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Asian Art Week: Qianlong’s Precious Vessel - The Zuo Bao Yi Gui Estimate $4-6 Million

Offered in a Stand-Alone Sale | 13 September 2018 | NEW YORK

New York  – WEBWIRE

Christie’s announces the highlight of the September 2018 Asian Art Week in New York, Qianlong’s Precious Vessel: The Zuo Bao Yi Gui  (estimate: $4,000,000-6,000,000), which will be featured in a stand-alone sale on September 13, 2018.

 Dating to the early Western Zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century BC, the Zuo Bao Yi Gui is prized for its unique form and exceptional provenance. This ritual food vessel was once in the collection of the Emperor Qianlong, who reigned from 1736-1795, and was published in Xiqing gujian, the catalogue of bronzes in the imperial collection which was commissioned by the Qianlong Emperor and printed in 1755. Incredibly rare, only six other archaic bronzes from the Qianlong Emperor’s collection are known to be in private hands today.

 The reign of the Qianlong Emperor is celebrated as one of the “golden ages” in Chinese history, when some of China’s finest ceramics and works of art were produced. The Emperor was personally involved in overseeing much of the artistic production, and he favored archaistic styles in particular, with archaic bronzes and jades providing the inspiration for many works during his reignThis interest in learning from the material culture of the past, and using ancient wisdom to guide the present, led the Qianlong Emperor to commission the Xiqing gujian catalogue as a record of his collection.

 Gui vessels were originally used for the ritual offering of grain to ancestors, and typically are of deep bowl form raised on a tall foot and flanked by a pair of animal-head handles. It is the present vessel’s four tall legs that distinguish this magnificent example: there are only 15 known four-legged gui, the majority of which are in museum collections.

 This bronze gui also features an inscription on its interior that reads, ‘made this precious honorable vessel’, inferring that the piece would have been commissioned by someone of wealth and status. Since writing on bamboo and wood from this era has not survived to the present day, the inscriptions on ancient bronzes are notable for being among the earliest written records of Chinese history.

 Additionally, the gui was in the collection of Wu Dacheng, one of the most prominent 19th century collectors and connoisseurs of archaic bronzes, and was published in his personal catalogue, Kezhai Jigulu. The gui then passed through many of the most important 20th century collectors and dealers in this field. In many ways, the gui embodies China’s long history of collecting and appreciating ancient bronzes at the highest level.

 Further information on Christie’s September 2018 Asian Art Week in New York will be announced in the coming week.

Qianlong’s Precious Vessel: The Zuo Bao Yi Gui

13 Sep

20 Rockefeller Center, New York, NY, 10020

  • Auction

    13 Sep, 11am

  • Viewing

    New York

    7 Sep, 10am - 5pm

    8 Sep, 10am - 5pm

    9 Sep, 1pm - 5pm

    10 Sep, 10am - 5pm

    11 Sep, 10am - 5pm

    12 Sep, 10am - 2pm

About Christie’s

Christie’s, the world’s leading art business, had global auction, private and digital sales in the first half of 2018 that totalled Ł2.97 billion / $4.04 billion. Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and international expertise. Christie’s offers around 350 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie’s also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Alongside regular sales online, Christie’s has a global presence in 46 countries, with 10 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.

*Please note when quoting estimates above that other fees will apply in addition to the hammer price - see Section D of the Conditions of Sale at the back of the sale catalogue.

*Estimates do not include buyer’s premium. Sales totals are hammer price plus buyer’s premium and are reported net of applicable fees.

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