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Shang dynasty vessel help
Topic Started: Oct 11 2013, 12:48 PM (727 Views)
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Hi, I have recently acquired a bronze vessel from a estate auction. The only thing the owner told me about it was that he thought it was from the Shang dynasty. I am wondering about its authenticity and or value. It weighs about 3 lbs and has designs of dragons and phenoxes on it. It is about 5 inches at its widest point and around 14 inches tall. I have a link to my photobucket account where I tried to take some decent pictures. It seems to me to be very old due to the patina. I used a red hot needle and touched it to the surface and nothing smoked burned or changed color. Any info would help in this piece!

Here is the link to the pictures

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Gregory J. Liebau
Fearless Leader
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Hello Hennit,

This is a lovely piece. I'm not an expert on assessing Chinese wares but the design work on the piece and its general shape lead me to believe that it could certainly be from the Shang period. The big question is one of authenticity. Chinese counterfeiters are rampant in today's global market and take advantage of reproducing, rather masterfully, antiquities with patina and all. The corrosion in one of the photos seems very convincing but much of the piece appears to be very clean for an item that is so old. Uneven patinas are, however, a good sign against counterfeiting (as there are often chemical processes involved in the modern industry that cover the entirety of a vessel, creating a very even mock patina).

In the case that this may be a real piece, I would recommend having it examined by a specialist at an auction house such as Christie's. Try to find an auctioneer who's interested in examining the piece and giving a valuation (you'll probably have to feign interest in selling it in case you really are not). I think it'd be worth looking into. If it is authentic I can say that it is surely worth thousands of dollars. Even if it is a modern piece it may still be worth hundreds because it is very lovely. Good luck!

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