Magnificent Bronze Vase Hu, The faceted pear-shaped body, raised on a slightly spreading square foot, is applied to either side with a taotie mask handle suspending a loose ring.
S O L D
China, Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD)
Height 31 cm.
Literature comparison: Compare a similar bronze fanghu excavated at Shuihudi, Yunmeng, Hubei province, now in the Yunmeng County Museum, published in Zhongguo qingtongqi quanji (‘Complete collection of Chinese archaic bronzes’), vol. 12, Beijing, 1998, pl. 9; and another in the collection of the Fujii Yurinkan, Kyoto, illustrated in Sueji Umehara, Nihon shucho Shina kodo seikwa (‘Select Relics of Ancient Chinese Bronzes from Collections in Japan’), vol. 6, Osaka, 1964, pl. 471.
Auction result comparison: Compare with a related fanghu of larger size at Christie’s New York in Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art on 18-19 September 2014, lot 1008, sold for USD 9,375.
Quadrangular baluster, two relief taotie masks supporting mobile rings forming the handles; green oxidation.
– Old private collection France.
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*A hu is a type of wine vessel that has a pear-shaped cross-section. Its body swells and flares into a narrow neck, creating S-shaped profile. While it is similar to you vessel, hu usually has a longer body and neck. The shape of hu probably derives from its ceramic prototype prior to the Shang dynasty (1600-1045 BC). They usually have handles on the top or rings attached to each side of neck. Many extant hu lack lids while those excavated in such tombs as Fu Hao’s indicate that this type of vessel might be originally made with lids. Although it is more often to see hu having a circular body, there also appears hu in square and flat rectangular forms, called fang hu and bian hu in Chinese. In addition, hu often came to be found in a pair or in a set together with other types of vessels. As wine had played an important part in the Shang ritual, the hu vessel might be placed in the grave of an ancestor as part of ritual in order to ensure a good relationship with ancestor’s spirit.
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