A bronze double owl form ritual vessel is to star in Christie's Chinese art sale.
It was previously owned by the celebrated Japanese dealer Sakamoto Goro, whose extraordinary collection has been selling in a high profile series of auctions at Sotheby's over the past few years.
The lot dates to the Shang Dynasty (1600-1046 BC) and remains in extraordinarily good condition given its advanced age.
It's expected to sell for around $400,000-600,000.
The owl appears as a central motif in Chinese art, with carvings dating back thousands of years.
Ritual bronzes are among the most fascinating artefacts to survive from the various societies of ancient China.
They were designed to offer tribute to ancestors and are found in large numbers in royal tombs.
A gilt bronze weight produced at the time of the Western Han Dynasty (206 BC - AD 9) is valued at $60,000-80,000.
It features a complex design that depicts a tiger attacking two bears while a boar flees.
Only a small number of such weights more than three inches wide are known to exist. The present lot is just over four inches.
The sale will take place in New York on September 13.
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