Auction - Rare collection of Chinese archaic bronzes coming up

Christie’s will auction in September The Sze Yuan Tang Archaic Bronzes from the Anthony Hardy Collection as part of its Fall Asian Art Week. This collection of approximately 120 lots valued in excess of $15 million will be led by a very rare and important archaic bronze ritual tripod food vessel, Li, from the late Shang dynasty, 12th century BC. Many of the bronze vessels from the Collection date to the 13th–12th centuries B.C., the Golden Age of the Shang dynasty. This was the period when Anyang, in Northern Henan province, served as the capital, and when some of the finest and most sophisticated bronzes were created. The bronzes were employed by the Shang ruling class for ritual offerings of food and wine to invoke the aid of ancestral spirits. One of the most famous bronzes in the collection is the striking li, a ritual tripod vessel for cooking grains or meat, from the late Shang dynasty, 12th century BC. The vessel is cast with three startling taotie animal masks, each formed by a pair of confronted zoomorphic creatures and which, in full face, feature an animal mask with formidable horns and sharply angled eyes.