A massive bronze (copper tin alloy) vase cast in Han dynasty Hu shape and with Han style Taotie mask handles. The archaistic style decoration is an amalgam of Shang and Zhou dynasty motifs. These consist of upper and lower bands depicting stylized dragons and a central band of large Taotie ("monster"} masks. All are reserved against a flattened Leiwen (cloud) daiper ground. Below the upper two horizontal bands are pendent 'Cicida Blades'.
An accompanying 1973 British Museum letter suggests an 18th/19th Century dating but more recent scholarship has confirmed that this item was made earlier, during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).For this letter and many additional enlargements, please view 1tem #1045 in our Liverpool shop website at 69aliverpool.co.uk
For a slightly smaller Ming vase of this shape, please see Lot 391, Sotheby's New York 18 March 2015; for a Ming dynasty archaistic bronze bell, with similar decoration, please view Lot 812, Sotheby.s New York, 21 March 2015
Condition - there are typical old repairs and losses, particularly to the base (please view enlargements).
49.5cm (19.5 inches) high.
Weight 8.9kg (19.6lb).