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Genuine archaic bronze or something else?

Posted By: Tim
Posted Date: Dec 31, 2016 (05:41 PM)

Greetings and Happy New Year!

I could use some input from any experienced archaic bronze collectors. Your advice would be much appreciated.

I bought this piece as a lamp (drilled). The lamp is a bronze double socket type from 1900-1920 and was intact, so the vessel is not a modern copy....this much I can guarantee.

I thought it might be a Ming dynasty copy of Western Zhou vessel, but upon further inspection I am beginning to think it is much older. I'm hoping a more experienced collector can offer some help.

Here are a few of the ideas/theories I've been contemplating....

First, I ruled out that this was a 19th c. Japanese copy. Casting and form looks correct for it to be Chinese. There are also archaic Chinese characters cast on the inside of the vessel and I'm not aware of any Japanese copies with those kind of marks. Also, the Japanese copies tend to utilize taote mask designs for the loops and scrolling geometric designs, while this vessel has interlocking dragons and simpler round loops.

So, if there is consensus that the vessel is Chinese, then how old is it?

Only the bottom has a substantial accumulation of malachite patina (there are a few small areas throughout the rest of the body). Look closely at the drill hole, you can see the malachite was there before the drilling. How long does it take for malachite to form?

While there appears to be limited malachite formation on the body, the body is entirely covered in cuprite.

The cuprite is heavily pitted, so it gives the surface the appearance of being lacquered, but I believe the close up photos show that mineralization.

I did not have space to post photos of the interior, and would be happy to do so if there is interest, but there is a good amount of dirt/clay covering the interior surface, but it looks as though the interior is also heavily mineralized...I just don't know if I should try and remove the dirt or not.

Regarding the overall shape and design of interlocking dragons, I've found some examples of bronze vessels that look similar from the Spring and Autumn period (770-476 BCE) period, but I have no idea if Ming or Qing copies of this period were ever made.

Finally, the inside bottom is inscribed with archaic characters...5 rows of 4 characters.

Looking forward to comments and questions. Thanks for the help!

Happy New year!

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