Ancient bronze plate breaks auction record

China Daily Published: 2017-07-17 19:08:17
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"Xi Jia pan", a bronze plate from the Western Zhou Dynasty. [Photo: VCG]

"Xi Jia pan", a bronze plate from the Western Zhou Dynasty. [Photo: VCG]

"Xi Jia pan", a bronze plate from the Western Zhou Dynasty (c.11th century-771 BC) was sold for 185 million yuan ($27.3 million) at Xiling Yinshe Auction's spring sale on Saturday, which broke the auction record of an antique art in China.

The plate is 11.7 cm high and has a diameter of 47 cm, which is shallow and wide with two handles on its side. The interior of the plate is engraved with an inscription of 133 characters, which records the Western Zhou Dynasty's history, and provides valuable information for the study of this period. The plate, a bronze ware inscribed with the most characters, is also the oldest national treasure among the bronze wares discovered thus far.

"Xi Jia", which is also the name of the owner of the plate, was a high-ranking official during the Western Zhou Dynasty whose official name was Yin Jifu. He was the main collector of China's earliest collections of poems The Book of Songs.

"Xi Jia pan", a bronze plate from the Western Zhou Dynasty. [Photo: VCG]

"Xi Jia pan", a bronze plate from the Western Zhou Dynasty. [Photo: VCG]

The plate was made during the fifth year of the Xuanwang Period of the Zhou Dynasty (823 BC), unearthed in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and became a part of the imperial collection during the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). It then went to private collectors during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), collected by local government and a private collector in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), but was then lost. The plate's feet were broken and it was used as a cooking vessel during the Yuan Dynasty.

Since its appearance in the Song Dynasty, historians attached great importance to "Xi Jia pan", and more than 35 major publications wrote about the plate.

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