Auction - Chinese archaic bronzes coming up at Bohnams

A collection of 3,000-year-old Chinese bronze ritual offering vessels will be among the most important items in Bonhams' next sale of fine Chinese Art on May 12. They have emerged from a little known Canadian collection made by a family which fled the Nazis and spent WWII in China, joining family in Canada after the war. Lot 249 is an important and rare archaic bronze wine vessel and cover, fangyi late Shang Dynasty, Circa BC 1300-1050, cast with mythical beasts and dragons. It is estimated to sell for £700,000 to £1,000,000. Among all bronze vessels produced in early China, the fangyi, a rectangular wine vessel, is extremely rare as it was made during a short period (Late Shang –Early Zhou, c. 1300-1000BCE). Almost all fangyi are exquisitely decorated, indicating this was a special object associated with the ruling class of the society. This bronze fangyi has an inscription which is identical to one found on a jue and lid vessel from the Avery Brundage Collection in the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco suggesting they could originally have been a set.  The second bronze is Lot 250 a rare archaic ritual offering vessel, fangzuo gui early Western Zhou Dynasty, Circa BC 1050-900. It features masks, dragons and a rim of silkworms, horned mythical beasts and birds. It is estimated to sell for £500,000 to £800,000.