Julius Eberhardt's ritual bronzes to be topped by '$3m' Zu Bao Yi Gui

On September 17 in New York, Sotheby's will hold an auction entitled Magnificent Ritual Bronzes - Property from the Collection of Julius Eberhardt.

Zu Bao Yi Gui Julius Eberhardt Sotheby's
Julius Eberhardt was an Austrian architect who died in 2012, leaving behind this remarkable collection

The sale will be preceded by an exhibition showcasing the Chinese bronzes, which runs from September 13 until sale day. Leading the collection is the Zuo Bao Yi Gui, a superb ritual food vessel that is valued at $2m-3m.

The Zuo Bao Yi Gui is of a particularly rare form, but the real value of the collection lies in the archaic bronzes' provenance, with the majority of them originally acquired by AJ Argyopoulos, the Greek ambassador to China following the second world war.

Argyopoulous purchased the items through legendary Shanghai dealer TY King, and they were exhibited at the seminal 1954 Marco Polo Seventh Centenary Exhibition in Venice.

A total of 10 such vessels will star in the selling exhibition, with additional highlights including the Fu Bing Jue, a pair of jue ritual wine cups that boast a rare exaggerated curved form.

Also starring is the Mu Xin Zun, a superbly cast zun ritual wine vessel, and the Zuo Ce Huan You, a you ritual wine vessel with a 35-character inscription, both of which were once housed in the esteemed collection of Pan Zuyin, a senior official, scholar and compiler of the Hanlin Academy.

Sotheby's has stated that "a group of bronzes of this quality and strong provenance presents a rare opportunity for collectors and connoisseurs; one unlikely to be matched for many years to come."

In May, a bronze wine vessel dating to the Shang dynasty (11th-12th centuries) topped Christie's Important Chinese Ceramics auction at $4.9m.

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