Fetched US$37m, "Fujita" fanglei set world auction record for an archaic bronze

March 15th was the highlight of New York spring sales, and Christie's "Fujita" sale owned that night. Four of the top lots, ritual bronze wine vessels from the late Shang dynasty, all soared above their estimates, sold for over US$125m in total. While the 1st lot of this series, fangzun, fetched US$37,207,500, set world auction record for an archaic bronze.

Motifs of the fangzun (the picture above) are exquisite, the main register of the tapering mid-section is cast with large taotie masks with dragon-shaped horns, each fanked by descending kui dragons on either side and below a narrow register of confronting kui dragons with elephant trunks. The high foot is similarly decorated with taotie masks below a narrow register of confronting kui dragons with hooked beaks. The canted shoulder has a band of confronting kui dragons centered by relief animal masks and separated by mythical birds crowned by monster masks with bottle horns on the corners, all below a faring neck with a band of upright blades enclosing dispersed elements of taotie above pairs of confronting kui dragons.

The following lot is fanglei (the picture above). Among archaic Chinese bronzes, "Min" fanglei is considered as the "King of all fangleis". It was one of the top lots at New York spring sales in 2014, the Hunan Provincial Museum and collectos from Hunan reached a deal with Christie's before the auction day, bought it for around US$20,000,000. This time, the "Fujita" fanglei fetched US$33,847,500.

The 3rd lot is a pou (the picture above). Christian Deydier, specialist in archaic Chinese bronzes, told us that this pou is extremely rare. He believes that it was possibily unearthed from the tomb of Wu Ding, an important rule of the Shang dynasty. This pou was sold for US$27,127,500 at last. Last but not least is the gong (the picture below), with a rarely seen and charming ram form, also fetcehd US$27,127,500.

(prices include buyer's premium, unless otherwise stated)