BRONZE RITUAL WINE VESSEL AND COVER (YOU)
Late Shang-Early Western Zhou dynasty, 11th-10th century BC. A mysterious and powerful ritual wine vessel with lid referred to as 'you'. The vessel is pear-shaped, of oval section, it is raised upon a foot with expands from the body to the bottom, each side with a banding of kui dragon symbols of good fortune and royalty, centred by zoomorphic taotie mask cast in high relief and leiwen in between. The cover is cast with two centred taotie masks and a continuation of kui dragon scrolls. The handle twisted in form, can move from left to right offering flexibility, which terminates at each end with a stylised zoomorphic tapir-head terminals, The powerful "you" vessel is a type of wine vessel made for the royal family or members of high ruling important members of society. These were placed in the tombs of deceased, and were used for ritual rites, normally placed on an altar. The Chinese descendants we provided elaborate rights to their ancestors, for them to be protected against evil. This elaborate bronze vessel is similar in form to the Zhao you, made during the rein of king Zhao. For a similar style see Sotheby's, New York, May 13, 2015, lot 101. Size: L:255mm / W:220mm; 2.2kg Provenance: Private collection of a London doctor; formerly in a Somerset Estate collection; acquired from Hong Kong galleries in the early 1990s.