Bronze Rectangular Ritual Food Vessel from Late Shang Dynasty Hammered Down at US$2.8m

The first part of Christie’s New York Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art started at 2 am on 15 September (Hong Kong time). The performance of the sale was less than satisfactory. The top lot was a bronze rectangular ritual food vessel (fangding), which was hammered down within the estimate range at US$2.8m. Among the five premium lots of Zitan furniture, three lots were passed and one was sold for a price lower than its estimate.

Produced in Anyang city, the 28.2cm-tall vessel fangding is in spectacular shape with good provenance. It was part of the collection by Gisèle Croës, a famous antique dealer and collector in bronze. The interior wall was inscribed with two character Ya Yi, which could be a reference to a royal diviner by the name of Yi during the Shang Kings Zugeng’s and Zuijia’s reigns, who probably earned the title of Ya and therefore established the Ya Yi clan.

The fangding was estimated at US$2m-3m and the bidding started at US$1.2m. It soon rose to US$2.5m after six bids and the auctioneer was going to hammer down. Just when the fangding was about to be sold to a man in the room, another bidder offered a higher bid but then made no further bids afterwards. The fangding was hammered down at US$2.8m and was sold for US$3.37m with buyer’s premium to the man in the room.

Besides the fangding, Zitan furniture also carried high estimates. A pair of Zitan continuous horseshoe-back armchairs was hammered down at US$650,000, higher than its estimate of US$300,000 – 500,000. The bidding of a pair of Zitan compound cabinets and hatchests began at US$350,000. After five bid increments, it was sold for US$490,000, lower than its minimum estimate of US$550,000.

The other three premium lots: Zitan Luohan Bed and Kang Table, Zitan Painting Desk, Zitan Trestle-Leg Tables were passed in the end.

The sale will continue with its second part and the third part. The sale will be ended at around 4 am on 16th September (Hong Kong time).


Top Six Lots with Highest Estimates

A Highly Important And Rare Bronze Rectangular Ritual Food Vessel, Fang Ding. Late Shang Dynasty, Anyang, 13th-11th Century BC.

Lot no.: 907
Height: 28.2cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Collection of Han Kejun (1766-1840).
  • Collection of Wu Shifen (1796-1856).
  • Neiraku Museum, Nara, prior to 1961.
  • Christie's Paris, 26 Nov 2002, lot 200.
  • Gisèle Croës, Brussels, 2003.
  • Private American Collection

Estimate: US$2,000,000 - 3,000,000
Hammer price: US$2,800,000
Price realized: US$3,372,500

A Magnificent Pair of Zitan Compound Cabinets and Hatchests, Sijiangui. 19th Century

Lot no.: 962
Size: 239.8 x 114.3 x 54.4cm; 239.8 x 114.3 x 54.4cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):
The Property of a Gentleman
Estimate: US$550,000 - 750,000
Hammer price: US$490,000
Price realized: US$600,500

A Spectacular Carved Zitan Luohan Bed and Kang Table

Lot no.: 971
Size: 103 x 211 x 127.7cm; 28 x 103 x 47.7cm

  • Lai Loy, Hong Kong, 1991.
  • Property From A Private American Collection

Estimate: US$550,000 - 700,000

An Impressive Zitan Painting Desk. 18th-19th Century.

Lot no.: 970
Size: 79.4 x 176.6 x 80cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • General Xiang Hang Ping (1890-1978) Collection.
  • Lai Loy, Hong Kong, 1985.
  • Property From A Private American Collection

Estimate: US$500,000 - 700,000

A Very Rare Pair of Zitan Continuous Horseshoe-Back Armchairs, Quanyi. 18th Century.

Lot no.: 947
Size: 89.6 x 63.8 x 57.2cm; 89.6 x 63.8 x 57.2cm
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):

  • Chan Shing Yee, Hong Kong, November 1994
  • Property From The Nancy and Ed Rosenthal Collection

Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000
Hammer Price: US$650,000
Price realized: US$792,500

A Pair of Massive Zitan Trestle-Leg Tables

Lot no.: 972
Size: 88.3 x 354 x 50.2cm; 88.3 x 354 x 50.2cm​
Provenance (consolidated by The Value):
Property From A Private American Collection
Estimate: US$300,000 - 500,000


Auction details

Auction house: Christie’s New York
Sale: Fine Chinese Ceramics and Works of Art
Sale no.: 13751
No. of lots: 327
2017/9/14|2pm (Lot 901-1051)
2017/9/15|10am (Lot 1101-1189)
2017/9/15|2pm (Lot 1190-1281)

(All prices realized have included buyer’s premium unless otherwise specified)