陽具,底部飾有交叉紋飾帶。底座內部有一個圓頂凹槽,水平穿孔用於懸掛。凹出有延伸至陰莖尖端的第二個孔。

來源:香港邦翰思,2022年12月16日。請注意邦翰思專家認爲這件拍品來自唐代。
品相:狀況良好,有磨損、風化和侵蝕的跡象,輕微劃痕和缺損。總體而言,土壤結殼是由於長期在地下而產生的。這些結殼不容易去除,並且在大理石上留下了明顯的痕跡。石料具有天然内沁和裂隙,有的已發展成裂紋。整體呈精美的金棕色包漿。

重量:431.7 克
尺寸:長18.9 厘米

文獻比較:
比較兩件戰國時期青銅勢,出土於江蘇大雲山江都王陵,收藏於南京博物館,展覽於《Tomb Treasures: New Discoveries from China’s Han Dynasty,Asian Art Museum》,舊金山,2017年2月17日 -5月28。比較兩件漢代V形雙陽具,出土於中山王墓,出土於《滿城漢墓發掘報告》,北京,1980年,卷1,頁100。其中一件與一對相配的鵝卵石一起出土,見上書,卷2,圖LXI,圖2。

拍賣結果比較:
形制:相近
拍賣:香港蘇富比,2022年4月29日,lot 3670
估價:HKD 140,000(相當於今日EUR 16,500
描述:漢青銅祖
專家評論:請注意相似的環。請注意尺寸(17.2 厘米)

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Auction: The No Reserve Dragon Sale, 1st Mar, 2024

The Chinese Dragon rules!

The No Reserve Dragon Sale features 390 Chinese works of art, all available at jaw dropping starting prices, and with no reserves whatsoever!

In celebration of Chinese New Year, we're excited to unveil this exclusive sale, where the finest Chinese artworks are available at unprecedented prices. Our dedicated team has tirelessly negotiated with consignors worldwide to set starting prices that defy convention. Plus, we've eliminated all reserves in accordance with our Dragon Rules, ensuring an exceptional opportunity for passionate collectors.

Explore a treasure trove of rare items, many with impeccable provenance, and most in excellent condition. While it appears that in recent days the European market has shown somewhat of a decline in offering high-quality objects, this is a unique chance to immerse yourself in the finest Chinese art and acquire coveted pieces that have fascinated collectors for generations. Join us in this extraordinary event where history meets affordability!

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