Bronze ritual vessels and 13th-century painting Six Dragons will be put under the hammer in New York. [Photo/China Daily]
our 3,000-year-old Chinese bronze ritual vessels are among 31 Chinese works of art to be auctioned at a New York sale on Wednesday night.
The items to be sold by Christie's are from the collection of the Osaka-based Fujita Museum, which was founded in 1954 to display the collection of Japanese entrepreneur Denzaburo Fujita (1841-1912) and his sons.
The four vessels, each with a presale estimate surpassing $4 million, were used as wine containers during ceremonies in the late Shang Dynasty (c. 16th century-11th century BC). They are seen as examples of refined bronze-working skills, and three of them are believed to have been excavated in the city of Anyang, in Henan province.
A square fangzun vessel features mythical creatures on its four shoulders. They look like birds that have hooked beaks, wings and curled tails, while notably, they each wear a horned monster mask. Hybrids combining the features of imagined and real animals like this were a common way for the Shang people to create motifs on bronze objects.